Surveys regularly pinpoint the bad manners of French tourists abroad, which point to third place among the most hated tourists. The fault is an overrepresentation, since the French travel a lot, but also a general tendency of the French not to adapt their behavior to local customs. Let’s try to change that.
1. Kiss women in the United States or Germany
We shake hands, we don’t kiss. La bise is experienced as a kind of sexual assault, a penetration into the private sphere of the other. This also applies to India.
2. Letting your dog poop on the sidewalk
In the testimonies of foreigners who visit France (by foreigners, especially North Americans), one subject always comes up: dog shit on the sidewalks. Even if the policy has hardened, in France, globally, we fight the steaks. This is not at all, at all the case everywhere.
3. Talk direct politics
The French love debate and regularly talk about politics. A disagreement is not necessarily the cement of an enmity. This is not the case everywhere in the world. In Asian countries and, to a lesser extent, in Anglo-Saxon countries, conflict must be avoided by all means. We will be rude by expressing strong opinions or by speaking vehemently. As a result, we can talk about the weather at the table and get pissed off.
4. Thumbs up for hitchhiking or saying cool in the Middle East
In France and in many Western countries, giving a thumbs up can mean “you can drop me off at Nogent-le-Rotrou” or “Cool Raoul”. Except that in the Middle East, this same gesture addressed to a person is an invitation to go get sodomized. Which, in addition to being quite cavalier, is not legal in many Middle Eastern countries.
5. Drinking alcohol that you didn’t bring back to a party in South America
In France, you can ask for glasses of 16-year-old Lavagulin at a party, even if you brought an 8.6 (you can, but you risk not being invited back). In South America, it is customary to bring your own drink and stick to it. Otherwise, we pass for a big western taxman.
6. Stick your chopsticks in the rice in Japan
As we are not used to eating with chopsticks, it is not uncommon for us to rest our fingers while placing our chopsticks in the rice in an Asian restaurant. Except that if you do that in Japan, you make an omen of death. Here. You can’t say you didn’t know that.
7. Look a Japanese straight in the eye
The French do not like to discuss with a person who does not look them in the eye. This attitude is interpreted as a sign of escape. In Japan, on the other hand, staring someone in the eye is synonymous with intimidation, a way of saying “kesk’ya” when you don’t speak Japanese. Might as well avoid.
8. Sneeze in India at an event
Sneezing is interpreted as a bad omen in India, especially when it occurs during an event or ceremony. It is therefore essential to avoid sneezing at all costs during a wedding or a funeral. At the same time, if you find yourself invited to a wedding or a funeral in India, it implies that you have been living there for a little while and you probably already know the rule.
9. Bitch or Say No in China
The Chinese never say no outright. They say “yes, but”, a way like any other of not generating conflict. It’s exhausting for Westerners who are not used to these ways of doing things and tend, wrongly, to interpret them as an escape when it is simply a question of not hurting the other. Expressing your disagreement too clearly will make you look like a big asshole.
10. In China again, we do not point the finger at someone
You will say to me, in France, one is not supposed to do it either according to my mother. But it often happens that to designate someone, we indicate his direction with the finger without thinking of harm. In China, such a gesture is synonymous with aggression, as if we were about to let go of the pack. On the other hand, it is possible to designate a person by extending his hand palm open towards him.
The problem with globalization, ultimately, is that it is not us who decide on what basis it is done.
Typically French thinking.