French And American : 2 type of Family

This video is about :2 highly societies with 2 different ways to approach a common theme: family.

Also see :

Family Values: American and French Style

5 DIFFERENCES BETWEEN FRENCH AND  AMERICAN RELATIONSHIPS:

Once you are friend or in a relationship with someone from a different nationality, you notice how some cultural aspects may differ from your own country.

Slow&Long/Quick &Restraint Friendships:

By nature, American people are more friendly and spontaneous when they meet new people.Also, Americans would speak easier openly to new people. In contrast, French people are distant and cold when they meet strangers at first.

Is American friendship hypocrite? In the US, friendship is more about hanging out in large group of people and spending good times together. Furthermore, they won’t share everything with their friends, because they like to keep some stuff to themselves.

French people, picky? It takes them month to be friend to someone and they usually prefer to have a few close friends with whom they may share everything. Benjamin Franklin’s quote: “Be slow in choosing a friend” represents the french’s point of view.

If American are expert of exagaration, so are the French when it comes to be critical. Honesty, even when it may hurts someone’s feeling is synonym of real friendship in France. “A true friend stabs you in the front.”
- Oscar Wilde. This is something that won’t be accepted as well in America.

This explains why most american think that french people are snobby and mean, and also why American friendship is being considered “simplier and superficial” in France.

A group of American people hanging out together.

Can we call that friendship ?

Is it because American are much more puritan? In America, boys and girls are more apart when they are little and as they grew up, things seem to directly be more intense than in France.

Often a friendship between a girl and a guy here will most likely end up by a more serious relationship, compare to France, where everyone has approximately the same number of both gender friends. Of course, it is not always the case, though it is both French and American people noticed that specific behavior.

A french clique, a Small group composed of a mix of boys and girls


Two Americans teenagers that used to be friends and that are now dating.

Dangerous flirting or just a hobby ?

French people, mostly guys, have a certain reputation in the rest of Europe to be professional flirtier. They flirt at any age, everywhere and at any time. Also they are more open to talk about sex and more often than American.

A French girl, Florence told me: “We, French,  are not as puritanical as american, which is why we are less hypocritical as regards to the sex.”

Most of the time when french flirt, they don’t have ulterior motives on their minds, it is mostly a hobby and it doesn’t have to mean anything. On the contrary, in America, if someone flirts with you, you may reject it or you may accept to flirt back. However, you will be aware that flirting back will be without any doubt an invitation.

Romantic frenchies vs American matcho :


According to Elisabeth Badinter, a French philosopher, an American guy is more like“the macho type”, while the French is a mix of the“matcho and tender type”. She pointed out that it doesn’t occur to every situation, but compare to French, American are specialist to act like super-macho.

In addition, in her book “XY Masculine identity”, she claims that “the relationship  men-women in France is special and unique because the French male acknowledges and doesn’t disclaim his female side.”

Individual characteristics and motives that predict cross-race romantic relationships:

Romantic intercultural relationship in America:


Interracial dating are strongly related to more liberal ideologies and integrated environments. Also, motivations for getting involved in a intercultural romantic relationship are very similar to motivations for initiating same-race romantic relationships. However, the cultural’s gap between both countrie is too important to be ignore.

If money is recognized valuable in America, the subject is totally taboo in France or rarely evocative.



An American person is very attracted at the idea of earning money and he admires people who has become successful and wealthy because of their progression in business.

On the opposite,making money for French people is not their first priority in their job.Most of them would prefer a reduction of their incomes in order to :

  • being less stressful
  • supporting better the competition
  • getting a healthier life
  • Dedicating more time to their family and or hobbies.

Furthermore, a French person usually doesn’t choose his job in function of the wage but in function of his interest.

An another surprising fact : nobody in France talks about his success or salary.

Why Money Is Such A Taboo Subject?

Well that’s because in France, being wealthy is badly seen by others even though you may have earn your success. Cultural and Historical events that happened in France may explain this particular behavior.

Until 1789 in France, only 3% of the population, the nobles, were wealthy. Nobelty was a right transmitted at birth for generations. They had privileges such not working to get money since the 97% of peasants were working for them.

French people also think that one who has a comfortable situation probably earn it in a suspicious way or that it is unfair for other people. For example: a specific question was asked at the department of economy of the Bourgogne University in France

“What do you do ?”

“ You are a small stockbroker and you have a very modest way of live. Your neighbors are in the same case. However, one of them start to plant potatoes and 6 months later, he is driving a luxury car, re-building his house and building a swimming pool.”

Naturally we are attending the answer “I plant potatoes too.

But the answer was : “I BAWL ! Because it is always the same : there are people who get everything while others get nothing!“

In United States, Business Success Is More Welcome.

French people feel rarely inferior to someone wealthier and have a tendency to mark anti-economic borders, criticizing those who brag about their economic success, on the opposite of American where the “level of comfort” is a mark of success envied and admired.

