Sunday, April 10, 2011

Europeans Are Friendlier Than Americans

When I was in Germany, Suisse, and France last month, I noticed a remarkable propensity for people to be friendly in public.  The number of "Guten Tag" and "Bon jour" greetings I got and returned were innumerable.  Total strangers in parks, museums, car parks, air ports, hotel lobbies, elevators, hall ways, factories, offices, indoors, outdoors...  all of them speaking a greeting, exchanging a smile or nod, and in a business setting a hand shake or "kiss" in France if they knew you well and you were of the opposite sex. 

Contrast this to Pennsylvania, Michigan, South Carolina, and Georgia, where I was last week, as I tried to maintain the same congenial, affable, welcoming demeanor, and instead of reciprocated "hello" or "good day" people stared at the floor, or grunted, or pretended not to hear often times, in the same settings.   Europeans are just friendlier than Americans in general I think.  Or at least, that's what I've observed recently.


  1. I am going to have to agree with you. Our misc trips over there have shown that being the world's policeman has resulted in a level of arrogance and rudeness that is disappointing. We had a wonderful experience in Strasbourg esp. after showing we were willing to use their languages. We were even invited to join a dinner party upstairs at the local bar when we went native for the food and drink. I nodded and smiled a lot when I could not keep up with the local drunk dialect of French or German (both?) but no one cared. Hans and Pierre, really named that, even got us a tour of the cathedral the next day. I think part of it was we enjoyed being in France, and the locals enjoyed our efforts to be visitors.

  2. World Police... one hilarious movie by the South Park guys... but sadly, a precedent for hubris broadcast globally.


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