Thursday, 2 July 2009

Warm and cold people

And in distinguishing French people into types or groups within their nation, the only classification that I find satisfactory is between the warm and the cold. Warm people are those with whom I feel I have established human contact and with whom I can share emotions; cold people are those who hide behind masks and whom I do not feel I have really met. The distinction is partly subjective, and partly the result of barriers that humans, for one reason or another, feel it necessary to place between themselves. I like a nation when I have met more warm than cold people. I do not have to agree with them, nor to share their tastes, to find people warm; and a person who appears to be cold sitting across a desk may turn out very different on holiday. These barriers of incomprehension seem to me to be more important than national frontiers or party conflicts.
Theodore Zeldin: The French

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