A rude person is someone who ...

Une personne impolie est quelqu'un qui ...

gets in the way and it's inconsiderate

...disregards those around him/her, with no concern for the others' opinions.

disrespects others.

does not care for other people's feelings

does not say hallo or goodbye, or is inconsiderate of others feelings.

does not take the feelings of others into account.

doesn't listen when other people talk.

forgets to say thank you.

frequently interrupts when someone else is speaking.

has no concern for other people or their feelings.

has no regard for anyone's feelings and lacks manners and general politeness.

is inconsiderate of others and thinks highly of themselves or is pessimistic.

is not considerate of other people and offends people without a care.

is not polite, who only thinks of himself, and who does not care for social etiquette.

judges and is selfish

likes to offend people and who has no sense of tact.

makes jabs at someone, does not say please and thank you, and does not treat others equally.

Prioritizes his or her needs over the greater good.

says things that hurt others' feelings.

thinks of themselves before others, interrupts others, and has no care for others' feelings.

treats other people poorly

a besoin d'apprendre les bonnes manières

a des mauvaises manières, ne se soucie pas des autres, parle fort

dérange les autres

dit des gros mots, ne dit pas bonjour et ne fait pas attention aux autres


insulte et agresse avec intention.

insulte les autres

manque de respect, ne pense pas aux autres, est insultante.

manque de respect.

n'écoute pas, ne salue pas, ne sourit pas

ne dit ni bonjour, ni merci, et mange la bouche pleine.

ne fait pas attention aux autres, ne dit pas bonjour ou merci.

ne respecte pas les autres

ne respecte pas les autres, a une mauvaise éducation, a un comportement inadapté.

ne respecte pas les autres.

ne respecte pas les autres.

ne s'inquiète pas du bien-être des autres,
ne respecte pas son entourage,
a été mal élevée

ne sait pas dire merci

ne se comporte pas correctement (dire bonjour, ne pas mettre les coudes sur la table) selon le contexte socio-culturel dans lequel il se trouve.

ne tient pas compte ou qui ignore "le" protocole ou les normes.


I think it's interesting that most of the answers were about respectfulness and not that many included the mention of "manners". Being from the South, manners are a huge part in the consideration of "rudeness".

I also think it's interesting that manners was not so emphasized in the responses. Maybe it's a more formal definition and people are focused more on what affects them directly, i.e. when people disrespect them? I also thought it was interesting that the Americans talked about being selfish and thinking of yourself first while the French didn't. 

There were many similar responses, and that's fair, considering what a rude person is to society nowadays. I did see on the French side the word gene. That word has many definitions and I was curious to know if it meant something other than being a bother.

I was excited to see what both groups had to say on this topic. Having lived in both the US and France, I've found that the two countires both place great importance on manners but have very different ways of going about it. It's pretty telling that Americans and the French tend to stereotype the other as "rude"; though we agree in general what a rude person is, we disagree on the particulars I'd say

Je trouve qu'il y a eu quelques similarités dans les réponses! Une personne impolie n'a pas de respect pour les autres, mais c'est vrai que personne n'a parlé de manières! peut être parce que si une personne ne respecte pas les autres, ça inclue que son comportement aussi est non acceptable et pas que les mots!

à Sebastian, en français "gêne" peut en effet renvoyer à "bother" mais je pense qu'il y a aussi une notion d'embarras. C'est à dire que quelqu'un peut nous "mettre dans la gêne" devant d'autres personnes, et en particuliers, une personne malpolie. Dans ce sens, il serait question donc de honte à être associé à cette personne.

Alexandria a raison je pense, et nous pourrions profiter du forum pour développer un peu plus ce que nous considérons être impoli et comparez nos réponses plus en détails.

Par exemple, le américains pensent souvent que les français sont très malpolis car ils ne laissent pas de pourboires (ou pas assez) aux serveurs des restaurants. Pourtant, il s'agit juste d'une différence culturelle. En France, les serveurs sont mieux payés, ils ne sont pas autant dépendants des pourboires donc les gens ne donnent pas automatiquement.

Avez-vous d'autres exemples sur les habitudes des français et des américains qui vous semblent impolis et qui pourraient s'expliquer par une simple différence culturelle?

@ Marine: I don't think people in the U.S. consider the French rude for not to leaving tips - in my experience, it's understood that it's a difference of culture. As for other discrepancies in manners... I remember hearing that some people in Europe find it rude or uncouth to eat while walking, where it's not really a big deal in the U.S. Is this true?

@ Amanda: I'm not sure if it's true, but if it is true that some people in Europe find it rude to eat while walking, I'm thinking it might have something to do with the speed of life in the US vs the speed of life Europe. Everything in the US seems to be more of a rush, which might be why manners weren't as emphasized because as you speed up things, little things like manners tend to fall by the wayside.

