Are the French really rude? Or is it the Americans?


Hello everyone 🙂

That title above might sound pretty loaded, but believe me, there’s a lot of misunderstandings going around when tourists and French people meet each other. And especially Americans, for some reason.

Now, I’ve heard Americans say they think French people are rude – and I’ve heard French people say the same thing about Americans. So what’s actually going on?

(And by the way, it’s not just Americans – but seeming today’s podcast guest is from the US we’re going to stick with that for today.)

So, meet Janet Hulstrand, who has just written a book called Demystifying the French where she tackles some of the big cultural differences between Americans and French people.

I could write about it all day really, but why not listen to the woman who wrote the book! Press play below – or go and listen on your phone’s podcast player. Click the subscribe button and you’ll help this podcast grow!

Here is Janet’s home page to find out more about her work. Her book is called Demystifying the French, How to Love Them, and Make Them Love You. 

Support the Earful Tower on Patreon here. If you want to learn French with Camille’s method, find the French Today audiobooks here.

Yes, and while I’m thinking about it, I once had a guest called Heidi Moore who also talked about Americans in France – specifically, the guide for how NOT to be an American in Paris – and you might want to check that one out too.

4 thoughts on “Are the French really rude? Or is it the Americans?

  1. I do totally agree with the “Bonjour” thing. Actually it goes even further than that. Saying Bonjour and the way you say it reflects your relationship with someone. By that I mean that there is a proper code about it. If it’s family or friends you’ve got to both say bonjour and kiss the person. If you know the person but s/he is not quite a friend then a wave or hand shake with a Bonjour would be enough. But ironically you can not switch these things. It would be considered weird to kiss someone that you don’t know and it would considered very rude not to kiss someone you know. The Bonjour process is quite complex but is very important. Let’s say you’re walking in the street and see someone you know, if you do not go to say Bonjour (because you are in a rush, you don’t have time, you’re busy… whichever the reason may be) you will basically start a war with this person. S/he will be highly offended. You may get a text saying “hey, so you don’t say bonjour anymore?” or even worse, the person would just be upset. Also, if someone you know doesn’t come and say Bonjour to you, you can safely assume that you may be into trouble. Saying bonjour is a big topic of conversation amongst french. I totally appreciate this sounds insane but this is a big thing and should not be overlooked as this is the french culture and if you want to understand the french and fit in, you’ve got to comply to the Bonjour unspoken rule.

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