When I first started thinking about moving back to France, I was worrying about how I was going to be able to handle the French. I believed that they were complaining a lot, always seeing the glass half empty, and way too often focusing on the negative. I talked to a friend of mine who was also French and he pretty much told me that I was the one who was being negative, that French people really did not complain THAT much and that I needed to be more optimistic. I took the conversation to heart, thinking that maybe I was a bit of a whiner myself and that if I focused on the positive, things would be just fine… Well, I only wish I could tell you that it worked out just fine but the truth is that the French do love to complain… a whole LOT… about the government, about the health system, their boss, their salaries, retirement, public transportation, neighbors, cars, bikes, Charlie, etc.
It’s exhausting… And very toxic!
It made me realise that in the US, I had ended up surrounded with people who were quite optimistic about life and that in some ways, I was part of a sweet and kind little community. At first, I was able to just ignore it… I believe that you simply cannot like everybody and that sometimes, you just need to stay away from the ones who bring you stress and negativity. But what do you do when there is so much of it everywhere? When you get together with people, the first story they will share will often be about a recent bad experience or about something going wrong. And these days, it is just too much for me to handle… I just want to share funny stories, laughter and talk about recent or upcoming adventures. I want inspiring, and sweet stories. And that does not mean that I am not willing to share with a friend going through dark times, but if all you do is express discontent about your job, your partner and life in general without ever considering taking actions or making a change, chances are I am going to be very busy over the next couple of weeks and not have time to hang out with you. Because sometimes, you just need to protect yourself and set up boundaries for your own well-being.