In France discussion is an art
The secret rules of conversation in France are important to know if you interact with French people. They love serious debates and long discussions. We call it « discussion » « débat ». “Je suis d’accord !” “je suis contre! ” “tu as tort ! say the French in the middle of a passionnate debate……
We love of debate and our belief that people should be actively engaged in ideas and issues means that we expect others not to shy away from expressing and defending their opinions. French people expect others to disagree and argue with them.
There has been many times I’ve sat at a dinner table with my friends and argued passionately about something – politics, philosophy, cinema, why someone wears blue or the necessity of cats. It can often get intense but just as quickly as a debate comes on, with a glass of wine, everyone is back to being friends and agreeable because the point of discussion is not always to persuade or win but just to experience and enjoy the passion of debate.
Lately the ban of the gay marriage in France has lead to a very passionnate debate. Supporters of same sex gay marriage were opposed to the more conservative minded who fervently defended values of the family. Perhaps it’s because I’m french that I find the interesting and irrelevant – perhaps especially irrelevant – debates the best and often the most crucial to an enjoyably lived life. These strong shifs of mood and temper have a wonderful effect in France : they keep everyone from getting bored « Flee boredom » advised Coco Chanel. And we rarely are. Nor will you be.
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