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Old 12-30-2013, 05:44 AM
 
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My experience with Germans in recent years comes from living in Portugal and Cyprus where there are large numbers of English and German expatriates. I have found the Germans to be open, direct and friendly. Most of my friends and acquaintances are German at this point.

 
Old 12-30-2013, 08:05 AM
 
Location: West Coast of Europe
21,197 posts, read 19,212,676 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmptrwlt View Post
I saw a stressed security guard at Düsseldorf Airport last year. He was yelling at me and some other passengers. I thought to myself: Germans should never yell (WW2 movie flashback ).
What an odd thought. Unlike Americans or Brits, Germans today don't give a crap about all that ancient WWII stuff. When they feel like it, they will yell just like any other people, why on earth wouldn't they?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Wow, not me - what I noticed is the eagerness for Germans to practice speaking English. Whenever I try to speak German and they realize that English is my first language, they immediately switch gears and begin talking in English - many seem to take great pride in their ability to speak English pretty fluently. It's a "win win" situation - LOL!
I don't think it is pride, but simply efficiency. Germans don't like to do things in vain, so when they have the opportunity to speak English or French, they feel happy because they did not completely waste the time they spent studying foreign languages at high school. That's also the reason why I am here. I might as well be on a German board, but that would be boring, even if the topics were the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pigeonhole View Post
Yes! My father tried speaking German several years back to some locals and they literally laughed in his face with his poor pronunciation!

I had a similar situation once, although I have a diploma "Deutsch als Fremsprache" from the Goethe institute, my pronunciation when tired may betray I'm not German, a few times some people rolled their eyes listening to me and said to those around(quite rude in my book) "what is he blabbering, I don't understand a word."
Sorry, but maybe your German is not nearly as good as you think it is, maybe it even sounds funny when you speak German. I know Indians who get such a diploma from the Goethe Institute there, and then work as translators The result is usually an insult to the German language...
 
Old 12-30-2013, 08:09 AM
 
2,907 posts, read 3,025,247 times
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My old German friend has a saying " You can always tell a German, but not much ".
 
Old 12-30-2013, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Texas
43,403 posts, read 52,393,689 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyjafjallajokull View Post
Do you think the fact I am dark skinned, with a short and slight stature, had something to do with it?
It might.
I spent a summer there and was fascinated by the behavior.
Not helping old lady open a door when she's laden with groceries.
Not talking to me unless it was to tell me I was doing something wrong (crossing at the wrong part of the street, etc) and then staring at me the rest of the time because I was the only brown person in town.
No smiles or chitchat while conducting commerce.

Germans I have met in the U.S., however, have been very nice.
 
Old 12-30-2013, 08:12 AM
 
Location: West Coast of Europe
21,197 posts, read 19,212,676 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buffyfan View Post
Yes! My father tried speaking German several years back to some locals and they literally laughed in his face with his poor pronunciation!

We had an incident with a cab driver who yelled at us because his van couldn't fit our party of 5 into his vehicle. We just stared in bewilderment at this type of customer service.
Germans usually have a different approach to work. Many of them hate their jobs, especially in the service sector. The attitude that the customer is king etc. is very rare in Germany. Sucking up to customers and clients just in order to earn money is not the German way.
Germans tend to feel superior to others (sorry to say this, but I have noticed that on many occasions, even if they try to hide it), so they are not overly interested in foreigners. Basically, they just want their money, but not be bothered otherwise by those irritating strangers.
 
Old 12-30-2013, 08:17 AM
 
Location: West Coast of Europe
21,197 posts, read 19,212,676 times
Reputation: 8438
Quote:
Originally Posted by stan4 View Post
It might.
I spent a summer there and was fascinated by the behavior.
Not helping old lady open a door when she's laden with groceries.
Not talking to me unless it was to tell me I was doing something wrong (crossing at the wrong part of the street, etc) and then staring at me the rest of the time because I was the only brown person in town.
No smiles or chitchat while conducting commerce.

Germans I have met in the U.S., however, have been very nice.
There is indeed a lot of suspicion towards people not looking European, or even southern Europeans. Even if they try not to be, many Germans (but also French, Brits and others) are a bit xenophobic, always wondering what those aliens are up to in Germany (France, Britain, etc.). There is that widespread belief that colored people are usually a burden to society, that seems to be the default attitude...
When Germans go to the US, they know they will be faced with lots of minorities, so they behave differently, they know they are just guests, unlike those minorities.
 
Old 12-30-2013, 08:46 AM
 
Location: North Central S.A.
1,221 posts, read 2,318,156 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FBF View Post
I prefer German bluntness over British snobbery and fake politeness.

Sad, but true.
To each their own. I was happy to receive decent customer service at Heathrow airport on our way back from Germany, even if it was fake!
 
Old 12-30-2013, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,300 posts, read 35,841,586 times
Reputation: 62649
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buffyfan View Post
To each their own. I was happy to receive decent customer service at Heathrow airport on our way back from Germany, even if it was fake!
Yeah, true dat.

What's with this idea of "fake politeness" anyway? ALL polite behavior towards complete strangers is in a sense "fake" - in the sense that we have absolutely zero actual affection toward a total stranger, and really, if we're honest, only "care" about their happiness in the most vague and general sense of the concept.

I don't care WHAT total strangers are thinking about me, or if they care about me in the least - all I want is basic courtesy and a bit of warmth is nice - but I don't even expect that. Just be courteous.

I know that when someone asks, "So - how are you today?" they don't REALLY CARE what sort of day I'm actually having. I don't consider that "fake." What's the alternative - stony silence? Or "I don't really care about how your day is going - just give me 37 Euros for that cup of coffee and that slice of cake and get out of here."

Nyahhh, I prefer "fake politeness."
 
Old 12-30-2013, 09:29 AM
 
Location: West Coast of Europe
21,197 posts, read 19,212,676 times
Reputation: 8438
I don't think it is the same everywhere. In some cultures friendliness is much more genuine than in others, where it is mere etiquette, basically. Having lived in various countries and places, I do sense that difference.

Actually, even tough it sounds contradictory at first, I see it the other way round: friendliness and curiosity are the default in modern humans, who, at least in Europe, have nothing to fear, but education, customs and etiquette prevent that natural friendliness from surfacing in some cultures. I am the perfect example: I am an utterly friendly and childlike person, but having grown up in Germany it is difficult for me to show that friendliness. Even after years abroad I usually withdraw into my shell when confronted with social situations that I can't handle, which in turn might be considered unfriendly and cold by others. Also, having grown up in a culture where everything should be perfect and running smoothly like an engine, makes it difficult for me to accept human errors. So sometimes I get angry at people's mistakes, while locals here have a much more forgiving attitude as they are used to things not working properly.
 
Old 12-30-2013, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
9,781 posts, read 16,159,041 times
Reputation: 2833
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuling View Post
Germans usually have a different approach to work. Many of them hate their jobs, especially in the service sector. The attitude that the customer is king etc. is very rare in Germany. Sucking up to customers and clients just in order to earn money is not the German way.
Germans tend to feel superior to others (sorry to say this, but I have noticed that on many occasions, even if they try to hide it), so they are not overly interested in foreigners. Basically, they just want their money, but not be bothered otherwise by those irritating strangers.
It's funny since so many young Germans and older ones like to travel abroad. A lot must be interested in other peoples.
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