(posting via request)

At first glance Shi Yan and Zheng Shuyi appear completely mismatched for each other. He is taciturn, solemn, methodic, “unreasonable and annoying little elf” (Episode 8),who is “like a cow” (Episode 14) and “should grow old alone” (Episode 10). Zheng Shuyi is expressive, dynamic, aggressively provocative, flippant and quite outrageous. So how on earth did this man fall head over heels with her?

Initial Interest

Shuyi has actually been on his radar for a while. He read her article “Zhu Xing Guo on the Currency War” a while ago and it left a deep impression on him - the scope and depth of understanding she has in the financial field.

Then in the first episode we see him choosing her as his interviewer, because of the elevated quality of her outline and the introspective nature of her questions that would actually allow a true reflection of Cloud Innovation’s philosophy and aims to the readers. He also indicated that her interview style resonated with his views that an interview should be “an enlightening conversation and reflection”.

On the drive to the horse farm (Episode 3) and her visit to his home to pick up her “dowry” (Episode 4), he is genuinely shocked and impressed that she is able to weed through all the glamour and veneer of gossip and official press releases to infer what his motives and thought processes are, as well as deducing what the actual situation in the market is vs. the reported situation in the market.

And while she relentlessly pushes and prods her way onto the farm he tolerates her invasive nonsense and enthusiasm, because he can see she means no harm and is just excited. Contrast this with Yuling’s behavior when she manages to get on the horse farm. She eavesdrops on a personal conversation in hope of gleaning some insider information (Episode 5). (While Shi Yan is not present during this scene, he has doubtless met dozen others like her.)

Shared Values

In these early interactions, she essentially reveals to him that they share several of the same foundational values. Discernment. Discretion. Faithfulness. Work ethic. Commitment to follow through no matter the difficulty. Dismissal and devaluation of hearsay. She also has a deep understanding of financial current events and market trends, and understands the mindset and perspective of risk management in regards to investment.

While he does find her amusing, the truth is he would not tolerate her nonsense and allow himself this amusement if not for her integrity, business acumen, strong work ethic and sound judgment to provide a counter-balance to her particular brand of over-the-top, zany, provocative nonsense. Also, despite her behavior, he does not overly worry about her ridiculous nature, because it is grounded in shared values. Even if he is uncertain as to if he can trust her, he knows he can trust those values.

The matter of shared values is central to his attraction to her and only grows throughout the entire series.

There is a recurring theme that she does something, he misunderstands her motivations and is even somewhat offended and then later finds out she actually did that thing because of a standard or principle which he is whole-heartedly aligned with.

In Episode 13 she turns down numerous interview opportunities, including one Shi Yan arranged for her, because while they would have helped her career, they would have distracted her from where she wanted to put her passion, focus and effort - that is exploring the mechanical safety of Zhanlan’s car batteries.

And while this initially frustrated him, he ultimately understood it. She did not want what others had defined as success, even if it was handed to her. She had a vision of how she wanted to contribute to society and was unrelenting and undistractible in her pursuit of it. That laser-focus vision while going after what she valued and not being satisfied with other’s definitions of success and what she should want - well, that sounds a bit like someone else’s story, doesn’t it?

In Episode 1, he sees her response to his attempting to offer her a ride when she is stuck in the rain, which at first glance may feel like it worked to her detriment, but in the long-run revealed two things to him:

First, she has a backbone. It honestly doesn't even matter what she has a backbone about. When a person puts a resolute “No” around a certain type of behavior, it reveals that they, no matter how silly or frivolous they appear, have actions they simply will not permit and values they will not compromise on.

Secondly, the fact that the item she stood firm on was faithfulness and her absolute intolerance to even allow the potential advances of another man to enter her purview, when she is in a relationship didn’t hurt. (This also explains why later on, despite his abundant jealousy over it, Shi Yan “tolerates” [on a relative scale] her allowing the advances of multiple men [Cafe worker with the tarts in (Episode 14), Yu You, getting Ho Be Ming’s number while attending Shi Yan’s 1st Annual Press Conference (Episode 9), the secret date he deduced she was having at the cinema (Episode 13)]. He is aware they are not official yet, but he is also confident that should they become official she would shut that nonsense down in a heartbeat.)

In Episode 12 he learns he completely misunderstood her motivations of dining and dashing on him in Episode 11 (she had received a last-minute work assignment that required she travel the next morning) and needing the clothes from her shopping trip so urgently (she wanted to return the clothing, so she could reimburse Shi Yue).

In Episode 6, he is amused to discover she genuinely flirted her way into his house at night using revising her article as an excuse to actually revise the article and get his feedback, so that the draft would meet his requirements.

