Down to business in France and it can be very impersonal. What many consider the language of romance leaves me rather underwhelmed when I start translating from Arabic.
Take a mundane situation: I call my nice physio to make an appointment. I haven’t seen him for about two months and spent about 3 months having appointments with him prior to that. Let’s call him Physio French.
“Hello, is that Mr Physio French?”
“Hello, it is Trailing Grouse.”
“Aah, hello Madame Grouse.”
[Pause while I think what I can say next, can I ask how he is, or should I just continue?] “I would like to make an appointment please.”
With my, also nice, Egyptian physio (let’s call him Physio Egyptian), it would go something like this.
“Hello, is that Physio?”
“Hi, it’s Trailing here, how are you?”
“Aaah Trailing! I’m fine, how are you? Everything good?”
“Yes thanks, I’d just like to make a new appointment.”
First name terms and personal questions such as “How are you?” are not deemed intrusive, or personal. It may not seem very professional, but it is much nicer I find. I miss Egypt and the people that were in my life when I have what feels like stunted interactions here.
But the sun’s still shining, so it’s all good!