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Pseudo-Professionalism: Too strong and too weak at the same time

Critiquing a colleague's HR reply after I did a phonescreen.

This is what he wrote -

Dear [candidate],

Sebastian Marshall enjoyed speaking with you today. We'd like to have you come into the office for a follow up discussion. Please confirm which time on Monday the 5th works best for you:

2 PM

C'est vous ou tu ? (English post)

On Lost in translation

Well, French is such a nice, polite and formal language, that I feel pretty bad because I don't speak it properly. And, I mean, I can be seen as a very rude person just because I get "lost in translation".

When I first learned English, it was really hard to change from my own language the levels of politeness and formality to the English ones... and now, it seems really hard once again, but this time because I have to come back to the formal rules. I don't mean English is not polite/formal, it's just that the "rules of politeness" are different.

In French, as in Spanish, it exists two ways (I would even say three) to talk to someone. If you don't know it, if you are talking with an elder person, if you are talking with your professors, etc. one must talk in a pretty formal way: vous (fr) / usted (es). Even the way you say "hello" changes and the rules, in French at least, are very strict. Instead, if you are talking to someone you know, someone of your age, someone who has allow you to "tutoyer" (fr) / "tutear" (es) them, etc... you say: tu (fr) / tú (es) (the third for me it's the way you chat with your friends). All this is summarized to one single word in English: "you".

Well, you mess things up. You should speak to your professors as "vous" and say "bonjour"... and not say "salut !" ... So, I just mess up everything. I say "vous" to everyone, so my brain doesn't screw things when I talk to elder people. However, if someone talks to me when my brain is in autopilot, I would say "salut, ca va ?" ... And, strict rules would make me look as someone impolite. I'm not, I'm just lost.

Je suis desolée si je vous ai dit "salut !" instead of "Bonjour monsieur/madame".

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