Here is a helpful tip, if you are ever fortunate to find yourself in the beautiful country that is France: always say “Bonjour!” when you greet someone. (Note: This means “good morning” or a general “good day.” Granted, you may change it to “Bon apr├Ęs-midi” if you are greeting them in the afternoon and “Bonsoir,” if it is in the evening, but the point is this: Salutations will get you everywhere.

I believe, at least in some parts of the United States, people have gotten away with saying “Good morning,” etc., when they see someone. If you are meeting up with your friends or family, it almost always is understood. While I do know some people who do stop and say a greeting before starting to talk, by far, I see people jump right back into the conversation they last were enjoying with one another without even a “hello.”

Now that you are reading this blog, see what is your natural response when you meet someone for the first time, vs. seeing a close friend or family member. I have a second challenge to see if the reception is warmer if you say a formal greeting first. Please respond to this blog with the results of your experiment!

In France, it is very important for you to state this greeting upon entering an establishment. If there is a crowd of people, you can wait to say it until it is your turn. Please do not jump into ordering what you would like–always stop and take a second to greet first. This may seem awkward or “old school” for some, but for the French, this your way of taking a moment to recognize that you are about to communicate with a human being, not a robot. It is a courtesy.

If you forget to do it, they may make it a point to say “bonjour” until you repeat it back or refuse to help you. It is proper etiquette to begin a conversation with this term–and now you can see why.

I know some people of Latino culture that are offended if they say “Good morning,” and you either are too distracted to respond or just forgetful.

Who is in the right and who is in the wrong? I believe it is in your own background to be the judge of that, but at the very least, we can be respectful of one another. A quick and easy way to do that is with a simple, “Bonjour!”

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