Site logo

Thailand Relationship Advice | Heart Logic

Expats in Thailand often have trouble making heads or tails of Thai logic, and search in vain for the reasons why their Thai partners or colleagues do the things that they do. The problem is that foreigners think too often with their heads and not with their hearts.

When it comes to thinking and decision making, the Thai people use a language that is heart driven. The common Thai root word jai (ใจ) means heart, mind, and spirit. And the word for understand is khâo-jai (เข้าไจ), which literally means to enter the heart of the matter.

The Thai language is filled with hundreds of heart words (i.e. jai words), and Thai heart logic is largely based on an understanding of how these words construct Thai reality. You may look at the evidence of a particular situation and draw a logical conclusion, whereas a Thai will draw a completely different conclusion because they see and value things which you don’t.

Understanding Thai Heart Logic is the core of all good Thailand relationship advice and management, and it can take a foreigner many years to fully grasp it. In addition, heart logic can only be completely understood if one achieves a fair mastery of the Thai language. Some expats in Thailand will never fully grasp Thai logic because their old habits are too ingrained. But that’s okay.

A satisfying expat life in a Thai province like Sakon Nakhon doesn’t require a complete understanding of heart logic. All it takes is a bit of humility, and acknowledging that your logical conclusions aren’t necessarily better than conclusions drawn by heart logic. They simply are different.

All this being said, there will be times when you are understandably frustrated. So in today’s learn Thai lesson, we will teach you how to express that frustration in the Thai language.


illogical adj. – ไร้เหตุผล – rái-hàyt-phŏn


Man doo rái-hàyt-phŏn bpai nòi.

It seems devoid-reason go little.

This makes no sense at all.

Thai Language Tip: To remember that Thai word for illogical or nonsense, try this rhyme: “When a reason won’t get shown, it’s rái-hàyt-phŏn.”


David Alan
Sakon Nakhon Isaan