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Thread: Are Germans Generally Rude and Uncommunicative Compared to Other Nations?

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    American_in_GER
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    Are Germans Generally Rude and Uncommunicative Compared to Other Nations?

    I'm an American who recently had to relocate to Germany due to my job and I was quite shocked at the level of cultural difference. Now this isn't my first trip to a European country, I've also heard about the rude Dutch stereotype, but I must say I haven't experienced the same level of rudeness in the Netherlands. Am I simply misunderstanding the German people, are there different standards in Germany as to what is considered friendly and polite?

    P.S. I don't mean to insult the Germans, this is just my first impression as a foreigner. I'd like to understand them better, since I am going to be living amongst them for a while.

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    Americans are generally more outgoing and more revealing in their lives. It has been my experience that Germans are very friendly, but they don't come off as overly cheerful and fake as Americans do. While Americans seem friendly and outgoing it is often not genuine and Americans are more worried about offending and are indirect.
    Germans do tend to be somewhat blunt, but not all of them. There are some cultural rules that apply such as you don't generally open a conversation on the train with a stranger. I also noticed a habit of mine that was considered odd...I hold doors open for women and I got some very strange looks for in Germany.
    Life is like a fire hydrant- sometimes you help people put out their fires, but most of the time you just get peed on by every dog in the neighborhood.

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    Are Germans Generally Rude and Uncommunicative Compared to Other Nations?
    ... treading on eggshells, but here goes ...

    I wouldn't call it 'rudeness' but my impression has always been that it's more difficult to get to know them. Once you've done so they make loyal friends but you do sometimes have to be patient until they accept you

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    Quote Originally Posted by Godwinson View Post
    ... treading on eggshells, but here goes ...

    I wouldn't call it 'rudeness' but my impression has always been that it's more difficult to get to know them. Once you've done so they make loyal friends but you do sometimes have to be patient until they accept you
    One thing i heard says it best. The difference between friends and acquaintances is about twenty years. I've noticed I tend to be blunt and direct myself.

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    They are not as forward or fake as Americans are. Whether or not most Americans realize how their trite their greeting sounds, I don't know. I know they really don't give a crap how you are when they ask. It's almost automatic as it spills out of their mouths.

    I much prefer the German way.

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    In my view, it's usually a combination between cultural clashes (American vs. European/German) and different definitions of what is understood by rude. For example, not engaging in small talk with strangers or not smiling at strangers might be considered rude from an American perspective. But in Europe, these things aren't a "must" of the social etiquette. Another point is honesty/frankness. "False niceties" are also not always part of the social etiquette, so if for example you ask someone if a type of clothing flatters you, you'll get a honest opinion. But that's not because of rudeness, most people who are honest say the opinion politely and constructively.

    As an American in Germany, some educative sources could be the experiences of other expats in the country. For example, the blog German Way, was written by such an expat. They've also an article on this topic of "rudeness". I post the more important parts which point on cultural differences, for the full text follow this link: How to tell when Germans are really being rude versus just being German

    Show Some Respect!

    One rule of life is that we usually get treated the way we treat others. English-speakers are often guilty of assuming that everyone speaks English (or should), even in Germany, France or any foreign location. Most expats know they should learn the local language, but even when you’re just a tourist, it is common courtesy (not rude!) to learn at least some key phrases in the language of the country you’re visiting. Germans or French people understandably get irritated when they encounter a loutish Brit or American who makes no attempt whatsoever to learn to say please, thank you, or anything else in the native tongue. No one expects you to expound at great length in the national language, but you can at least show some respect by learning some key phrases that allow you to be more polite – and less irritating. You may not realize it when you have become the “ugly American” or “ugly Briton” – but you increase your “ugly” chances by not making any effort to learn the local lingo. If you are experiencing rude behavior in a foreign culture, ask yourself if it might be the other way around. Does your behavior seem rude to the natives?

    Unnecessary Smiling

    Europeans, especially northern Europeans (not just Germans), only smile when they want to. Smiling at some stranger you have never met before is considered foolish. Americans who smile at everyone on the street can seem, well, a bit weak in the head. (Recall the scene in Crocodile Dundee where the title figure is walking down the streets of Manhattan, tipping his hat and saying “G’day” to everyone he passes.) The problem for Americans is that they often mistake a European non-smile for rudeness, when it’s just a neutral facial expression, indicating neither joy nor sorrow, neither anger nor approval. Just normal.

