The Rudeness.

There’s one type of French people that I cannot stand. Those people who think they have every right to tell you that what you are doing/thinking is not right. They are nosy, pushy, and they jump to conclusions too fast and too often. They are condescending, arrogant, and just plain mean. I hate these people. And the best part? They are usually wrong in their “justification” of why you are wrong in the first place!

Sometimes this is the reason why I don’t want to go outside or downtown. I’m afraid of running into a rude Frenchie who thinks it’s perfectly ok to tell me that I am doing something “wrong” (according to them.) I wish these people would learn to just keep their mouths shut, but I know that’s not going to happen.

Some of my experiences include the woman who yelled at me for walking the dog on the SIDEWALK BACK TO MY APARTMENT because she thought that I was letting him go to the bathroom on the grass, when I had, in fact, taken him very far away to do his business. But she apparently didn’t hear/didn’t care what I had to say because she just kept repeating over and over again that dogs are not allowed on the grass and that children play there, etc. All this, while I was on the SIDEWALK! After I got back inside, I realized that she had parked in the lot for my building and she lives in the next building over, which is completely forbidden. I seriously wanted to egg her car, but I didn’t. Pas encore….

Then last week when I was waiting in a check-out line at the store, a punk teenager turns up the volume on his cell phone/mp3 player. (Why did anyone think this product would be anything more than an annoyance?) A loud woman at the back of the line goes off on him and commands him to turn it off, and then continues on about how if everyone had a cell phone that played music, on ne serait jamais tranquil and blah blah blah… She just wouldn’t stop talking. I was glad the kid turned his phone off, but I wanted to yell at the woman for being such a garce.

And two other experiences that I’ve read just in the past few days:

Poor Joy was just trying to ask a question, and a crêpe vendor treats her like an idiot.

Mlle Smith is patronized for “thinking like an American” after explaining her opinion on Sarkozy’s reluctance for Turkey to join the EU… and then informed that Turkey does not border Iraq or Iran. And people think Americans are bad at geography?

They constantly try to belittle you and convince the whole world that you are an idiot and that they know everything. But for the others who are standing nearby and have to listen to their rants… well, it makes those people look like complete jerks.

I’m definitely not saying that all French people are like this. I hate generalizing about a country’s population, such as “all Americans love hamburgers and Coke.” But it does seem that the French just don’t know when they have crossed the line sometimes…

The only good thing about their rudeness is that it’s directed at everyone, not just foreigners!

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  • Valerie

    That’s true there are people like that everywhere, but knowing that doesn’t seem to make them less annoying :) No wonder you want to move to the la campagne! I love your blog by the way!

  • Valerie

    That’s true there are people like that everywhere, but knowing that doesn’t seem to make them less annoying :) No wonder you want to move to the la campagne! I love your blog by the way!

  • Astrid

    I know how fustrating it is meeting these kind of people. My previous neighbours have been quite a pain… However I’ve also learned that answering back to them makes you feel superior, like you haven’t let them get to you. My previous neighbour asked me not to park in the buildings parking because we had 2 cars. Even if I said we didn’t, that one was parked far away in another parking it didn’t matter. He just said he KNEW that and therefore also openly admitting to spying! I asked what the problem was and he kept rambling n’importe quoi – to which I kept on replying: YOU HAVE NO RIGHT telling me this as I respect and is respecting the restricted car spaces like everyone else.Back in my appartment I felt like a Ninja because I had stood up to this idiot speaking French.The best: the next day I see that he himself have 2 cars! What a hypocrite!!PLus, I think he just wanted to have a go at the “weakest” resident in the building – the foreigner.Don’t let them get to you! They wouldn’t have lasted a week going abroad doing what so many of us expats are doing so we better let them rot in their own ignorance!

  • Astrid

    I know how fustrating it is meeting these kind of people. My previous neighbours have been quite a pain… However I’ve also learned that answering back to them makes you feel superior, like you haven’t let them get to you.

    My previous neighbour asked me not to park in the buildings parking because we had 2 cars. Even if I said we didn’t, that one was parked far away in another parking it didn’t matter. He just said he KNEW that and therefore also openly admitting to spying! I asked what the problem was and he kept rambling n’importe quoi – to which I kept on replying: YOU HAVE NO RIGHT telling me this as I respect and is respecting the restricted car spaces like everyone else.

    Back in my appartment I felt like a Ninja because I had stood up to this idiot speaking French.

    The best: the next day I see that he himself have 2 cars! What a hypocrite!!

    PLus, I think he just wanted to have a go at the “weakest” resident in the building – the foreigner.

    Don’t let them get to you! They wouldn’t have lasted a week going abroad doing what so many of us expats are doing so we better let them rot in their own ignorance!

