Are the French More Negative?

As a French native, I have the feeling that we - French people - are more negative. But is it really true? We commonly use negative words even to talk about something we actually find great. If someone in France tells you your product is 'pas mal', meaning word for word 'not bad', it actually means he or she loves it. I read this funny post explaining how it can be confusing for non-native French speakers. This article from the Financial Times, What Makes the French So Unhappy?, seems to confirm my thought.

We work on a lot of international research projects and cultural differences can be a challenge: scales are used differently from one country to another, translations can lead to misinterpretation…

We know we’re lucky to have a large diversity among our researchers: Chinese, Brazilian, French, Irish, Russian, Bulgarian… And that’s just in our U.S. office!