This pattern is so well established that he begins to operate on blind trust with her - he begins to assume her surface actions do not reflect what is going on under the hood and that she ultimately has not only the best intentions, but intentions that align with what he values and eventually with his interests.

He stops assuming she is flirting because she is a flirt or has ulterior motives and just accepts the pieces of theater she performs and coquettishness as just a part of herself that she feels comfortable sharing with him.

In Episode 15 she informs him, she does not ask, just tells him she is gate-crashing his meeting with Zhanlan. Despite the sheer audacity of this statement and intention, it does not even garner an eyebrow quirk from him, because he has learned to trust the values that guide her actions and the ultimate goals she is working toward through her actions.

This is even further demonstrated at the conclusion of the meeting, when Zhanlan’s CEO got in one final parting shot at Shi Yan. Shuyi whirls around and starts speaking FOR Shi Yan. She tells the CEO exactly what Shi Yan is going to do and exactly what he is going to tell the shareholders and her opinion on the man’s character and his lack of responsibility. She makes business decisions for Shi Yan and she declares them publicly. Shi Yan allows her to say her piece, without turning around. He leaves his back exposed to Jiang Shao Yuan the entire time. He knows it is safe and her actions won’t allow him to be hurt or be unaligned with his intentions. (Brilliant use of blocking by the director.)

What He Is Thinking

If you struggle understanding Shi Yan’s approach to Zhuyi at any time, just watch any of the board meeting scenes and substitute the nouns being used.

“Regarding Zhanglan, [Shuyi], we’re only in the stage of deciding whether to invest or not. We can’t rush into such a significant investment. So before the results of the new round of evaluations come out, I don’t approve of making any further moves.” (Episode 13)

And that is precisely what he does. Shuyi just turned down a huge career boost he arranged for her. He is infuriated and frustrated, yet rather than either assuming rejection, he waits to understand and evaluate her motives before continuing to pursue her. (Text about late night snacks in Episode 14)

“From what you said, Jiang Shao Yuan [Shuyi] is nothing more than a bit arrogant in his attitude. Once we invest in him [her], he [she] won’t be like this anymore. We all know that there are so many companies [men] interested in investing in him [her]. It’s normal for him [her] to be proud.” (Episode 17)

“Maybe we don't need to convince them [her], just find a better option for them [her].” (Episode 16) After he swallowed his jealousy when they were in the noodle shop in Ancheng and she was texting Shi Yue, but he thought she was texting You Yu. Later he swallows his jealousy a second time when he overhears a phone call with her mother asking how her relationship with You Yu is progressing.

Seriously, rewatch any of the board meetings or business discussions this way and they become unintentionally hilarious and reveal how he is processing Shuyi’s latest shenanigans.

This is such a creative way for the writers to handle the narration of the seemingly absent thought-process Shi Yan has in relation to all of Shuyi's outlandish behavior.

Risk Management

We all date the ghosts of our Exs and Shi Yan is no exception. Shi Yan’s interactions and responses to Shuyi’s flirtation and behavior have more to do with Bei Lin than with Shuyi. He is carrying some very specific wounds and hesitations when it comes to entering into a relationship. And being a venture capitalist that comes with a mentality of constantly evaluating how secure investing in a relationship would be and what losses could potentially occur. Most of the concerns he has stem from his previous relationship with Bei Lin.


Rumours seem to be a sore point for the whole family. “Don’t believe rumors so easily. Gossip spreads this way.” ( Song Le Lan to Shi Yue, Episode 10) “The Shi family is very strict when it comes to privacy protection.” (Shanshan, Episode 2) “You can’t find the source of most rumors.” (Shi Wenguang to Shi Yan, Episode 11)

But Shi Yan seems particularly sensitive to them. In fact, the first “test” he ever tested Shuyi with was taking her to a family banquet (Episode 10). He knew she would be forced to interact with gossip in two ways:

First, everyone would begin gossiping about her and secondly, she would no doubt hear quite a few rumour versions of his life story - from his ex, to founding his own corporation, to leaving his family’s company.

While she was a bit overwhelmed with all the rumors and assumptions about her identity, in execution she was barely even fazed and just politely told people that they must be mistaken, that she was a journalist, not an actress.

He later asks her if she believes all the rumors about him that she heard that evening and she responds by saying that ‘Of course she didn’t, she will believe what he told her’. This pleases him so much that he clarifies with her if she is in a hurry to go home. When she decides to spend more time with him, he voluntarily offers to share information about himself with her and asks her what she wants to know.

It is almost like he has been in a situation in his past where people were saying things about him and someone (*cough* Bei Lin *cough*) choose to believe the rumors rather than believing in him. Rather than trusting his version of what unfolded.

