“You forgot the magic word”
An American living in Paris is going viral after clearing up a major cultural misunderstanding.
The outage is due to a TikToker named @thrivinginparis, who frequently posts about his experience living abroad. In a recent video, she responded to a comment explaining why Americans sometimes perceive the French to be “rude.”
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His video is the latest entry in a massive trend on TikTok, in which users post information they have acquired after moving to a new country.
In a video, a New Zealander shared her big problem with US taxes. In another, an American shared her surprise at the way Britons greet each other. And, in a hilarious entry, a TikToker living in France showed how a grocery store perceives “American” food.
In the @thrivinginparis video, the TikToker began by observing that, in her experience, the French are actually “obsessed” with politeness.
“In my opinion,” she continues, “this perception of French rudeness is actually rooted in a lack of understanding or awareness of the good manners (knowledge of the habits and customs associated with living elegantly and fashionably in society) or the codes of conduct that dictate the behavior of the French.
Some of these codes of conduct are completely “invisible” to outsiders, says @thrivinginparis. As a result, Americans might actually be violating these customs without knowing it.
“You might be surprised to learn that you were perhaps the most rude,” she adds.
For example, @thrivinginparis says, if you’re lost in Paris and you approach a Frenchman and say, “Excuse me? or, “Can I ask you a question?” you can come across as disrespectful.
“Because you forgot the magic word, which is Hello (have a nice day), or good evening (good evening), if it’s after 6 p.m.,” she said.
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In America, it’s common to start a conversation with something like “Excuse me?” But in France, this one salute can make all the difference.
TikTok users were fascinated by @thrivinginparis’ explanation. Many agreed that when traveling to a foreign country, it is all about being informed.
“Not a single person in Paris has been rude to us,” one user wrote. “We learned some very basic ground rules and some French phrases on the plane. You get what you give.”
“Some French people won’t even answer if you don’t say Hello“, agreed another user. “Some will repeat Hello until you figure out the clue.
“I spent eight days in Paris several years ago with my two young children, and the only rude people I encountered were fellow Americans,” another wrote.
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