• Stefan Soso

    posted by  in Germany forum 

    It´s quite funny to read about the impressions people around have of germans. I think german men are very romantic and so scared of emotions (male after all) that they kind of forgot.There´s a saying here that loosely translated comes down to: "To have more in the shop than in the window." . German men are not very big in exagerating. It´s really like one of the earlier Posters said, it´s like german men only say things a lie-detector could check afterwards. And you can be sure that their statements will hold.
    Maybe this is the reason why it might be a bit difficult to get to know germans and compliments tend to be on the rare side. It can be very confusing living in germany.
    We (germans) are today brought up with strong humanitarian ideals. Our education takes a lot of references to the antique period and open discussion practiced in ancient greece and rome. Freedom of speech is regarded highly but although frowned upon. Our grandparents have experienced the 2nd world war and in those times differing opinions could be very harmfull. And this is the way we were brought up. Today we have a lot of memorials keeping the memory of he holocaust but I think even today it is hard for germans to think about what happened. Even if our generation wasn´t part of that scheme. If you grow up knowing what people are able to do it becomes a second nature to secondguess yourself. And since you would like to get life right for yourself you just don´t mess around.
    Because you know that your actions have consequences.
    And this might be why we might not seem overly openminded.
    And thus the easiest way to deal with german people:
    Talk to them. Having been pretty much a loner myself it took me a while to figure that german people just wait to get contacted. If you wait for an approach you´re lost. Saying is that the mentality in germany depends pretty much on the location. While people in cologne are supposed to be more superficial and easy to talk to Franconians in the Nuremberg-Area tend to seem pretty secluded. When I went to a bar after coming to Nuremberg I thought somebody had did until the owner of the bar reassured me that it was always like this. Unfortunatley you just don´t have to give people a chance in germany, sometimes it seems you have to hammer it in.
    And now the fun part.If you established contact ;-) it is not likely that this contact will cease. Although society in germany tends to be more superficial now than 20years ago there remains one fact: Even the most evil ;-) german person will listen if you have a problem. He or she might not react but has listened and understood.
    It´s a bit like in japanese culture where keeping the face is very important - in germany it´s "What will my neighbours think?".
    And now the dangerous part: We germans tend to be easily intimidated(history etc.). And we are used to cary heavy shit(histoty etc.). So how do we deal with it. Basically either the american way - too complicated, let´s drop it - or the german way: let´s eat and drink and forget our troubles digesting. We sure have a lot of people eating and drinking because of minor depressions.
    And to alot of germans the outside world seems to be a hostile place where you always have to stay enGarde.
    But we were raised with values, although those values seem to slowly deteriorate.
    One of the earlier posts in this discussion really got me thinking. It was about helping elderly people across the street. As a matter of fact I actually watched less social helpfullness the last years. I´m bragging on quite a high level but the standards here used to be pretty high. It became less that people thank the person at the cash register in shops and holding the door open for the elderly and women now does not seem compulsive anymore. After womens lib´ I wound´nt deem it necessary although but for the elderly?We seem to get the same problem as it seems to manifest in the US that people mind their own business and don´t interfere in social emergencies. If you pass an emergency in your car(the german holy shrine) it might as well not have happened. And still we have the people who get out. And I wouldn´t be surprised that the percentage of people who act would be the same as in any other place on this planet. Let´s talk about german me as long this thread exists without being concluded in a global discussion ;-)
    In any culture you will feel pleased to get to know the parents of your future something;-) And it never is a lighthearted step to take. Work in germanxy used to be pretty commiting but today we start to get the feel of "jobs". We recognised that you will not stay with one company all your life and were sad. We recognised you might not stay with one partner all your life. We made the best of it. I really do know a lot of people that are on friendly terms with their Exes. And it stays at friendly. If you have trouble in a partnership or in in a friendship it is in fact highly unlikely that you will loose touch. Be it that you are scared to loose face or whatever - you work it out by yourself and by the time you are over it you will be able to forgive and forget. <>
    Since we are pretty introverted it is regarde very highly to be confronted. As long as you mean what you say you are fine. Romanticism might come as kind of a dangerous asset and german people might shy away from it because it makes them loose control(which might be experienced scary). But it´s not the control of the state over the individuals anymore but the control of the individual about oneself.
    And this is why we don´t make compliments. Because wit every compliment we make (and we mean) we open ourselves to influences beyond our grasp. This we experience as delightfull as scary. Because a word is a word which might be a rose.

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