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Why Do We Need “Vous” In English Too?

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“Vous” is a formal way to talk to people in French, it basically helps putting in some degree of distance as a sign of respect. Something that we aren’t all aware of, is that it is also a sign, a way to protect ourselves from an intrusion into our own “mental space”. Indeed, when you say “vous” to someone, you don’t necessarily want to show respect but instead, you want some distant because you’re not really comfortable and actually you need to build trust first. It’s like boxing in a way, when you say “vous” you’re giving a jab to your opponent in a way where he or she doesn’t penetrate your private space. “Vous” works as a shield and English overcomes this lack by using other language technics such as using a different level of vocabulary.

Saying “vous” is essential because it preserves us from familiarities sometimes that we don’t look for. In fact, it’s good to have the choice of when we want to get closer to people and when we don’t. Most of the time, we do want to connect with people and be warm. But, sometimes, it’s preferable to keep a distance verbally with the ones to whom it is difficult to connect; maybe because we have a conflict and we need to build trust again. When a relationship is bad, distance is always good because familiarities tend to make things worse. And because it’s not always possible to have a physical distance, it is importance to maintain an emotional or mental distance, that’s what “vous” is also made for.

As a conclusion, despite our natural tendency to be either introverted or extraverted, we all need to have our own security and intimate space in order to feel comfortable with the world surrounding us.

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