May 6, 2010 / 7:11 PM / 9 years ago

French see themselves as champions of grumbling: poll

PARIS (Reuters) - Irritable waiters huffing in cafes. A gallic shrug in a heated debate. Street protests at every new government initiative. Many may already see France as a nation of grumblers, but a new survey shows the French agree.

Famous French Goncourt and Renaudot literary prize winners Pascal Quignard (L) and Gerard de Cortanze (R) are served champagne by a waiter as they celebrate in a Paris cafe, October 28, 2002. REUTERS/Jack Dabaghian

The poll commissioned by insurance company Maaf found that 93 percent of French people think their compatriots grumble often, although only 37 percent admit they tend to complain.

The older you are the more likely that you will be grouchy, with politicians being the biggest bugbear for sexagenarians.

“You have to grumble in life, otherwise you get trampled on,” was the main reason given by almost one in six people in the land of liberty, equality and fraternity.

Just under one third said grousing was in the French temperament.

Men were the grumpier of the two sexes, said 43 percent of respondents, with around one in five men saying they moaned to get what they wanted compared with 16 percent of women.

One in four said carping was a way of relaxing.

The survey, entitled “Are the French moaners?” polled more than 1,000 people over 18 across France and was carried out by market research firm Opinionway (

The French also see themselves as the world champions of moaning. More than 70 percent believe they outgripe the rest of the world compared with 15 percent of Italians, 4 percent of Americans and 3 percent of Britons.

Banks, insurance firms and other administrative centres were the main target of gripes among those polled.

And the biggest cause of grumbles? Thirty-one percent of women said their partners gave them the most grief — ahead of their children, colleagues and bosses.

Editing by Sophie Taylor and Elizabeth Fullerton

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