In fact, her trusting him and not listening to all the fabricated hearsay surrounding him impacted him so much that he proceeded to lean in for a kiss. Ladies pay attention: Men want women who trust them and don’t doubt their words.

Benefits of Status and Family Connections

Shi Yan avoids talking to Shuyi at the conference in Episode 7, because he believes she took advantage of Shi Yue’s connections to get an invitation (and you know, possibly because she called him an unreasonable and annoying elf).

He is later pleased when he finds out through Shi Yue, that Shuyi did not reveal how she got the interview with Uncle Guan. She told her co-workers she “got lucky” and did not flout her friendship with Shi Yan. (Episode 13)

In a quite deliberate evaluation of how she would respond to potentially receiving the benefits of knowing him, during the business trip to Ancheng he deliberately drops her off at her interview with Zhanlan’s CEO and then waits outside to pick her up after its conclusion. (I am not saying this gesture was not sincere on his part, this is simply Shi Yan’s energy-efficient MO in their interactions. Almost everything he does with her is simultaneously a demonstration of trust, but also a test to see how she will react. This makes perfect sense given he is a venture capitalist. Risk management is his bread and butter. - You will notice that he seems quite visually nervous about the outcome of this interaction)

He is well aware that an official and public relationship with him will shift her into a position of having people attempting to use her to gain access to, approval of or benefits from him. Jiang Shao Yuan proceeds to attempt to bribe Shuyi with rare teas and local delicacies. When she continually rejects him, he has the audacity to explicitly point out the relationship between her and Shi Yan. In a somewhat interesting turn of events he offers to work with Shi Yan to please Shuyi (get her bury the investigative story and write a fluff piece for Zhanlan).

After denying that she held any influence over Shi Yan’s business decisions and leaving - Jiang Shao Yuan’s assistant continued to aggressively insist she take the bribe his boss was offering. When Shi Yan appeared, she acted surprised by his presence, asking if he was there on business.

You will notice that Shi Yan was so revealed that she passed this test, he didn’t even care when her mother called Shuyi to ask how her relationship with another man (Yu You) was progressing. Instead, he cheekily thanked Shuyi for her “proactive gesture” of offering to treat him to a meal.

Later in Episode 16, Shuyi had a meeting with a department head at Cloud Innovation and ends up having to wait all afternoon. She could have complained directly to Shi Yan and had the situation rectified immediately, but doesn’t. Upon discovering the situation Shi Yan chews out his subordinate and makes certain everything is arranged the way Shuyi likes it. He has no problem giving her the benefits of being with him, as long as that is not her motivation to be with him.


In episode 7, Shuyi sends Shi Yan two texts. If you wade through the cheesy pick-up lines and over the top flirting, you will find that these texts include two specific sentiments: “You’ve worked hard.” and “Even if you ignore me today, I will text you tomorrow.” Not only is she validating the time and effort he is pouring into his company and passion, but she is acknowledging that his passion often comes with scattered attention and that she understands his demanding schedule and will persist. Is it any wonder that she receives his prompt attention the next day when she has the audacity to summon him to come pick her up?

Later in Episode 14, after presenting her with a veritable shrine to his accomplishments (this poor man needed quotidian visual reinforcement of the merit of his choices and actions, due to the constant undercutting of his efforts and vision by someone who shall remain nameless *cough* Bei Lin *cough*) Shuyi tells him. “I think you're very brave. It takes a lot of courage to break away from the established framework and pursue your own dreams and visions. Especially considering what you gave up which many people would envy. Throughout this process you had to withstand pressure, endure people’s criticism and quietly work hard. But you did it and you did it well.”

This reserved man literally grabs her and pulls her to him. She understood him, believed in him. Once again she is affirming him and he literally can not keep his hands off of her in response.


When Shuyi literally runs out of his house after eating dinner and picking up her shopping, he concludes that she likes free meals and taking things. (Episode 11) Yet, later he finds out that the reason she needed to urgently pick-up the clothing was so that she could return it and reimburse Shi Yue the funds she spent on the clothing.

This demonstration of Shuyi not chasing after material goods is particularly potent to Shi Yan, because it demonstrates that she truly is not putting on an act, as she thought she was reimbursing someone else and so this is a matter of principle for her and not something that she only does when he can see it. He immediately begins to compose a text to her to potentially arrange getting together with her the next evening. (Episode 12)

After finding out through Shi Yue that Shuyi had intended to treat him to concert tickets and her offer to pay him back her hospital expenses, he not only adds her to WeChat, but literally pays her for her time/performance. He is more than willing to grant her the benefit of his wealth, but just as with the benefits of his connections - he wants to know that that is not the motivation to be with him. (Episode 10)

In fact, in an unintentionally direct comparison - when he asks her how much money she wants, her response is that she wants to have dinner with him the following evening. (Episode 10)


Shi Yan clearly came to the table with specific things he was looking for (shared values) in a significant other and distinct concerns (wounds from ex-girlfriend) that he had about entering a relationship. What are your criteria for choosing your future significant other?

