A French woman and personal life coach's outlook on self-confidence, communication, and relationships. How to gain and manage them to get what and who you deserve.

Dating websites” in French is translated as “sites de rencontres”, literally “meeting websites”. We wouldn’t talk about “dates” here, but about “meetings”.
It may sound like a detail. Though it reveals much more than just a difference of language ; it shows a difference of mentality.

Different words, different implications, different influences on our approach of the other gender.

rendez-vous

French surf on “meeting websites”. When they make contacts, their primary idea is to exchange with interesting people, get to know them a little and see if they have enough in common to expect to spend a fun time together. If so, then meet up and take it from there. There are seldom unrealistic expectations on either side. No pressure.

The idea of finding the “right person” is not our #1 priority at all. We actually don’t even think of it. That dream of “instant chemistry” and “love at first sight” can entertain us in movies ; we don’t systematically hope, even less expect it to come true in real life. We don’t go to “dates” with the secret expectation of meeting our “soul mate”. We certainly expect no miracle to happen over a quick cup of coffee or even a dinner.
It may not sound romantic, but the French are realistic people. :)

I’ve found out it was somewhat different in the USA. I’ve found out women, as well as men actually, when they go on a date, often hold higher expectations than just “meeting someone nice and friendly”. This, in my opinion, not only puts an undue pressure on themselves, but also a heavy load on the date.
Such pressure shatters the self-confidence. It becomes difficult to act naturally. Difficult, under those circumstances, to look one’s best. Too many projections and questions going on… This often leads to the mistake of focusing more on themselves than on the other person. They lose focus of what the real deal should be : to meet another human being.
It is harder to be rejected by someone you expected a lot from than by just anybody. And this, should the person suit you or not. It leads you to question your power of attraction.
Therefore, many either daren’t even go for it.
Many others don’t fail to be disappointed when they meet somebody they’ve started to date on-line. Of course, nobody, ever, can be up to a fantasy! Therefore they would soon get discouraged and throw the towel off. :(
The higher the expectations, the bigger the disappointment.

The realistic French know that. So they take and make meeting via websites easier and lighter. We would go to the “date” we actually don’t call “date” in a relaxed state of mind. No big expectations and certainly not the one to meet our life partner.
As long as the other person is polite and educated enough, a good and fun conversationalist, we’re quite able to enjoy the meeting, even though the chemistry is not there.
We may never see each other again, set no other meeting, even less fall in love, but this is not a pre-requirement. Therefore we seldom feel we’ve wasted our time and get discouraged because we’ve not met our “soul mate” or “other half” or “the one”. We have enjoyed a nice evening and that’s fine. :)
Because we seek to meet another human being first.

I’ve met people on-line for decades and never, ever, experienced any disappointment. People were always who they said they were and very close to whom I expected to meet. I can perfectly meet people who don’t seem to meet my requirements as far as romantic relationships go, only because I find their personality interesting, fun, unusual, even sometimes fascinating. So what ? Life and relationships don’t boil down to finding Mr or Mrs Right, do they ? Life can be full of surprises and you may meet the right person when you expect it the least. Online profiles seldom gives you a 100% accurate idea of who the person really is, and certainly doesn’t tell ALL of him (her).

A quick poll among my friends shows I am not an exception. :)
They all clearly stated they’d never been to a “meet up” with anything else in mind than curiosity, openness and the desire to get to know somebody a priori interesting.
Sure, men often expect to get at least a one night stand, yet not all of them. Should things happen not to end this way, there is no hard feelings because, after all, no promise has been made and no definite expectation set. If some sort of positive connection takes place, chances are you can become friends or at least keep in touch. At any rate make the most of the meeting and turn it into something positive for both. And if it doesn’t work out for some reason, no drama.

Just a little switch in terminology can bring quite a different outcome. How does it sound ? :)

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Comments on: "Americans date, French meet: one word, a thousand implications" (2)

  1. That’s very true. I have always applied those rules, and have (almost) never been disappointed.
    Actually, some of the guys I met on those websites have become friends (and are now happy with another girl ;), and once I even ended up dating one of those guy’s best friends (who was not on any dating website).

    • Dot Rose said:

      Thanks Eve. Good point ! :) Those men you date have friends, best friends and buddies who are as many potential matches for you. ;)

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