I wouldn’t say friendlier. I wouldn’t even use the word nicer. Polite may not be the word, either. I think respectful is the adjective.
I have been here for a while and encountered many French people. Many Europeans, might I add. Spent time around the “rude” Parisians. I find that all of them are nice and accepting. Accepting being the most important thing. They are more accepting of who you are, what you do, everything. Just not quite as judgmental. I am NOT going on some political rant here so keep reading.
In America “how are you doing?” is normally a context of “What have you been up to?”. Most of the questions you get are “What are you doing with your life?” questions. If you haven’t graduated from college, gotten married, or had a baby, you haven’t accomplished anything in life. It is also all expected at an early age. I had some rough years and may be getting things done later than everyone else, but that doesn’t make it any less of an achievement. Even before I moved here, 99% of people I talked to didn’t believe that it was going to happen. Even some of my family and friends. Remember you do not know what’s going on in anyone’s life, so don’t be so quick to judge when they aren’t doing things “the right way.”
Now onto the French. Why are they more respectful? They respect boundaries. I love the boundaries of French people. I have not been grilled about my future or past since I have been here. Unless I was speaking to an American. Also, I think as long as you are working and doing something with your life, it is good with them. If you have a plan for your future or even have several options that is ok. It is refreshing to not have people judge you on these things. If they are, it is hidden and you wouldn’t have to worry about it yourself.
Now, this isn’t how everyone in America acts. Some people are truly looking to learn about who you are. And some ask these questions and don’t judge. I want to point out that this doesn’t just apply to careers, marriages, and school. When some people get married they are asked when are they going to have a baby constantly. Please think to yourself: Do you know what’s going on with them? Does this couple want to have a baby? Are they having fertility issues? Maybe they just don’t want a baby because they are so in love that they want to hang out and watch Netflix without a baby. You don’t know their life. Boundaries people. 🙂
Having dinner with French people is better, also. When you are finished with the meal they ask if you want cheese, and then ask if you would like yogurt. I know this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when I say no they ask again to make sure. In America, desert every night is frowned upon. If someone turned it down no one would offer it again. When I don’t finish my plate they say “did you like it?” and “Are you still hungry?” as opposed to nothing. I think this is more of my host family worrying about me, but this has been nice. Maybe if we didn’t deprive ourselves so much we would be healthier. I have lost weight since I have been here. Eat some dessert everyone.
The conclusion is that unless you know what is going on in someone’s life, do not judge or ask questions that you shouldn’t. A sincere “How are you?” and a “How’s your family?” is the best conversation that I have with people from Louisiana. Who I think definitely are the friendliest people. We just might not have boundaries. 🙂
I also want to say I couldn’t be happier for those in my life who are married and have kids. If I end up being a mom, I could only aspire to be as good as my sister. To raise a child who is the sweetest boy I know and one who can convince a nanny that he doesn’t have school at 3 years old. They are the best kids ever.