When Asians Only Hang Out With Other Asians

Why my friends will never be just other Asians

Ryan Fan
11 min readAug 30


Photo by Afif Ramdhasuma on Unsplash

Growing up, I was exposed to a lot of different people of different races, cultures, and backgrounds, so I sought out companionship with people of different races and cultures.

I think universal principles like unconditional love, kindness, and respect can make any friendship work, but I naturally do just gravitate toward people who are different from me, because I learn a lot I didn’t know before and expose myself to a lot more perspectives. I’m comfortable around anyone and don’t want to be confined to only being able to be myself around people who look like me.

It’s not just a skill for the corporate world — being around people who are different from you is one of my core values for everyday life.

As an Asian-American, of course, I find some affinity with other Asians. It’s not like I spoke Chinese with them, even if we both did know how. And despite my animosity towards some immigrants, my heart really does go out when an Asian person knows no English because my grandparents are in that situation. I would do my best to try to help the Chinese immigrants learn different terms or phrases and make them feel included.

There are just things we talk about as Asian-Americans that we don’t talk about with others, including the unique challenges of dealing with Asian parents and cultural expectations, food, navigating a particularly challenging dating scene as an Asian dude, video games, etc. It’s interesting, however, that people like me, who grew up in the United States and are Asian-Americans, mostly just include other Asian-Americans in those circles and not Asian immigrants who came to the U.S. in adulthood.

The thing is it’s two entirely different experiences to be someone who grew up balancing a clash of cultures versus someone trying to learn English to the best of their ability and being completely estranged from their home.

As someone who sees a lot of value in cross-racial and cultural friendships and interaction, one thing that bothers me, almost to the point of revulsion, is when Asians only hang out with other Asians. I see this more in immigrant Asian communities, like those of my parents and my Filipino…



Ryan Fan

Believer, Baltimore City IEP Chair, and 2:39 marathon runner. Diehard fan of “The Wire.” Support me by becoming a Medium member: https://bit.ly/39Cybb8