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While I usually don’t subscribe to most stereotypes, there are always a few that are true enough to merit their labels. Playful—but always polite—conversations can be had between friends, between strangers, and even between married men and women with people who aren’t their significant other (gasp! In other cultures this may raise a few eyebrows, and tempers, but in France it’s just a conversation, there’s no strings attached. It’s more complicated than that, but that’s the most concise way I can think to put it.

While in the US and the UK “dating” is seen as a series of meetings that adheres to certain rules and protocols—waiting the proper amount of time before calling someone, arranging a date, wait appropriate number of dates before initiating appropriate amount of intimacy—before the time comes to have the boyfriend/girlfriend talk, the French tend to have a more laid back attitude.

Unless you’re in a one night kind of relationship, this automatically translates to exclusivity.

Whether or not either of you abides by that is another argument entirely.

And making the effort to put it into different words just makes the problem seem much less important.

A couple of nights ago, I was sitting in a restaurant with a mélange of expats and some poor Frenchies who had the misfortune of winding up in my presence. If French people stopped being so damn lazy and invested half of the time they spend complaining into actually doing something, magical things would happen.

If something makes you uncomfortable or you aren’t really sure where you stand, speak up.

French men are known for their smoldering good looks and great romance, and in Paris it’s easy to fall in love 10 times a day: he might be sipping a café noir in St.-Germain-des-Prés, ambling through the Jardin des Plantes or reading Sartre on the metro.

This stems back to the unparalleled pride that the French have about their country.

Whether you’re currently seeing a Frenchman, or have one in mind (you sly girl), you may start finding you have more and more miscommunications as time goes on.

Even if your man comes from a country associated with romance and love, that doesn’t mean he loves learning about other dating cultures.

Expect next-day contact and a date within the first 48 hours.

By the time a British man would have taken you out for dinner, you could have been on a minibreak with your French boyfriend, and met his mother.

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