Good observation. At least someone is paying attention.

Really clever and insightful! Thanks! :) I missed the evaluation bit during the board meetings.

Good analysis - but a relationship can never be so business like with profit and loss. In the ML’s case I do not think it is that cold .  He is an emotional guy even though he does not express well.   The opportunist here is the FL who seems to be using him for her own purpose. 

Awesome analysis! So glad you verbalized the undercurrents in the development of the main couple's romance, making it clear how compatible the leads are in terms of intelligence, values and interests even though they didn't openly declare their deepening feelings for each other, at least  at first.

Thanks for the analysis. It resonates with my understanding of the SYs in great depth. The only frustrating aspect you didn’t mention is the FL’s habit of lying. I can understand the flirting and evasiveness when she wasn’t sure he liked her. But after they became official and he was quite expressive (in his own way, as detailed as yourself), she still kept on with the behaviour. 


Thanks for the analysis. It resonates with my understanding of the SYs in great depth. The only frustrating aspect you didn’t mention is the FL’s habit of lying. I can understand the flirting and evasiveness when she wasn’t sure he liked her. But after they became official and he was quite expressive (in his own way, as detailed as yourself), she still kept on with the behaviour. 

I see it as the point of "you have to cover your lies with more lies."

She lied about something, and in the end she had to cover up the lies with something else. Though I believe when everything is out in the open, she would not lie like that to him again. Or I hope so


Good analysis - but a relationship can never be so business like with profit and loss. In the ML’s case I do not think it is that cold .  He is an emotional guy even though he does not express well.   The opportunist here is the FL who seems to be using him for her own purpose. 

But isn't love itself like an investment? You invest on good things, you get good things. You invest on bad things, you also get bad things in return. It's the same as relationship. You invest your love and time in a bad man, what you get is a bad man. The example in this drama is Shuyi's ex. You didn't know the risk until you invest more of your time and your heart. I think it's valid to see it like profit and loss though.

Yeah she definitely needs to see the daylight. It’s getting so out of hand

I guess that is true in this day and age. Everyone looks at love in a profit and loss manner. But having said that he is still more all in than she is. 

Great analysis! I too thought all the discussions about business relationships - from everyone - were allegory for the personal relationship issues they’re each facing. Guan Ji’s comments and confusion have been particularly funny - he’s so conflicted in business and love.

I would say, all relationships are contracts - they’re a mix of love (hopefully) and attachment. Subconsciously we all draw the line somewhere with our expectations. I will love you if - and it’s a big IF - if you give me ________. 


Thanks for the analysis. It resonates with my understanding of the SYs in great depth. The only frustrating aspect you didn’t mention is the FL’s habit of lying. I can understand the flirting and evasiveness when she wasn’t sure he liked her. But after they became official and he was quite expressive (in his own way, as detailed as yourself), she still kept on with the behaviour. 

I thought the only thing she lied about was why she approached him in the first place and that just spiraled.  She did tell him she had ulterior motives in approaching him  though she didn’t explain and maybe he assumed it was to interview him.  He also said  to himself he’d forgive her if she would be by his side but when reality stuck, he couldn’t do it.   I can understand why she did it because if my boyfriend, who cheated on me. dumps me for money, I’d like to make sure he and the home wrecker  would be miserable.  After that,  SanSan gave her repeated bad advice to not reveal to SY  so soon.  I do understand that he had been emotionally hurt by his ex but in her defense, so was she.  And the home wrecker kept attacking her for no reason even though Suyi had given up on revenge.  Suyi didn’t even want to reveal their relationship even though it would benefit her career and keep the home wrecker off her back.

I think if Suyi  wasn’t such a grounded and positive person, she’d be cowed by SY’s responses.  In some instances, I was put off by his cold and somewhat brutal behavior - e.g., their first horse ride where she was frighted and bruised.  That was punishment indeed.  She is aggressive and persistent in getting what she wants but that is also the nature of her job.  She has to face repeated rejection from people she needs to interview and maybe that’s why she can put up with SY’s callus  behavior Until Ep 26.  

kudo’s to Ecletic Jello for her excellent analysis of SY.

I learned that the ‘lies‘ people were talking about are  the excuses and white lies Shuyi gave over the course of the drama.  Some are afraid she might become a pathological liar.  

wow. what an amazing analysis. This is perfectly written and explains why I love this drama so much!