Finally the way of using money differs:

While French people economize every time they can, in the case they would have an economic problem or if they want to buy something new, most Americans would make credits over credits and spend their money as fast as they have it and then pay back the banks later.


Studies about french and american food consommationA few facts about the ways of eating in France and America:

First fact:

Most American prefer to eat small snacks all day long, in contrast, french people prefer to eat a few meals per day at very precise hours.They generally have breakfast generally at 7:00am,  lunch time most of the time at 12:00pm and finally dinner at 9pm.

However, there is a huger difference:

Go to some random school in Paris and then in to New York during lunch time, one thing that you will immediately notice is the food students are eating.


Photography by JohnSeb/flirckr.com

on the american side, you will have  fries, pizzas, burgers, vegetables with tons of sausage, sodas and hormones everywhere.

Photography by diekatrin/flirckra.comon the french side: meat or chicken, vegetables, rice /pastas and water.

Of course, it isn’t like that everywhere but it represents pretty well the difference between both cultures when it comes to food.

Furthermore :

Not only French people are more careful on the food they absorb, but they also have a tendency for eating small and nutritious portions, in contrast to America where everything is either microscopic or gigantic. Of course that last statement can be both positive and negative.

Finally:

A meal in France can last forever, it generally last between 30 min to 4 hours ! In the United State, except during family meals , they eat when they are hungry and as fast as possible for not wasting time.  After all, “Time is money. In France, family or workers take the meal as a opportunity to take a break and speaking with others.

For example, for a frenchie, thanksgiving would be an ordinary day.

Beauty of travelling:


Travelling is an open door on the world and an opportunity to gain experience:

Get the chance to meet extraordinary people.

Share your impressions and feelings  family or friends.

In addition, you will find common passion and interests with others while you are travelling.

Life is too short to  missing great opportunities, such as travelling.

If you are able to travel but you were not really motivated before,

If you haven’t thought of visiting foreign places,

Or if you want to manage to go to your dream’s destination, then it is up to you to change that.

Unforgivable moments are waiting for you to happen, so why are you still looking at your computer?

France is a place surrounded by smoking teenagers. According to the studies of l’INSEE, (a french statistic site), 25% of the Frenchies aged between 15 and 18 years old are smokers, in contrast, only 16,7% of young adults smoke in america in 2006.

The numbers may varied a little, but the consequences are still the same : so why french people tend to smoke much more than american?

If the French law allows the consummation of cigarets at 16 years old, instead of most american states where a person can legally smoke in average at 21 years old, it seems to not be the only reason. Furthermore, some tobacco’s sellers in France prefer to sell their tobacco to their customers without paying attention to their age, something that wont happen often in America.

Finally the main and the most surprising reason was given by american teenagers themselves :
Most of them prefer to smoke drugs, such as weed, simply because” cigarets are really bad for your health and you can get cancer easily, smoking them make you look stupid and it is really pointless.” apparently from their point of view “weed have minor impact on you compare to cigarets, as long as you are not a huge weed;s addict of course”.

Photography by VincentBernier/ Flickr.com

Step 2

French, Cigarets Addicts?

Drugs, 1st American Smoking Choice?

Many stereotypes among the American are about the Frenchies being pro-smokeurs, and especially cigarets lovers. In addition, french people mostly think that American people hate cigarets, however there are huge drugs’ consumers.

The poll is a way to determine which kind of smoke is prefered among the public in order to see if the results will confirm those statements or not.

However I will give a much more complete explanation later.

It is mostly impossible to imagine that the rules of saying hi of your host country may be diffrent than the one from your country .

This video is a good summary of the huge difference among the European style -mostly french style- and the American style. Now you are prepared to the unexpected and become a expert of both American and french etiquette.

Enjoy the video !


Hug Or Bise ?

You are in a different country, then the first thing you need to ask yourself is : do people from foreign countries say hi the same way I do? I agree, it is not the first thing that will came to your mind, which is why people are always surprised when they discover that telling hi to other people differs from a country to an another.

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Don’t even try to hug If you are in France ! French people are a little more reserved when it comes to friendship, so your hug may appear like a excess of affection and sometimes that may scare some a little . However French people do hug, but only if they think they know enough the other person.

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In America, you will notice very quickly that here, kissing on both cheeks is something you want to avoid. In France, girls and guys will do the “Bise” (kissing on both cheeks), everytime they see each other, but American would find it weird, so hopefully you haven’t try that yet.

After a few embarassing moments, I always take a moment to think what would the best proper way to say hi when I am in a foreign country : as a result, people stopped viewing me as a freak at least the first two minuts =)

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Just try the experience and you will be certain to see some funny reactions.

Photography by Kalandrakas/ flickr.com

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Have you ever live, visit or think about going to a foreign country?

Then this blog may be useful for you:

For example:

If you are a french person going to the United State or an American going to France

then there are probably 15 main things you should know in order to survive the cultural shock =)

Photography by quinn.anya/flickr.com