Most Americans know better than to ask their friends how much money they earn or to ask how much was spent on a large ticket item like a house. It is considered uncouth for us to be so nosy. The French, on the other hand, take the subject of money to a whole new level. Simply bringing up the word “money” is considered taboo and brings chills down a French person’s spine.
The first time I was told that bringing up the word is a major faux pas, I decided to nix it from my vocabulary while in the company of a native. I was soon to learn that is easier said than done. Even though I am aware of it, I am struck by how much we Americans actually think about it.
For example, someone offered me a temporary job that would have paid a lot of money. For one reason or another, it wasn’t going to work with my schedule, so I declined the offer. I told the person that I appreciated her proposal and I certainly could have used the money (OOPS, I used it again!) but it just wasn’t going to work out. Another French person who overheard the conversation told me that most people would not ever speak to me again after saying that one sentence. Can you imagine!?