Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's not all Sound of Music-esque!

I am starting to have more than just second thoughts on this whole move out of the country. I have been to Germany multiple times and have always felt like Germans have been some of the more friendly Europeans that I have encountered. One of the most popular gifts this Christmas for Deaner and myself was to buy us books about Germany. We are now the proud owners of no fewer than 7 books on every German subject known to man. Don't get me wrong, we are both very grateful to have a wealth of knowledge at our finger tips, but I am getting nervous after reading a selection from "When in Germany, Do As The Germans Do". I have only read one page from this book and thought I would share some pointers from the "Rules for Dealing with Germans" section. There seems to be only 6 small things that I should keep in mind as I venture on towards my new life abroad.

1. Remember that Germans really hate rule breakers! (excellent, I'll keep this in mind when I am tempted stray)

2. Germans and Americans do not think and act alike in social and business situations -- especially in first encounters. Get over the myth that "we're all basically alike". It sounds good, but this mind-set is counterproductive.

3. Germans tend to be blunt, frank, and--to Anglo-American eyes--tactless in certain situations. They tend to correct you when you don't want to be corrected. (great, I won't be nervous a bit!)

4. Germans aren't into "idle chatter." (note to self, do not share blogspot) They don't really care if you "have a nice day" and consider the saying a symbol of American superficiality. They don't want to talk about (a) their jobs (b) their kids or family, or (c) the weather with a stranger.

5. Germans have been known to smile, but unnecessary smiling is frowned upon. A German needs a good reason to smile. In fact, excessive smiling for most Europeans is an indication of weak mindedness. Don't overdo smiling around Germans. At heart, Germans are pessimists, and they enjoy their pessimism. Don't deprive them of that pleasure. Never try and tell a joke. It takes years to delve into the German sense of humor.

6. Learn to accept all these rules. Learn to adjust to Germans, don't expect them to adjust to you.

The endnote to these rules reads "There are a few Germans who don't fit the preceding rules, but all six of them are now living in the United States and Canada." Nice. Just makes me so excited to transplant myself to this country! My personal favorite is rule #5. I will really have to get all my excessive smiling under control! :) Oops.


Anonymous said...

What a terrific father you must have!

MRU said...

I read A this list last night and he said not to worry--some if this is not true. =) You'll be fine!

Wila (aka Ali) said...

I found you through MMM. Good luck with the wedding planning! I think you've got a great outlook on moving abroad...I'm jealous! :)