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are the French really rude? :(

Travel Forums Europe are the French really rude? :(

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71. Posted by BedouinLeo (Inactive 698 posts) 6y

Sam I Am.... I thank you, as a fine Admin'r, for calming this whole situation down.
Enough said from me.

72. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru 462 posts) 6y

Not sure what happened here in the last few days that I've been away, but glad that calm has been restored.

My impression of the French - not, they're not really rude. They just don't go out of their way to be smiley and happy to any random stranger either, that's all. I'm an Asian, from south east asia. I travel to France 3-4 times a year, if not more. I have wonderful friends, both Parisians and non-Parisians. If they're really as bad as so many people think of, I wouldn't go near them every so often now, would I?

I think this is when a little cultural understanding goes a long way. I don't claim to know all about their culture, but I do know that they think it's bizarre to be walking down the street and smile and greet strangers cheerfully. In general for them, looking at someone is not always rude, as often it's just a way to pay compliment. "If you're not interesting enough for me to admire, why would I spend so much time looking at you when there's more around to see". When you share a look, your eyes should speak volume, as if it's a secret that you two share. Perhaps it's the knowing glance when someone else standing next to both of you have committed something unthinkable, and you're sharing that fleeting moment. They value wit, and friendly little banters help to warm people up.

I guess I am lucky that I do speak some French now (got to make that effort since I'm there so often, and I love learning languages anyway). But even back in the days when I would have problem trying to understand someone giving me direction in the TGV-speed responses, I've always been treated well. Maybe it's because I'm a girl and non-threatening, I don't know.

Oh, of course, they also have their quirks when it comes to social niceties. Always greet people as you enter the shop, say a courteous thank you or bid good day as you leave even if you don't purchase anything. Excuse yourself in the crowd with "pardon" if you accidentally bump into someone or trying to make way and move along. Tack in the word please at the end of requesting sentences. But these are common social niceties everywhere really, not just in France. Just like how, as everyone pointed out, there are rude people everywhere and not just in France.

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