  • Liz

    another one to add – sleeping soundly at 3:45 in the morning my bf and I heard constant buzzing and yelling…apparently a lady who lives on the top floor didn’t “remember” the code so her solution was to buzz every single appartment at this ungodly hour…she kept claiming the owner changed the code (trust me it’s the same as always) anyways my bf let her in but as she walked by our door said “don’t make such a racket and have some respect for the people who work early in the morning (that would be NOUS!)” so she retorts that it’s US who manque de respect!!! WHAT!!!! no apology and no thank you at all!!!! grrrrrrrrrrrr….no it’s not just foreigner they treat their own just the same I think…

  • Liz

    another one to add – sleeping soundly at 3:45 in the morning my bf and I heard constant buzzing and yelling…apparently a lady who lives on the top floor didn’t “remember” the code so her solution was to buzz every single appartment at this ungodly hour…she kept claiming the owner changed the code (trust me it’s the same as always) anyways my bf let her in but as she walked by our door said “don’t make such a racket and have some respect for the people who work early in the morning (that would be NOUS!)” so she retorts that it’s US who manque de respect!!! WHAT!!!! no apology and no thank you at all!!!! grrrrrrrrrrrr….no it’s not just foreigner they treat their own just the same I think…

  • Backinthegroove

    oh, I love France but I don’t miss being critisised for being a non-frenchie, do you know what got on my wick when I was there, the fact because I have a brit accent when I talk french makes them think I’m completely stupid and unable to spk French. Do I laugh when people try to speak English No (actually maybe a little bit…;)

  • Backinthegroove

    oh, I love France but I don’t miss being critisised for being a non-frenchie, do you know what got on my wick when I was there, the fact because I have a brit accent when I talk french makes them think I’m completely stupid and unable to spk French. Do I laugh when people try to speak English No (actually maybe a little bit…;)

  • joy suzanne

    **sigh**The last time someone was really rude to me was over a month ago, so I’m doing pretty good! And that was in Pairs!To tell you the truth, I feel really lucky. The longer I’m here in Montpellier, the clearer it is to me that this is really the ideal city for my tastes. Even a recent fancy-pants trip to Paris didn’t shake my loyalties! And then there’s the people: I’ve met really, really wonderful people here. Kind, helpful, even loving…people who are real friends to me. I so rarely run into buttholes, as compared with everyone else’s luck (sorry for the 5th grade language, but buttholes is exactly what those buttholes are!!)…I’m saddened and bewildered about the string of BAD luck that poor Mlle Smith has been having, and the way she seems to be stumbling upon absolute a**holes everywhere she goes. The people I’ve been lucky enough to meet are travelled, interesting, open-minded…you couldn’t accuse them of being “Franchouillards”…But in the end, this is a culture which doesn’t consider rudeness to be a negative thing. I have the feeling that a lot of them are proud of their attitudes.

  • joy suzanne

    **sigh**

    The last time someone was really rude to me was over a month ago, so I’m doing pretty good! And that was in Pairs!

    To tell you the truth, I feel really lucky. The longer I’m here in Montpellier, the clearer it is to me that this is really the ideal city for my tastes. Even a recent fancy-pants trip to Paris didn’t shake my loyalties! And then there’s the people: I’ve met really, really wonderful people here. Kind, helpful, even loving…people who are real friends to me. I so rarely run into buttholes, as compared with everyone else’s luck (sorry for the 5th grade language, but buttholes is exactly what those buttholes are!!)…

    I’m saddened and bewildered about the string of BAD luck that poor Mlle Smith has been having, and the way she seems to be stumbling upon absolute a**holes everywhere she goes. The people I’ve been lucky enough to meet are travelled, interesting, open-minded…you couldn’t accuse them of being “Franchouillards”…

    But in the end, this is a culture which doesn’t consider rudeness to be a negative thing. I have the feeling that a lot of them are proud of their attitudes.

  • Emily

    I’ve been experiencing some “rudeness” recently as well. But, I don’t know if it’s rudeness or disrespect or just lack of boundaries or cluelessness or all of the above and it’s incredibly frustrating and annoying. I usually volunteer at a store on a weekly basis, but have decided to take a break from working there due to the women, who I normally volunteer with, just treating me like a child. I don’t need that negativity in my life right now. And my husband tells me that it’s really hard to escape all of this “pain-in-the-ass-ness” while we live here in France. It’s going to come up from time to time and we just have to be prepared. I think it’s ingrained in the culture…And, no, I don’t mean everyone, but I am talking about the French from a certain generation…

