How to Talk to A French Person

Ever been afraid of talking to a french person? Unsure how to approach the fact that because of their difference in culture, despite the fact that they might live in the U.S, your mannerism and speech should be drastically changed for them in order to not offend them or their culture in any way, shape or form? Ever wondered what the tips and tricks to be accepted or admitted by a french person were? Foreigners are a tricky thing, and interacting with them, even trickier. Well, fear not, as this guide will tell you the exact process for understanding and dealing with the french mind, its strengths, limitations, and the things to do and not to (ever do) in case of multicultural interaction.

First things first, never approach a french person head on. As we all know, french people tend to be rude, so even a simple greeting in english might kill your chances of interacting with them. No, to get the french person to like you, you have to greet them in their native language. But here’s the tricky part: you can’t obviously be of a different culture when doing so. What I mean by that is if your french isn’t at a near perfect speaking level, then you might as well forget doing this entire task altogether. Trying to sound french isn’t enough, you have to put in the time and the work. Plus, trying to sound french might offend them, as it is putting the “sound” of french people under only one stereotype, and although french does “sound” a certain way, a foreigner would – or should – not be able to tell which is the correct “way” for it to sound. Therefore, in order to acquire the correct level of french needed, I recommend taking the language throughout high school, in college, and making most of the media you consume in french, for about a couple of years, and living in france in total immersion for at least 6 years. If you’re still in the process, or worst, haven’t started, don’t engage in conversation.

Now, let’s imagine your greeting was successful. You’ve engaged the french person. This is the delicate part, as you are subjected to the most judgments and possible misunderstandings in the first minutes of the interaction. Know your surroundings. If you are in France, speaking english might offend them, as you are neglecting their native tongue in their own country, but speaking french might be delicate, as they could think you are neglecting their native tongue in their own country, with any slight pronunciation or grammar error that you make. The french language is a very complex one, and not investing all the time you possibly can into it, before speaking to a native, is highly offensive.

Let’s say, however, that you two are in the U.S. You are already engaged in delicate and elaborate small talk. What now? The rule of thumb is to never come across anything stolen from the french when in presence of a french person. I’ll illustrate this with an example. You have met a frenchman and have been talking while walking at the same time. In the corner of your eye, you notice a bakery. Without the frenchman noticing, walk slightly in front of them, while doing your best to identify the bakery before passing it. If the shop window contains croissants, turn around, as the sight of such traditional french breakfast food might cause the french person great offense. If, by mischance, the croissants happen to be stuffed, leave the interaction, as this is a clear theft, appropriation, and americanization of an iconic and natively french food, and the reaction of the frenchman might be too great for you to handle.

It’s important to note that the french person will always have an advantage in certain topics of conversation, and imperative for you to accept and respect this aspect of their culture. Because France have been around for a number of years, more than the U.S, a french person will automatically have a better legitimacy when it comes to certain subjects. It terms of food, the french person will have a better qualification to talk about it than the american person, as the ancestors of the french person have been creating different foods for longer than the ancestors of the american person. Although all ancestors, when looking deep enough, become detached from the person living and reading this paper right now, but possibly are attached emotionally to them, and that all people are linked together by common ancestors, it’s important to note that their national attachment links them to a culture that disregards anyone that has lived before or/and outside said culture. Following that logic, a french person will be linked more strongly to their french descent than an american to their possible spanish, african or chinese descent, just to name a few, and therefore will have a stronger basic legitimacy to base their qualification for an argument from. How should you go about it then? Well, if you think the french person might be more qualified than you to talk about a subject, not because of individual knowledge, but because of assumed stereotype of what that culture knows or does better, then don’t. Furthermore, if you didn’t hold that belief for a certain topic, but the french person informs you that it is the case, then abort talking about it, as the french person could be extremely offended if you begin appearing to be explaining that topic to them.