Je n'ai jamais entendu dire qu'il était impoli de manger en marchant. Et je ne suis pas certaine que la vie aux US soit plus rapide que celle d'en France (d'ailleurs quand vous dites Europe, n'oubliez pas que les différences peuvent être énormes entre la France ou un autre pays européen !).

J'ai vécu à Paris, et je peux vous dire que la vie y est stressante et que tout va très vite. Il est commun de voir les gens manger en marchant, ils profitent de leur pause déjeuner pour sortir de leurs bureaux.

Et je pense que lorsqu'on parle de respect, cela inclut les bonnes manières. Quand on respecte quelqu'un, on sait comme agir avec lui. Par exemple couper la parole, tenir la porte à quelqu'un, etc.

Pour vous, qu'est-ce que signifie avoir de bonnes manières ?

I believe that in the US having good manners means being mindful of people around you, saying "hello" or "good morning" if you see someone you know (which is something people don't do at MIT). It is also related to how you carry yourself in certain situations, that is, if you know how to behave approprietly when you are dealing with your boss, older people, etc.

Tout comme Caroline je n'ai jamais entendu dire que parler et marcher en même temps soit impoli, mais il est possible que ce soit vrai dans d'autres pays européens...

Les rencontres avec les français doivent être très éprouvantes pour les américains car il faut faire attention à bien utiliser le vouvoiement pour marquer la politesse. Alors qu'au contraire, pouvoir utiliser le pronom "you" pour tout le monde est extrêmement libérateur pour un français! 

Cela n'a rien à voir avec le sujet de la discusion mais la remarque de Marine, concernant le vouvoyement qui n'existe pas en anglais, est très intéressante. Est-ce que le vouvoyement vous a posé un problème dans l'apprentissage du français ? Pour faire la distinction lorsque vous parlez à un ami ou à une personne que vous ne connaissez pas, est-ce que vous utilisez davantage de formule de politesse ?

@Caroline: Some things that exemplify good manners to me would be saying hello, please, and thank you, but as Clarissa said, it is not as common at MIT. Manners in the US also vary by region, so in the Midwest where I'm from, everyone is pretty friendly to passerbys, but I think the East coast has a reputation for being less friendly. Other good manners are holding the door open for people, being helpful (if you see someone that is struggling with something - dropping things for example), saying thank you to bus drivers, not interrupting others, ...

@ Emilie: Learning to use the formal and informal adresses aren't a huge problem in learning French, mainly in that there are more forms of verbs to learn! It's not a totally foreign concept that people you don't know you don't talk as familiarly with, just one not so clearly enunciated. 

What are the standards for politeness at school or at work?  At MIT, some professors tell us to call them by their first name (which is difficult to get used to!) but other professors go by their full title (e.g. Professor Orlin).  At work, I have always called my boss by his first name even if he/she was 40 years older than me.

On a different note, what is cultural norm when applying for jobs?  In the United States, the full job application process typically starts with the submission of a formal cover letter with a one-page resume.  If you get an interview, you should plan on being at the interview site at least 15-minutes early.  It's normal to shake your interviewer's hand upon initial introductions and right before parting.  Then, regardless of how the interview goes, it is polite to send a prompt thank you note to all of your interviewers.  Historically, a handwritten thank you note was expected, but now e-mail has become acceptable.  Does this sound similar to the process that you go through?

I am addicted to reading "Miss Manners" columns, and have been for a long time


Some of the questions she gets are about obscure aspects of social code--strange eating utensils, different types of dress that people don't often use anymore, etc.  She also gets a lot of comments from people who say the whole concept of "manners" is outdated because some of these specific rules seem so silly.  I think these people go too far in trying to justify eliminating basic courtesy on the basis that some rules are old-fashioned.

I think being polite is offering to help people who look like they need it (or if they ask), saying please/thank-you, sending thank you notes someone gives you something, not interrupting, not eating like an animal, and using a more formal terms of address if you are unsure.  Where I grew up, people smile and say hello to strangers they pass, but I learned not to do that after moving to Boston....  In other aspects, people here seem about as polite.

In France, is there a big difference between politeness in small towns and in cities?



@Christy, I used to love reading Miss Manners in the paper! She's so curt with everyone, it's pretty funny.


Two things my American friends are always shocked about when they've visited me in France is the differences of "personal space" and waiting in line. In France, it's normal to have people stand very close to you in the metro or while waiting in line. A lot of Americans feel this is very rude and completely disrespectful of personal space. Also, the French don't seem to be as happy about waiting patiently in line as Americans are