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1. A normal friend will apologize for smoking so close to you. A French friend will say, “Do you want one? Come on, I know you want one!”

2. A normal friend will send you a card for Christmas and New Year’s to wish you all the best for the holiday season and the year to come. A French friend will receive your card, love it, stick it on the fridge, but never answer back.

3. A normal friend will listen to you quietly and nod when you’re venting about someone. A French friend will get just as angry as you, or more, and will call that person names until she runs out of terrifying swear words.

4. A normal friend will get annoyed at you if you don’t keep in touch. A French friend will forget about the lack of emails and welcome you with open arms and a whole lot of skipping around when you come home after a long absence.

5. A normal friend will bring beer or wine to your dinner party. A French friend will bring the best bottles of wine he found, white and red, so you can pick what you like best, a cake from the bakery down the street, and bread (“you can always have it for breakfast tomorrow”).

6. A normal friend will invite you for a stroll in the park or along the beach. A French friend will meet you at the café with drinks already ordered.

7. A normal friend will wish that you feel better soon when you’re sick. A French friend will take advantage of your nausea to enumerate all the food that’ll make you gag: sauerkraut, lentil stew, fish soup, etc.

8. A normal friend will apologize for being late. A French friend will blame it on the metro / bus / train / car / showerhead / door lock / etc.

9. A normal friend will offer you crackers if you want a snack. A French friend will get the bread, butter, and jam out.

10. A normal friend will offer you tea or coffee after supper. A French friend will get the absinthe and the homemade schnapps out and fill up your glass before you have time to say, “Yes, please!”

11. A normal friend will organize a brilliant New Year’s Eve party and rock all night long. A French friend will do his best, but will fail miserably. French New Year’s Eve is ALWAYS a letdown.

12. A normal friend respects your privacy. A French friend will say how cute your bra looks through your shirt and peek right into it to check it out.

13. A normal friend will accept you the way you are. A French friend will tell you, “You can’t go out like that!” You’ll need to fix your hair, change your top, and shave your legs before you can even think of leaving for the evening.

14. A normal friend will rent a few newly released movies for a quiet night at her place. A French friend will take out the Gad Elmaleh DVDs you’ve seen a hundred times together and burst out laughing even before pressing play.

15. A normal friend will give you a hug and pat your back when you’re down. A French friend will squeeze the despair out of you and kiss you on the cheeks until you feel all better.