Are French People Rude?

Related Article: The Rude French Myth @ About.com

I chatted with M something about the french people yesterday. According to M’s friend X, X regarded the french people as snobbish and rude. X proved his point with his little trip to France, and said that the french do not seemed to like talking to him, as if they were looking down on him as a foreigner. What repulses me is the way X (who by the way I see has absolutely zero knowledge on the french culture) talked negatively to potential visitors about the “rude french people”.

Which reminded me of my class last week on the common misconception on the french personality. French people won’t smile unless they mean it, as they consider smiling unnecessary to be hypocritical. When you smile at a French whose face remains impassive, it does not mean that they are disapproving you or that you are rejected socially. It is just the way they operate. As such, it is unfair to dismiss a french person as unfriendly or rude solely by his facial expression.

Generally, most cultures smile upon meeting new people. By smiling, we believe that we are reducing the tension and therefore create a less hostile environment as a result. This we know, is particularly true with the Americans. So imagine if an American were to meet a French and how the American would be put off immediately because of the lack of cultural understanding. It’s not that the French won’t make the effort or that they don’t understand, its simply not part of their ecosystem.

So yes, I don’t think that the french people are rude. The only rude people are the people who come to conclusion too soon without any effort to understand the situation. Of course if you want to argue for the rest of us, you can, start your own blog too.

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