I'm in Germany this week, but I finally feel like I'm adapting to French friendship and dating. Last weekend was the best weekend that I've had since I arrived in France - it was the perfect mix of fun with a new person, plus great food (see below) and great conversations with existing friends.
There are some serious adjustments that you have to make when you come to France though. For example, French men will convey a level of emotion that is just not common with American men . . . unless you're seriously dating or have been friends for a very, very long time. They will say things like, "You should have known that I will take care of you. I will always take care of you if I can," or "I don't want to have distance between us" or they will tell you that they care about you and they just want to take care of you until you feel better. And it's all completely platonic.
They will, however, accuse other French men of liking you . . . for the exact same behavior that they themselves exhibit.😉
At first, this will drive you slightly crazy as an American. You'll keep reminding yourself that French men are normally VERY obvious if they like you (from what your female French friend told you) and these odd displays of sentiment don't necessarily mean what they would in the US. You'll occasionally feel slightly put off, like the relationship is bordering on "too much" and wonder if you're going to have to end the friendship. At some point though, they've stayed safely in the "friend zone" long enough that it just becomes one of those endearing traits of your French male friends.
You'll also learn that French men loathe it when a woman in their life appears to be mad at them or upset with them. Rather than high-tailing it away from a woman who shows emotion, it seems to launch them into a full campaign to win you back over. And, for me at least, it's virtually impossible to stay mad at, or upset with, somebody who will not stop acting silly, giving me big puppy dog eyes and calling me "Broooouuuuuk" until they finally get me to smile at them. I think the only possible way to stay mad at a Frenchman is to refuse to speak to him, look at him or even be in the same room with him. Otherwise, he will use literally everything that he knows about you to find SOME way to convince you to forgive him.
As for female French friends, my first one moved out of the area for a job, although I plan to visit her in her new town now! I have a couple of co-workers who may become friends, but people seem to be very cautious here about friendships with colleagues. Other than that, I've found it more challenging to get women to exchange conversation or to agree to repeated plans. I did recently find a woman looking to learn better English though, so I've been enjoying our conversations.
This week went exceptionally well for work and I'm visiting friends this weekend, so I'll be back with a German edition next week!