YES, YOU CAN BE IRRESISTIBLE – IN FRENCH! (and no, it’s got nothing to do with scarves or a little black dress, although that probably won’t hurt…)
by Chené Koscielny
Are you struggling to make a good first impression in French – on a hot date, in a job interview or – my personal nightmare – making small talk at a cocktail function? Do you go blank, always seem to say exactly the wrong thing, hide in the corner or avoid all eye contact? None of these are ideal ways to make yourself more alluring, obviously.
Fact is your natural charm may simply not be enough when it comes to impressing someone in French – no offence. We could all do with a bit of help – like a French mate whispering in your ear – giving you the tools to warm the hearts of those around you.
And Voila! French teacher and opera singer Isabelle Nicolas, founder of online French school pretaparler.ch, shares her top 10 tips for being irrésistible in French in any situation.
If you want to be more comfortable in French everyday situations – Prêt à Parler offers online courses that will finally make you feel more at ease in French. Also read our review Would you like to finally be able to speak French.
SPEAK FRENCH! ‘Nothing is sexier…’
“You may think this is a joke, but most English speakers, even those with a good level of French, don’t try to speak French,” says Isabelle.
She’s right, of course – but in our defence, it’s easier said than done when every French person switches to English after you say ‘Bonjour’!
“Not to worry”, says Isabelle, “you should simply carry on!”.
“Try to speak in French as much as you can. Nothing is sexier than someone who tries to communicate in a foreign language. It shows that you are open-minded, confident, and smart, and …they’ll love your cute accent! “
I’ll have to take your word for that, Isabelle!
SHOW YOUR IMPERFECTIONS – it’s hard not to!
This is related to the first point – apparently, the French or Swiss (here I have my doubts) will love the effort, even if you make mistakes, so go ahead – they’ll love you for your imperfections. In which case I should be totally adorable by now.
BE YOURSELF – even if it’s your toddler self…
“Just because you’re trying to communicate in a different language, doesn’t mean you should change who you are”, says Isabelle.
Hhmmm… Except being myself in French, conversation-wise makes me feel like I’m about three years old again. Cute, but not much in terms of conversation!
“Don’t worry,” says Isabelle. ”You might not be able to use the same words or expressions as you would in your mother tongue, but try to stay as close as you can to who you truly are by explaining your point of view if misunderstood, and expressing your opinion on various subjects as best you can!”
BE FUNNY – even if it’s unintentional!
Make us laugh, says Isabelle.
This tends to happen unintentionally, in my experience.
Learn a few jokes or tell a funny story or anecdote as best you can.
I tend to forget the punchline in English, never mind French – but Isabelle has some suggestions.
Check this one out! …or this one! Worst case scenario, the other person will save you from yourself and teach you some really good jokes! You know what they say – cry and you cry alone, smile and the whole world smiles with you… or something like that anyway.
LISTEN… and try to nod in the right places
“If your level of French isn’t good enough to have a deep, meaningful conversation, become a great listener and ask questions instead. You’ll be impressed at how much you will get out of the conversation as most people talk too much and don’t listen as much as they should.”
I couldn’t agree more – finding anyone who is prepared to listen to anything, but their own voice in any language is incredibly rare, in my experience. It is a guaranteed way to charm the pants off anyone in any language. The challenge is to work out where to nod or chuckle if you’re really not following a conversation…
BREAKING THE ICE…
Learn a few icebreakers to start the conversation.
Isabelle’s favourites are:
“Qu’est-ce qui vous amène en Suisse / à Genève?” or Comment connaissez-vous “enter the name of the host/hostess”?, if you’re at someone else’s party.
DON’T DROP THE BALL!
Avoid those awkward silences, ruffling through your mental hard drive for elusive phrases you learned in French class. Keep the conversation flowing in a natural way by asking questions. Don’t drop the ball by only answering questions by yes or no. It might work in French New Wave movies, but we’re not going for a Jean Seaberg in “Breathless”-vibe! Elaborate and ask more questions in return!
FINDING A POLITE EXIT
Being stuck in a dead end conversation at a cocktail party for example is arguably even worse than standing alone in the corner.
If need be, know when and how to stop the conversation. A polite “C’était un plaisir de discuter avec vous! Bonne soirée!” or “Merci pour cette discussion très intéressante. À la prochaine, peut-être!” goes a long way.
DON’T SAY THIS! – not even after drinking shots
Whatever you do, don’t use clichés like “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?” It’s NOT sexy under any circumstances and in fact, really vulgar to most French speakers.
Want to be more comfortable in French everyday situations?
Prêt à Parler offers online courses that will finally make you feel more at ease in French. Read our review: Would you like to finally be able to speak French?
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JUST FOR FUN
Would you know how to say that “you fall in love easily, she is a heartbreaker or I can’t take my eyes off of you” en français? Check Prêt à Parler’s Instagram page to learn more.