When your Thai Girl says “Up to You”

By in 5 - When the Honeymoon is Over

OK, What does it actualy mean, when your Thai Girl says “Up to You”

You will hear this a lot.

  • Would you like to go for dinner tonight my love?  “Up to You
  • Which Movie shall we watch tonight sweetheart?  “Up to You” 

OK, what does this actually mean?  That your Thai lady really wants you to make all the decisions?  That she wants to be ‘led’ through every decision in her life?  No…

Thai Girl - Up to You

What exactly does “Up to You” Mean ?

It actually means something much much deeper 🙂

She is testing you!  And she will expect you to make the right decision that meets her needs as well as yours.  What a heavy responsibility!

So next time she asks, shall we order the Green Chicken Curry or the Tom Yum Kung, and you know full well that Tom Yum Kung is her favourite.  You better order the Tom Yum Kung 🙂

Took me a while to learn this one………   It‘s all part of the subtle ways that Thai ladies make you ‘feel’ like the Boss……….whilst actually controlling you.  But it’s a fun game, so who cares!

Also Read “Not my Fault”: Not my Fault – OK what exactly does that mean?

All joking aside, I should probably mention here the concept of Kreng Jai.  (Jai = Heart)  There are a number of ‘hearts’ in Thai Culture that it is worth understanding if you are going to Marry a Thai Lady.

Kreng Jai confuses Westerners a lot! A direct translation might be: deferential heart

This is often thought of as meaning consideration, but it’s much more complicated than that.  It’s really also a ‘feeling’. It means being very aware of other people’s feelings, and being polite, showing respect and being considerate towards them.

It also ties in with the whole issue of ‘face’.  Because by displaying Kreng Jai towards someone, a person can help another save face. It’s a really hard concept for Westerners at first, and like so many things in Thai culture, you really have to grow up with it to fully understand it and know how and when it is applied.

Children are taught to show Kreng Jai to their parents, Staff to their Boss. Kreng Jai is generally displayed to those who deserve it.

So how might Westerners visiting Thailand notice Kreng Jai?  Well first it will often be displayed to older visitors as a sign of respect.  Older people in Thai culture are treated with much more respect.

And the more common way you might notice it, is when you feel rather frustrated! Because the whole concept of Kreng Jai does not really encourage Thai people to clearly express what they mean or are thinking.  So this is where you may get the response that they think you WANT to hear. Or when you ask a question, you may get the answer “Up to You’.

Just try not to show your frustration.  This involves you displaying Jai Yen (or cool heart) ……  Another topic.




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  1. Great post. I have been to Thailand a few times and now it all makes sense!

  2. I asked my Thai girlfriend if this was true. According to her, absolutely it is. Thank you, Robert.

  3. Thanks for the sage advice! I’m entering into the next leg in my life’s journey. I’ve met a Thai lady online, and our “relationship” has clipped along at a fast pace. I live in the States, she’s in Pathum Thani. I’m preparing to travel to Thailand in September (yes ~ rainy season ~ I know), for our first meeting in person (We’ve been using Skype, etc.). She is quite a bit younger than me, and I’ll be meeting her mum, who lives in Nakhon Ratchasima. We’ll be staying with her during our visit.(I’ll be bringing gifts).

    Aside from all of the obvious pitfalls on the risks of starting the relationship this way, I’ve been inspired by how the 2 of you embrace the differences in your cultures to build on the similarities. I’ll keep reading! Thanks again!

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