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No. 172-176: French Frights: hugs, first names, smiles, hurried friendships, and filer à l’anglais

I can take no credit for this post, but I just had to share it.

For all you expats out there wondering what you can do to fit in a little more easily with your French hosts, co-workers, neighbors and new found “friends” (who might actually only be acquaintances), please watch the comic, but always insightful, Géraldine from Comme une Française TV…my new favorite virtual Frenchie, as she tells us: How to Scare the HELL out of a French Person.

In case you need a reminder, here are the top five ways to  to frighten the French, remember to:

  • hug them tightly and often. (The French don’t even have a word for hugging.)
  • start an email with a first name. (It’s threatening.)
  • be over enthusiastic. (You can’t be trusted and may be selling a scam.)
  • rush along a friendship. (There are at least seven levels of friendship in France. Go slowly.)
  • filer à l’anglaise or don’t say goodbye. (Neglected bises and au revoirs will land you in the dog house.)

Merci bien, Géraldine…thanks for helping me “live in France, (and) feel at home”…please visit her site here. She is a language learning and cultural decoding gem.


bises: cheek kisses

filer à l’anglaise: leave like an English(man)

17 Comments Post a comment
  1. too funny:)

    March 19, 2014
  2. What a wonderful resource. Thanks so much for sharing!

    March 19, 2014
  3. I’ve just found Geraldine and am now entirely in her thrawl. So funny but informative with it. I have been hugging my French friends all evening and now intend to leave without saying goodbye to them all – just because I can 😉

    March 19, 2014
  4. Actually, as a French Canadian, it took me quite a while to get used to hugging when we moved to Toronto from Montreal. I actually didn’t really know how to do it and was always going for a “bise” but that got in the way of the people who wanted to hug me…it created some funny situations. It also took me a while to learn to call my superiors by their first name. It is interesting to see you talking about the reverse situation. (Suzanne)

    March 20, 2014
    • I love hearing these stories. I feel like I’m being prepared for something French. I wonder what the future holds for me!

      March 20, 2014
      • I see France in your future. Maybe you should start taking a language class? 🙂

        March 20, 2014
      • I’ll have to check with my local French consulate. Between Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, and my beginner’s French textbook, I’ll have a pretty good head start. But, there is nothing like cultural immersion. *Fingers crossed*

        March 20, 2014
    • Yes. It was good for me to watch this video because although I knew that hugging was taboo in France, I didn’t really understand how uncomfortable it was for the French…and I’m a BIG hugger back home. I really like the “bise” though. I was also enlightened by her take on enthusiasm and smiling. I never thought of it as a trust issue. I now appreciated how hard it must be for the French to live in the States, especially when they first arrive.

      March 20, 2014
  5. Reblogged this on She Dreams in French and commented:
    This is so relevant! I have encountered almost all of these!

    March 20, 2014
  6. I LOVE Geraldine!!

    March 20, 2014
  7. spc #

    Reblogged this on Sexpat in the City and commented:
    Oh my word! I LOVE it!

    March 21, 2014

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