Vanguard News Network
VNN Media
VNN Digital Library
VNN Reader Mail
VNN Broadcasts

Old May 8th, 2015 #1
Alex Linder
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 45,415
Blog Entries: 34
Alex Linder
Default Differences Between German Culture and Other Cultures

If we think of Germans as cold and formal, what does that mean for Germans' views of non-Germans?

Germans must realize they are found cold and formal by most other peoples. What do they think of this issue? Do they think of themselves as cold and formal as well? If not, how do they characterize other cultures among themselves? Sloppy? Chaotic? Disrespectful? Goofy? Purposeless? What is the mirror-stereotype Germans have of non-Germans?

Judith Meyer, well-traveled native German, author o... (more)

Germans do not think of themselves as cold or formal - however, there is a stereotype that people living in the north of the country are rather cold and people living in the south of the country are rather more welcoming. This mirrors similar sentiments in many countries, including the US, France, Italy, etc. ... but you won't find e. g. Bostonians or Venetians thinking of themselves as cold. People always think that their own behaviour is appropriate and anything less or more would be inappropriate.

A lot of this cold/formal Germans stereotype is simply a stereotype propagated by people who haven't spent much time here. For example, the French afaik don't have the reputation of being cold and formal, yet they use even more formality in addressing each other (often using job titles rather than names) and imho there is little difference in how the French relate to strangers compared to how Germans relate to strangers.

There is a grain of truth to the stereotype though in that Germans are more formal than e. g. Americans. In Germany, what you call formal is considered being respectful. For example, people start out by addressing each other as Mr/Mrs X rather than first names because this is saying "I respect you as an adult" - only children are immediately addressed by first names. There can be no friendship if you don't respect each other first. The switch to first names is the outward sign of having a closer relationship, for example one where you can call each other names in jest without lingering doubts whether some of that was meant for real.

Since it is known that some cultures don't make the same distinction, Germans don't usually get offended if a foreigner uses the wrong address, but in business situations, the set of American mannerisms as a whole leaves doubts whether that person is capable of being serious when necessary.

By those mannerisms I mean for example that in America, I have met many (though not all) people that start off more jovially, introducing themselves with first names even in a business setting, making a lot of body contact, joking around as if they had been long-term friends with you already - to a German, this comes across as fake or superficial. If we just met, we're obviously not great friends yet, so if you pretend otherwise, that cannot be your true feelings. Do you mask your true feelings in other situations as well, still putting on a friendly face when you really hate my guts? Germans are used to more honesty. If a German doesn't like you, you'll know. If a German doesn't yet know if he'll like you, you'll know as well, and it's only a problem if you're American and didn't expect the relationship to include an evaluation stage. That's what some call 'cold'.

Another thought: if you treat strangers like friends, what is the difference between being a stranger or your friend? And how does your behaviour differ between friends and good friends? Anecdotally I heard that Americans tend to have more people they call friends than Germans, while Germans call less people friends but have deeper connections to those.

EDIT: please note that, as per the OP's request, I described typical and stereotypical views of Americans. These are the result of evaluating American behaviour by German standards, which leaves the impressions I described. These impressions are hard to shake off if you grew up in Germany, and many people don't even know that German-American cultural differences are so large that they are getting the wrong impressions. Having spent a lot of time around Americans, I am well aware that this kind of behaviour is just normal in America, i. e. the personalities and the human relationships are the same, while the outward appearance of them is very different. Also read my reply to Travis in the comments.

If you want to understand Germany better, please stop by my blog Understanding Germany.

http://www.quora.com/If-we-think-of-...of-non-Germans
 
Old May 14th, 2015 #2
Robbie Key
Senior Member
 
Robbie Key's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 3,915
Robbie Key
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Linder View Post
By those mannerisms I mean for example that in America, I have met many (though not all) people that start off more jovially, introducing themselves with first names even in a business setting, making a lot of body contact, joking around as if they had been long-term friends with you already - to a German, this comes across as fake or superficial. If we just met, we're obviously not great friends yet, so if you pretend otherwise, that cannot be your true feelings. Do you mask your true feelings in other situations as well, still putting on a friendly face when you really hate my guts? Germans are used to more honesty. If a German doesn't like you, you'll know. If a German doesn't yet know if he'll like you, you'll know as well, and it's only a problem if you're American and didn't expect the relationship to include an evaluation stage. That's what some call 'cold'.

Another thought: if you treat strangers like friends, what is the difference between being a stranger or your friend? And how does your behaviour differ between friends and good friends? Anecdotally I heard that Americans tend to have more people they call friends than Germans, while Germans call less people friends but have deeper connections to those.
This piece captures it perfectly. I can only speak for myself, but what I bolded is entirely true in my case. I honestly can't stand the grinning mentality that seems to be so prevalent in British/Anglo-Saxon culture. Another example: American talk shows are ridiculous to me. You all know it, when a celebrity enters the stage and the audience goes absolutely crazy and starts screaming and clapping their hands like mad men.

To me that only makes me sick to my stomach. Disgusting, really. I'm not exaggerating, it goes that deep, and I think that's true for a large majority of Germanic people.

Not really on topic, but it's truly ironic that the most influential WN the Americans have produced was William Pierce. He was extremely Germanic in his mentality if you ask me, despite being of exclusively Anglo-Saxon ancestry AFAIK. There's something to ponder about, I'd imagine.

Last edited by Robbie Key; May 14th, 2015 at 01:00 PM.
 
Old July 12th, 2015 #3
volkszorn
Senior Member
 
volkszorn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 770
volkszorn
Default German Emigrants report

In Germany, as usual, in the US a scandal?
That young children sometimes walk around naked in the garden or on the beach or that older children can play outside alone without constant supervision, is incomprehensible to Americans.
In the US, as usual, in Germany a scandal?
At children's birthday, which is usually the whole class is invited, there is professionally decorated cakes with lots of frosting. And then the children eat actually not even the cake, but only the icing! Ever is the subject of healthy eating and sugar intake from a German perspective a big scandal topic.
In every house there are several televisions that run from morning to night and are considered a very popular pastime for children of all ages. It is also normal that even infants are placed in the crib that babies spend a lot of time generally in car seat.

Quote:

...But because the Asians are very on them because of their blond hair and blue eyes, it can also be too much. Especially in China, we have made some negative experiences. Not only the permanent Photos annoyed at some point very, she was taken by enthusiastic Chinese even unasked out of the pram.

http://www.stern.de/familie/kinder/w...k-6338376.html
 
Old July 12th, 2015 #4
Alyss
vnn member
 
Alyss's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 2,182
Alyss
Default

Ive never been to Germany but read online expat's stories living in Germany .

Unlike England, there isn't such a thing called queues or queuing up in Germany. Germans simply push by you to get in first. However, that is considered normal behaviour in Germany but in England , Aus, US this is considered rude behaviour.
 
Old July 15th, 2015 #5
White Brazilian Boy
Senior Member
 
White Brazilian Boy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Posts: 823
White Brazilian Boy
Default

I have Italian,Portuguese and I think French ancestry but I have this "cold" personality of the Germans.

I find ridiculous people calling everybody their friends when true friendship is rare.

The Northern Europeans are stereotyped as cold while the Southern are considered more friendly,warm...
 
Reply

Share


Thread
Display Modes


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:38 PM.
Page generated in 0.08834 seconds.