Tutorial Transcript

Salut YouTube, I'm Rosie I'm a New Zealander living in France which is definitely a story for another time and today I wanted to tackle one of the biggest stereotypes about the French people and one of the most googled Things about the French people of all time, which is why are the French so rude? So in this video, I'll be exploring where I think the stereotype came from some potential cultural explanations for this phenomenon and some simple tips so that if you're in France you can avoid situations in which the French Unleash the rudeness on you Also guys, I'm just starting out on YouTube so if you like what you see Please give this video a thumbs up or hit subscribe to show me some love So, where is this stereotype coming from? Well, I have to say I think a large part is coming from tourists visiting Paris in particular and interacting with people and service-based roles Travel websites like Skyscanner have ranked France as the number one rudest destination and TripAdvisor forums are overflowing with complaints about French rudeness and a lack of customer service I do tend to believe that when there's smoke There's fire to some extent Firstly because French people themselves even joke or talk about Parisians as being less friendly more stressed Maybe a little bit more distant than other French people so there's a little bit of a stereotype anyway happening within the country Secondly even the French foreign ministers have launched multi-million euro campaigns Trying to get French people working in service facing roles to be warmer to tourists In 2009 there was the famous "Smile" campaign which is pretty self-explanatory And more recently we've had a campaign called "Do you speak touriste?" and for those of you who speak French, I will link that down below because it's kind of hilarious and thirdly after living here for four years. Yes I have encountered some really rude people Including a postal worker who literally bought me, an adult woman, to tears because she was just so mean I will never forget you lady!! but I will say that, in general, French people (and even the Parisians) are polite kind and respectful people 99.99999% of the time, and if you encounter otherwise it's probably one big cultural misunderstanding. So that being said let's jump into the four reasons where you may perceive a French person to be rude when in fact They're just being...French What you need to know is that French people are coconuts Yep coconuts! According to German American psychologist Kurt Lewin, the world can be roughly divided into two kinds of people Peaches and coconuts Peaches are all warm and fuzzy on the outside. They share personal stories quickly They're the kind of people that open up, laugh a lot, invite you around to their house after 24 hours But if you're trying to dig deeper and really become one of those best friends forever You're gonna eventually hit a tough inner shell That's very hard to get into and it's a special place really reserved for their closest friends and family Coconuts, like the French, May seem colder and distant at first because they've got a tough outer shell that you need to crack into but once you crack that shell you're gonna get into the nice lush inner coconut and What we often say amongst ourselves as expats in France is that it's really hard to make friends here But once you do make a friend you'll soon realize that Your most loyal trustworthy and open friends and they're real friends for life But as strangers visiting France or people who have just moved to France you might find it takes a lot of time To get through that tough outer shell. It's exactly the same concept when it comes to getting chatty with strangers. In New Zealand you can get chatty with anyone, you can open up to the person sitting beside you on the bus You can tell your whole life story to your hairdresser. When I think about it sometimes I wonder if my hairdresser in New Zealand knew more about me than my own mother But in France, less so. Making chitchat with strangers isn't really common So just imagine you're in a restaurant and you see a lovely French couple sitting beside you. They probably don't want to hear about your arthritis or your son Jimmy who's backpacking around South America at the moment Honestly for French people in this kind of setting they're like why are you speaking to me like this? We don't know each other Can I please have my privacy and you keep your privacy? Let's respect that. French people in general, I think don't want to act fake They don't want to act like they've known you for the past ten years and that you're best mates when it's just simply not the case for them. That would be a little bit hyporcritical. So long story short the French aren't actually being rude here. When they treat you with a little bit of Distance and formality, that's being respectful. It may come across as icy, but it's definitely not done with menace or bad intention So there's definitely a thing in France where people think that the waiters are being rude and inattentive Because the service is so slow and they've actually looked into this so they did a study timing the average time it took from a client sitting down at a table to being served a glass of water in London eateries and in Parisian eateries and what they found is that in London it took an average of 3.4 minutes to get served and in Paris it took a grand total of 17.9 minutes on average But I can explain! In France taking your time to enjoy your food is crucial This is why we have our famous one-hour lunch breaks. It's an important moment to share good food good times with the people around you and to build relationships If you think about it from a business perspective of course It makes more sense to treat it like a factory get clients in out Super speedy service, clear out that table one after the other To get more money in and so if you think about it from that way, they're actually being really nice I've also heard people question: Well, maybe it's because they don't get paid tips maybe that's why the service is so slow But I would challenge that to be honest because back in New Zealand our service is super speedy and we don't get paid tips I really think it's a cultural thing and I really think it's around the way you do business. In saying all of this of course if you're in a rush, you can tell the waiter upfront, and it's usually no problem at all. Point number 3 is that in France the customer is not the king. I know in the anglo-saxon world especially We're used to this old-age adage of the customer is always right you know if they want my hard-earned money then they better work for it, but in France this really isn't the case. In France the server doesn't want your money, He wants his dignity. You've got to