Now, let’s say you’ve executed all of those: you’re talking french perfectly, hidden the most blatant signs of cultural appropriation from the french person, and avoided (or let them speak and not dominate conversation) subjects for which they have a basic and higher qualification to talk about. Then what? At this point, it should be that you’ve made the french person your friend, and that it will stay that way for a while, as long as you make sure not to counter or discredit their beliefs. French people are known to be very rude and close minded, therefore, the slightest challenge in ideology could cost you the end of the interaction, and all that hard work on building a meaningful interaction would amount to nothing. Which raises the question once again: what now? You could take your friendship to the next level and propose to visit France with them, if the U.S is the setting you’ve been exercising in until now. First of all, if the french person agrees, you will have to pay for your plane ticket, but not theirs, as the french person could take this as negative judgment and microaggression on their social and economical status, which would immediately offend them and could kill off, there and then, your relationship with them.

Lastly, let’s approach fasion. French culture really does care about its appearance. Therefore, when comes to time for hanging out with a french person in France, make sure to wear appropriate and thought out clothing. Failure to do so could result in the french person faking not knowing you and screaming bloody murder into the streets before you could tap their shoulder to ask where they’d like to eat for lunch. There have even been cases where a french individual has genuinely failed to recognize their american friend because of lack of fashion of the latter, which has resulted in the american person getting lost in the French wasteland that is Saint-Dié-des-Vosges in northeastern France. Despite big lack of network connection, the entirety of the event was recorded on Snapchat, and the duo have since then been reunited.

There’s a lot that comes into befriending a foreign person, in this case, a french person. You cannot come in the interaction and expect the foreigner to accept you for who you are in your own culture, even if you end up interacting in the United States of America. The french is a sensible, yet fierce, attentive, yet cold creature, and they require a treatment different from your everyday casual encounters. That is why, to finish, I’d like to introduce another type of french person you might encounter. That person doesn’t care that much about the culture differences that you might or might not have with them. Apply the steps incorrectly, say “Bonjour” while accenting the N, or fail to hide that your country offers such things as ham and cheese croissants, and they might laugh for a bit or even want to try the latter. They might approach you head on, or would appreciate it if you do so, and would rarely, if ever, get offended by anything you tell them, as long as it’s told without malice. These are the most dangerous types of individuals. Do not ever interact with them. In case of overcoming one of their kind, turn around and walk away. The differences you hold are to be kept, but not cherished, exist, but whose existence should kept a shame, and such individual could go against all of this as well as the very foundation of all that this guide stands for.

Kitties and Grandmas

Context: This was written in about 10-20 minutes in my AP. Lang and Comp class. Everyone wrote 3 random nouns on 3 pieces of paper, and each person drew 2 out of a hat and had to write a paragraph about how your 2 nouns are similar. Then, 3 people ended up reading their paper to the class. I got “Kitty” and “Grandma”.

The grandma sat on her chair, taking a nap, while her kitty stood next to her doing the exact same. Because of their age, grandmas can often be calm and restful, much like their animal counterparts. However, I also know of grandmas who do nothing but visit different places, take care of their gardens, and generally just run around everywhere. Have you never heard of a single kitty doing something similar?

The kitty walks on more than 2 legs, and if your grandma makes use of a walker, she might be  just as well. Ever heard of a kitty that forces you to eat broccoli, brussels sprouts, or foods or vegetables you don’t like? No, of course not. Ever heard of a kitty that can manage to read a book without its reading glasses? No, me neither.

They say that a cat always lands on its paws, no matter the height, but how are you sure your grandma can’t? She’s lived a pretty long life, and I’m telling you, you can’t be making assumptions about what she can and can’t do.

The kitty will come and rub its fur against your leg when it’s feeling affectionate, your grandma might come and give you a hug, or even a big kiss on the cheek when she feels the same way.

Spending too much time on your computer? The kitty might come and lay on the keyboard to get you to stop, while your grandma tells you to go play outside to get you to stop.

It’s almost like they could be working together without us actually knowing about it.

 

Procrastination – A Spoken Word

“8:49AM I’m up and moving, awesome. This is gonna be a productive day

9:10AM I’m done with breakfast, let’s take a shower, and see what I need to work on today

9:25AM As I climb the stairs, my brain entices me with the thought of a pre work satisfaction

9:26AM The attraction of my laptop is enough for the liquefaction of all attempts at redaction

9:30AM What am I doing? Ok, I’m already in the middle of a video, I’ll start working after this one.