    German Frankness

    If you really want to hear the truth, ask a German. If you ask an American, “Does this shirt/dress look good on me?” you’ll usually get a polite reply, even if the person thinks it’s the ugliest thing he/she has ever seen. Ask a German the same question and you’ll get an honest, blunt opinion – positive or negative. Germans tend to be direct and to the point. They consider small talk and over-politeness a waste of time. Americans often mistake German frankness for rudeness. Some people use the-coconut-versus-the-peach metaphor to describe this difference (and not just for Germans and Americans). A coconut is tough on the outside, but soft with sweet milk inside. A peach is just the opposite: soft on the outside, with a tough pit in the center. Germans are coconuts, with a hard exterior that’s tough to crack. Americans are peaches, easy to get to know, but with a hard interior. As one consultant puts it: “When peaches and coconuts meet, misunderstanding is common. Peaches can see coconuts as cold and difficult to get to know, because they don’t engage much in social conversation. On the other hand, coconuts can see peaches as too friendly, superficial and even impolite because they ask too many personal questions.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Herr Rentz View Post

    I much prefer the German way.
    +1

    As I have lived among of Finns...here "this rudeness" have risen totally new level (no stupid/useless/meanless small talks at all & mind your own business!). And I like that millions times more than super talkative southern Europeans (or Americans?). Those people feels like fakes, not serious & sometimes even clowns!

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    I was originally going to steer clear of replying to the thread, until I saw the haughtiness on display in the quote by Sieben, but not what she herself wrote.

    Quote Originally Posted by Siebenbürgerin View Post
    In my view, it's usually a combination between cultural clashes (American vs. European/German) and different definitions of what is understood by rude. For example, not engaging in small talk with strangers or not smiling at strangers might be considered rude from an American perspective. But in Europe, these things aren't a "must" of the social etiquette. Another point is honesty/frankness. "False niceties" are also not always part of the social etiquette, so if for example you ask someone if a type of clothing flatters you, you'll get a honest opinion. But that's not because of rudeness, most people who are honest say the opinion politely and constructively.

    As an American in Germany, some educative sources could be the experiences of other expats in the country. For example, the blog German Way, was written by such an expat. They've also an article on this topic of "rudeness". I post the more important parts which point on cultural differences, for the full text follow this link: How to tell when Germans are really being rude versus just being German
    I don't care how Eurosnobs with a long history of ruling over the English Folk in Britain and America feel about how they are affronted by casual and open communication. How dare Saxon peasantry address our liege lords with such liberty? Don't we know our place? Why should they respond favourably to our upright and rebellious nature? The truth is, Britons and Americans are considered bottom of the totem pole among French and Germans, who all look at themselves as aristocrats compared to us "simpletons". The overly sophisticated fops have as little interest in Anglophones as they value our money for their overpriced goods and services. That's what Brexit and Remain are about!

    For myself, I am taciturn in professional situations and prefer attention to detail, over chattiness. I've been criticised for not being more gregarious, but I pick and choose who I deem worthy of my time. I'd rather be quiet and in my own thoughts, than constantly talking. I was tired of school-aged dramas and social goose-stepping. That's one reason why I switched jobs from inside my facility, to become a full time driver and do night drops, removing unnecessary speech from the equation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Finnish Swede View Post
    +1

    As I have lived among of Finns...here "this rudeness" have risen totally new level (no stupid/useless/meanless small talks at all & mind your own business!). And I like that millions times more than super talkative southern Europeans (or Americans?). Those people feels like fakes, not serious & sometimes even clowns!
    How many Americans do you know? You must be turned off by Italians, who, unfortunately, have taken over NYC from my Dutch relatives. Mafia types aren't thought highly of by Germanic folks like Eliot Ness, one of my heroes.

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    It depends on where you are .

    Northern Germans are more reserved and emotionally cooler ,
    than Southern Germans or people in the Rhineland ( Cologne ) .


    The overall stress to survive our darwinistic times and the need
    to feel the correct wave in economy while huge parts of
    manufacturing were either sold out to East Asia , shut down completely
    or replaced by automatizartion and now the refugee flood after the floodings
    by Russian Germans and Eastern Europeans may make people behave more straight
    and not-nice .

    You cannot be sure if you meat a German or Russian German .
    Donald Trump is being mobbed by the German press .
    The Left has around 45% of votes still added all three main Left parties .
    In the East of Germany the amount of radical Right and Left views is much
    larger , than in the West of Germany .


    In my opinion , it depends on how you as an US-American act .

    Donald Trump for example is probably a Red Flag , and in our current
    masochistic guilt-culture it may be advisable to lie :

    Excuse me , I am an US-American , could you show me the way ?
    Excuse me , I am American , and I hate Trump . Could you please show me the way ?
    Mk 10:18 What do you call me a good master, no-one is good .

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    The Dutch can definitely be rude, almost aggressively, but I don't mean to stereotype them. From my experience with Germans, it is just that they are quite concerned with doing things by the rules and customs, and they are less tolerant of small infringements than Englishmen would be.

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