  • Emily

    I’ve been experiencing some “rudeness” recently as well. But, I don’t know if it’s rudeness or disrespect or just lack of boundaries or cluelessness or all of the above and it’s incredibly frustrating and annoying. I usually volunteer at a store on a weekly basis, but have decided to take a break from working there due to the women, who I normally volunteer with, just treating me like a child. I don’t need that negativity in my life right now. And my husband tells me that it’s really hard to escape all of this “pain-in-the-ass-ness” while we live here in France. It’s going to come up from time to time and we just have to be prepared. I think it’s ingrained in the culture…
    And, no, I don’t mean everyone, but I am talking about the French from a certain generation…

  • frog4america

    As a frenchman born and bred i think the whole giving-unwanted-advice-about-how-people-should -live-their-lives can be considered a typical french trait. One example among many others : when i was younger i hated fancy french cuisine and wines because of the unbearable patronizing and condescension from these french people who treat you like an unwashed pig (whether you’re french or a foreigner doesnt matter, i’ll tell you what) if you dont unconditionally love everything they love. I only became interested in french food and wines in ’97, at age 26, because of an awesome guy named Mark Barnett, an American chef at a fancy restaurant in Orlando, Florida. He and his staff made us so enthusiastic about french cuisine that we were dining at his restaurant at least 4 times a week for the rest of our stay, something like 5 months. Previously i had never dissociated french food from the french attitude and meeting this guy who was so in love with french cuisine while being so nice, so humble, so friendly, it really changed my perspective.Otherwise, about some of the previous comments, Astrid’s post is spot on. I have a simple policy : wherever i go i always smile, say hello, please, thank you, have a nice day, but i keep it at that. I never ever get personal with anyone and whenever i have a problem with someone i always take the high road and brush it off calmly, politely, unless i can definitely sense an ulterior motive. If you dont get in these people’s face and show them you’ll raise hell on them if they mess around with you, be prepared to be eaten alive : they’re bullies, nothing more.

  • frog4america

    As a frenchman born and bred i think the whole giving-unwanted-advice-about-how-people-should -live-their-lives can be considered a typical french trait. One example among many others : when i was younger i hated fancy french cuisine and wines because of the unbearable patronizing and condescension from these french people who treat you like an unwashed pig (whether you’re french or a foreigner doesnt matter, i’ll tell you what) if you dont unconditionally love everything they love. I only became interested in french food and wines in ’97, at age 26, because of an awesome guy named Mark Barnett, an American chef at a fancy restaurant in Orlando, Florida. He and his staff made us so enthusiastic about french cuisine that we were dining at his restaurant at least 4 times a week for the rest of our stay, something like 5 months. Previously i had never dissociated french food from the french attitude and meeting this guy who was so in love with french cuisine while being so nice, so humble, so friendly, it really changed my perspective.

    Otherwise, about some of the previous comments, Astrid’s post is spot on. I have a simple policy : wherever i go i always smile, say hello, please, thank you, have a nice day, but i keep it at that. I never ever get personal with anyone and whenever i have a problem with someone i always take the high road and brush it off calmly, politely, unless i can definitely sense an ulterior motive. If you dont get in these people’s face and show them you’ll raise hell on them if they mess around with you, be prepared to be eaten alive : they’re bullies, nothing more.

  • Milie

    Hi Jennie,I’m really sorry for you that you’ve met so many rude French…I’m French, currently living in Australia to experience a different life style, and I’m aware, that some French are like the ones you and your readers describe. They spread their negative vibes around you instead of being curious of culture, background…Like frog4america, I think that’s a french trait. I’m not very tolerant with those people who are not tolerant with anyone!Good luck to you and keep being surrounded by positive, constructive and open-minded people ;-)Milie

  • Milie

    Hi Jennie,
    I’m really sorry for you that you’ve met so many rude French…
    I’m French, currently living in Australia to experience a different life style, and I’m aware, that some French are like the ones you and your readers describe. They spread their negative vibes around you instead of being curious of culture, background…Like frog4america, I think that’s a french trait. I’m not very tolerant with those people who are not tolerant with anyone!
    Good luck to you and keep being surrounded by positive, constructive and open-minded people ;-)
    Milie

  • Jack

    I’ve enjoyed you’re website now for several years and most recently your blog. I’ve been to France on serveral occassions and only had a bad experience in Caen. Apparently an elderly gentleman felt it was perfectly acceptable to stare at us on the tram for at least ten minutes and then start screaming at us…. For simply sitting there speaking amongst ourselves.

  • Jack

    I’ve enjoyed you’re website now for several years and most recently your blog. I’ve been to France on serveral occassions and only had a bad experience in Caen. Apparently an elderly gentleman felt it was perfectly acceptable to stare at us on the tram for at least ten minutes and then start screaming at us…. For simply sitting there speaking amongst ourselves.

Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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