10:40AM Well crap. At this point, I’d better wait until 11

 

And 11 passes by, but the hours abruptly rush consecutively, the one following always quicker than the one before. Your brain, fidgety, intensely tries to think of ways to trick the passing of time, chooses to rhymeleisure” with “pleasure” instead of “work” with “measure” and “grind”. Because changes have to occur to avoid the fermentation of your obscure but manageable workload. You could be moving nations, you think to yourself, but the expectations that such actions hide are daunting, thus you chide any attempts at doing what you should. You fuss, almost in pride, at your way of getting things done at the last minute. Yet all that time you decided to use putting off is gone. Fused with the past, passing an awful bitter sweet yawn to your mind.

 

So the days have to pass, the next more painful than the previous for you to realize how to break out of it. Then, your vision grows, a fusion of past experience, and purpose, manifesting itself like crows in the nighttime, too hard to be spotted, but present enough to be heard. A bird so big and majestic that you should fall to the temptation of seeking it.

 

There are so many things to be done on this planet. But being curled up in a safety blanket, being too scared of the world taking a swing at you is not worth it. You know all this, yet stay frozen, having chosen a path really comfortable for your subconcious. Yet, still, you feel a ferocious craving in your stomach, in front of computer,  as you finish the autobiography of a serial procrastinator.”

“I don’t have time”

Time. The most precious resource we as humans have. However, I would bet that you have heard that sentence before: “I don’t have time”. I recently decided to calculate how much free time I actually have.

There are 168 total hours in one week.  We’ll subtract to that 7 hours of sleep for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, although as a high school student I know that many of my friends and acquaintances don’t sleep that much every night, but let’s go with it. I’ll also subtract 10 hours of sleep for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 168-28-30 = 114 hours.

Now, I am a student, and will treat the entirety of my time at school as a non-stop work period, although many of us don’t actually work during our study halls, or don’t necessarily want to work during our lunch hour, but let’s assume we do, for a minute.

The school day in the school I currently am at lasts from 8 to 3h30, with sports until 5h15. That’s 9h15 per day, 37h per week. 114-37= 77 hours. Now, I know I spend about 1h15 in the car for transit every week day, which is 5 hours per week. We’ll count it as busy time for now and subtract it: 77-5= 72 hours.

So far, we’ve counted the hours that sleep, school, and transit would take every week, and ended up with 72 hours, A.K.A exactly 3 whole days’ worth of time. Although hours of transit could be used for productivity, we won’t count them as such here for sake of argument. Bear with me.

We’ll do a couple of final subtractions. I’m doing track this year, and we have a meet every week, that can take up to 4 hours off my schedule. 72-4= 68 hours. Next, we’ll subtract to that about 3 hours of homework every single day consistently (including on Saturday and Sunday, and assuming that some of your work was finished during your school hours). 68-28= 40 hours.

40 hours of pure free time.

Add to that 6 hours of homework if you want. Hell, even 10 hours is fine. You’d still have 30 hours of free time every week. That’s 120 hours per month.

If you’re motivated enough, there’s no excuse. You can find time. Keep in mind that I counted transit as busy time, but a lot of us are taking the car in the passenger seat, or sitting in a bus, and could make that time productive. And hell, unwinding with a high quality audiobook while driving your car is a really good idea too. Even just listening to one hour of that in your car every day could result in 16 hours per month, which could result to having listened to 15 books in a single year only using your time in the car.

I could add that I know that I don’t always use all the free time at school. Sometimes, watching a Youtube video is a lot more attractive than doing homework during my daily free time. Plus, I counted 7 hours of sleep for 4 days and 10 hours for 3 days in the week, but many of my peers only get 4 to 5 hours four days a week, which really increases their time being up. I also know that many of us take extremely long to do homework because we don’t actually put all our energy into it in bursts, but instead spread it out and let our phones distract us throughout the task. If you’re motivated enough to finish all that homework you have to get done, but don’t want to go to bed at 2AM, you might want to look into the Pomodoro Technique.

Don’t focus on the time you have for a certain task, we have plenty of it. 40 hours in this case, to be exact. Instead,  concentrate on the amount of energy you put into it. You’d be surprise of the amount of time you could save.