remember that France is a very hierarchical society even 220 years after the Revolution and even with their motto of égalité French people are implicitly aware of their status in society So even though you're probably not thinking it a French waiter may automatically feel a little bit lower in society if he's serving you and He wants to feel like he's an individual, and he's an individual interacting with an individual and that It's an equal playing field and that being said you'll also find in France that sales people will not bend over backwards and kiss your butt to get a sale That kind of behavior may earn respect in other parts of the world But here it's seen as being really degrading. That's another reason why it's totally counterproductive to try and rush a Parisian waiter - he is not your garçon His ethos is that the more you try and rush me the longer I will take. However if you treat the waiter like an equal - as he deserves to be treated obviously - and ask his advice Perhaps for the food or the wine list I'm sure you'll get a much warmer reception The fourth and final point that I want to bring up is that Parisians have a tourist hangover. France is the most popular tourist destination in the world every year receiving around 85 million visitors of which Paris takes 20 million of these. The local population of Paris is 2.2 million so to take on 20 million extra per year is enormous. On top of that Paris is a very crowded and dense city as it is. There are 21 thousand inhabitants per square kilometer Compared to London for example who have just 5 thousand inhabitants per square kilometer so yes Parisians can occasionally get tired of tourists and in Paris we tend to work really long hours much longer than the 35-hour week I assure you and the average commute is one hour as well so I wouldn't be surprised if a Parisian comes across as a little bit stressed or impatient if you go up to them during their morning commute, their evenings when they're trying to get home or during the busy lunch hour and ask them for advice or directions They may not come across as the most chilled and friendliest people in the world But if you do have to approach a Parisian on the street, just remember this old Concept of etiquette! Be courteous and say "Bonjour, Parlez-vous anglais?" And I promise ninety-nine percent of the time you will not get attitude. Of course most Parisians do speak English But I think it's really important to say Bonjour at first because it shows that you're making an effort in their country and that you're not assuming that they will speak English to you. Parisians are not even snappy with the tourists in general They're snappy even with French people if you forget these basic rules of social conduct. I had a French friend the other day We were going down into the metro and they had a big suitcase with them So they needed to go through the special doors the big wide doors that allow the suitcases to pass through now the man who's in control of opening these bigger doors was on the phone and So my French friend was waving out saying "La porte s'il vous plaît" - The door please - and the guy stopped speaking he took his phone away from his face, and he was like Do you want to say hello first or....? afterwards I was like oh gosh that guy Why did he have to be in such a bad mood and my French friend was like no no no I was in the wrong. I should have said Bonjour. I was rushed I saw him on the phone I just assumed he wouldn't want to be interrupted, but I should have said Bonjour So now I'm gonna zip through just quickly five simple rules that will help to reduce any risk of French rudeness by at least 72 percent So the first is what I call the holy trinity Bonjour merci, au revoir If you can remember these three French words you'll be fine. You say bonjour Whenever you go into a store a restaurant you ask people for advice directions, etc and at anytime you kind of enter a closed space with people so whether that be an elevator or a doctor's office you will also say Bonjour Merci, thank you, is pretty self-explanatory and au revoir Whenever you leave said restaurant shop etc bonus points if you throw bonne journée in there too. No. 2, don't think of Paris as a store where the Customer is always right and money talks - those cultural norms do not apply in France Instead think of Paris as a gracious host Who has welcomed you into her home. Be a charming guest and you'll be warmly embraced. Tip number 3 is always be nice to waiters. They don't need your tip to survive So the only way that you're going to make them be nice with you is to be nice to them first Also, don't mistake a French waiter who's teasing you as being rude I know that sometimes French waiters love to tease their customers especially the foreign ones and Maybe this isn't something you're used to especially if you're from the States because waiters don't really dare to tease and joke with you So much, because they're running on the tips but the French waiter here is definitely not intending to be rude They're just having a little bit of fun with you Tip no. 4 is that if a conversation does ensue with the French person or French people just chill out a little bit. Don't be too loud or giggly or use hyperbole too much. These are kind of marks of Simpletons in France for lack of finding another way to explain it so try to keep things a little bit more chilled, refined and speak at a less "Excited" level. Tip no. 5 is don't take things too personally You know if you do encounter a rude french waiter They're not sitting there saying oh, I know that Janet's come all the way here from Brazil I can't wait to ruin her holiday. 9 out of the10 times. It's not about you at all I think we should all have a bit of empathy for French waiters especially in Paris overwhelmed with the tourist traffic and very likely to be overworked and underpaid So try and think about it from that perspective first before taking things personally In conclusion I think it's high time that we kill this stereotype. The root of the problem is not that French people are rude It's that we all have different cultural Interpretations on events and cultural norms when it comes to interacting with each other. If you're polite and not Condescending and you remember the Holy Trinity - "bonjour, merci, au revoir", I think you'll find that the French icy exterior melts and they'll go the extra mile to help. so the next time you have a problem with a French person and you wonder Was that French person just being? Really rude to me?? Try and think about the things that you spoke about in this video to assess the situation first And if you conclude that yes, they were being really rude It's probably true Rude people do exist in this world, but probably not all of them in France or Paris!