What is Living in Thailand REALLY Like?

Thai People Don’t WORRY. At All. Nothing. They Just Don’t.

I noticed something over the years and I might have mentioned it in a line or two in this blog before, but I’ve never written a post about it.

In 1996 I was with my then-wife’s family in Gibson City, Illinois. My father-in-law to be was Thai, having grown up in Thailand. He was Theravadin Buddhist and when he wasn’t saving people’s lives on the operating table at the local hospital he was holding meditation classes for thos that had an interest in it. His name is Somchai Supawanich. He’s a wonderful man that I remember fondly…

He was also a man of few words… but I remember one thing he said that I didn’t understand at the time, but that goes very well with this topic today.

He said that “Americans worry a lot about things… about the future. I think it’s part of the American culture to worry. It’s expected.”

I thought hard about that, and agreed with him on some level since I knew American’s spend their entire lives either in the future or the past and are rarely present for any real interactions with other people. We are a society that is too worried about the past and the future and it’s possible repercussions on us… mentally, emotionally, physically.

But, as I agreed with him I also thought – it couldn’t be any other way. Isn’t everyone in the world worrying about the future? I was sure they were – and yet I had no real experience that backed that up. Until spending time here in Thailand.

You know what? Thai people just DON’T worry about anything.

My girlfriend in 2.5 years has never told me ONE time that she was worried about something.


Anyone have a similar experience? I’m sure all expats here must have noticed this and if you haven’t you can start noticing today and see if it holds true.

I think it’s so surreal… but you know what? I’ve dropped about 4 levels from what I used to worry about too. If nobody is talking about what they worry about – what can I worry about? Why should I?

I wonder what the rate of neurosis is here in Thailand. Virtually non-existent I would think…

Anyone with me?


I created this site to focus on expats living in Thailand, and tourists visiting Thailand. Don't miss the blog - Thaipulse.com/blog/. I hope you come away with something positive as a result of visiting Thaipulse.com. Feel free to leave questions or comments at the contact form under Home | Contact above. All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+. Cheers!

7 thoughts on “Thai People Don’t WORRY. At All. Nothing. They Just Don’t.

  • October 16, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    people who don’t worry have problems recognizing danger.

    it’s more like Thais don’t think ahead. I’ve heard Thai men say stuff like “why aren’t I a rich man? why don’t I have a big house?” it’s because they sat in the grazing field with 5 cows for 30 years and never “worried” about anything. at some point they wake up and realize that the process is not automatic.

  • October 16, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    Yeah, I guess it could be a negative thing – but, I see it mostly as positive. Can you imagine people in the USA NOT worrying? What would they do with all that time? I have really almost stopped worrying myself… and yeah, when I’m 70 and I have no teeth, no income and I’m walking with the cows in Thailand then I might ask myself “why”… nah, I won’t…

  • October 17, 2007 at 2:19 am

    Ahhh yes, I have the same tendencies, but it’s more like: “If I can’t do anything about a problem, I stop worrying so much about it, because I know my stomach will start hurting if I do.” My boyfriend unfortunately often confuses this with indesiciveness and lack of responsibility. Phfffffffffffff, MEN! *rolling eyes reappear*

  • October 17, 2007 at 6:19 am

    I think it’s because Thai’s worry about different things (concepts) than westerners. We are very concerned about time and planning which Thai’s don’t seem think about at all.

    Thai’s DO worry I think, but their worries center around the concepts of face and kharma which are alien concepts to most westerners.

    You will always get a ‘mai bpen rai’ when you complain/worry about a Thai being late, however I very highly doubt that you’ll get that when the issue will cause said Thai person a loss of face.

    Another reason you don’t hear Thai’s worrying is very likely the fact that they very rarely share their feelings. I think that worrying for a Thai might lead to some loss of face since it is somewhat of an emotional display. I can’t verify that (and I sure as hell won’t ask the wife – discussions of Thai “face” seem to always break down into something mai dee mak), but it is just my feeling.

    So, yeah I think Thai’s worry, but about different things than westerners and never so that anyone would know that they are worrying.


    P.S. You’re gonna look funny as hell with no teeth Vern :)

  • May 6, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Thai are really friendly people, it’s just a shame that they don’t think ahead sometimes. For example i went to the market in Patong Beach and asked how much the T-Shirts were the thai man said (well sir with discount and etc) 700 Baht, i just walked as i know from living in Thailand for a year that they are only 150 – 200 baht (depending). It’s a shame as i’ll never purchase anything from him or anyone else that starts of so high. I love the old bartering buisiness, but it’s just a shame that some thai’s and indians living in start with such a high price. I’m not sure weather they realise it or not but they are actually loosing more money by doing this. Thailand is a wonderful place and i have many many thai friends who get angry with this practise, but something that a lot of people forget is that thailand has no benefit system for people who are disabled, unemployed or who have large families that they can’t afford to eat. The simple answer over in Thailand is ALWAYS negoitate a price FIRST, if you not happy with it WALK AWAY as another thai will give you a better price. If you are going to thailand just stay clear of the tuk tuk’s from about 10pm till 6am (the honest ones work after these hours), NEVER rent jest ski’s (ANYTIME) and please be don’t DO DRUGS.

    • May 7, 2009 at 1:33 am

      Good advice… and agreed – Thai business is quite difficult to understand… how does anyone make any money in this place? lol.

  • January 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Well of course they worry – isn’t petty jealously a type of worrying? They they are the worry masters.

    Putting that aside, my wife is Chinese Thai, they worry plenty about money and that’s why they have most of it in Thailand – the Chinese Thai’s that is. It’s one of the reasons that fair skin is so highly valued -because you look more Chinese and prolly wealthier as well. The also look down on dark Thais and generally treat them a little better than slaves in tone. Watch a middle and up Chinese Thai ordering food – a tone you will not here them ever use with you. It’s shocking. They also know that other Thais not worrying keeps them in perpetual ignorance and disadvantage – which is great for their cheap labor supply etc.

    Also I’ve rented Jet Skis plenty of times – just learn the name of the local big boss, and let the handler know you are dating his grand daughter, this guy is always lower on the ladder and he will be killed swiftly if the info is true and he fucks you so why take a chance – why worry about THAT. Never had a problem and I look like super mark bumbling High Grant type.


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