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SW France Life Concerns

Katie Gardner answers your questions about a lack of confidence, and road rage.   Katie  is a fully qualified CBT Counsellor and 11-year expat based on the border of 47/24.  She is here to answer your questions.

Lorraine M

How can I find more confidence to open my mouth and actually speak French?  I know lots of words but when I try and put them together my head gets in a spin, my stress levels soar and I fluff the sentence or sometimes can’t even speak at all.

Hello Lorraine

Yes, not easy is it?  My husband used to say that speaking French is 30% vocabulary and 70% confidence!  It might be helpful if you could identify the cause of your fear.  You may be afraid of not being understood or of saying something embarrassing or being laughed at.  It’s important to realise that the French (sweeping generalisation coming up) usually are just thankful if you make a stab at their language and, although there may be the odd smirk, they are helpful and appreciative.  One of the best known learning hacks is to practice the various connectors and fillers (such as by the way, of course, etc).  They help language fluency and buy you a little time to think!  Listening to French radio or CDs and watching French sub-titled movies will all be helpful.  Also, speak to yourself to become used to it, or enlist the help of another learner and speak only French for short periods.  Your confidence will build.  It just takes a while, be patient with yourself.


confidence and road rage

Speaking French with friends builds confidence

Geoffrey B

My road rage over cars that don’t indicate on roundabouts is becoming in danger of boiling over, and don’t even get me started about not stopping at road junctions and just pulling out from the right!   My wife is threatening to stay at home.  What can I do about it?

Hello Geoffrey

My question to you would be is this affliction a larger symptom of a general anger problem?  Or are you usually a mild-mannered person who sees red when behind the wheel?  I think some soul-searching is required.   If it’s the former, ask yourself how your behaviour is coming across and what are you actually achieving?  Road rage, and especially those acts which lead to confrontations, can have significant consequences including being cited by the police, arrested for reckless driving, losing your licence, losing or doubling your insurance, vehicle damage, being sued, or even injuring or killing someone.  The minor consequences are that you continue to let one isolated event on the road ruin your whole day – or that of your wife’s.  And don’t discount the not so insignificant matter of embarrassing your passengers as you act like a cursing, raving lunatic. Will your behaviour change the behaviour of the other driver?  No.  The only person whose behaviour you have control over is yours.


confidence and road rage

Don't let road rage ruin your day, or your life

First published in the September/October 2019 issue of The Local Buzz

Images: Katie Gardner and Shutterstock

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