When Politeness Can Divide

In spite of the divergences I have discussed previously, the Francophile in me might be excused for thinking that in the ordinary circumstances of everyday life politeness can only go to unite. What is more normal with the two most dissimilar peoples on our planet that it can frequently divide? For, just as your English attachment to ‘friendly’ politeness can prompt you to lapse into what the French view as inappropriate familiarity, the more decorous French etiquette may be equated with cold aloofness by you English. This was no better illustrated than by an experience I had last year just after landing back in England.

Smiley, request for politeness, white background

Smiley, request for politeness, white background (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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