Germans Rude and Impatient.

So I feel like addressing the Elephant in the room. Since I have been living here I have had several first-time encounters with Germans where they are rude and unfriendly. It seems like although their country has developed in so many beneficial ways, they still have a mindset of some sort of "hierarchy". This is a thing of the past in the states and people are more on an equal playing field, which I find beneficial to both parties involved. A recent example is that I have been looking for a tax consultant for my business and my friend referred me to his tax consultant and I have actually met this consultant before so we know each other. I sent them a couple of emails with no response. Upon my friend giving me their whatsapp(very popular and widely used in Germany), I sent them a message there. It is a husband/wife team. The wife answered and told me she was on vacation and to contact her husband to set it all up. So I did and gave him a week to respond, but he did not. So I wrote her back and she gave me his cell number so I called and left a message and he did not respond. I called the number again today and the wife was back from vacation and I was connected to her and she immediately starting yelling at me and said "I told you to call my husband because he makes the appointments! I already told you do not call me. Call my husband"  I calmly told her "you told me specifically to call the number you gave me" at which point she interrupted me and said "yes, call that number, don´t call me".  I replied "I just called that number, and they connected me with you".  She finally understood that I had called the correct number and was connected with her. She then yelled "fine, I will tell him to call you!"   She then rudely hung up.                       

So this is a referral from a close friend, right? And this is the way I am treated?  This is just one example. Also, if you do not speak PERFECT German, they automatically assume you are stupid. By the way, my German is very good.  I know this one because this is how people in the states think too. However, people in the states are, in general, a bit more friendly. Anyway, I won´t be using them as tax consultants, but this seems to be a systemic conditioning here. Quite disturbing actually and I believe it stifles a more comfortable social interaction.  What do you think? Do you think this is from the way their system functions or just living in a stressful world in general? I have tried to kill them with smiles, but they seem impervious to such petty attempts, although I have found that a smile goes a long way with regard to breaking that hard outer shell here. Maybe she didn´t see my smile through the telephone...
: )

It is well known that Germans are frosty towards strangers, which may be interpreted as rude.
It is also difficult to break the ice with them - the methods normal in North America and other places do not work here.
And, in Germany services do not come with a smile, which again is off-putting to some foreigners.
Once you understand this and learn to manouvre around it, you will enjoy your stay in Germany more. Good luck!

(But in the case you describe, maybe she just had a bad day - which happoens to Germans as well as others!)


While I understand your frustration over your experience, and maybe you're just venting, but I'd advise against painting Germans in general all with the same brush.  Comparing them to Americans, I think is useless.  Your native countrymen are always more familiar and almost always they're seen more positively, and you have more experience in interacting with them.  It's simply a bias I think, but not a useful one :)

In my experiences, the large majority of them anyway....I've found many Germans to be quite friendly and more than willing to be helpful, and contrary to Beppi's remark, I've often gotten service with a smile (or at least a pleasant demeanor) and I certainly didn't speak German fluently when I lived there, and it's deteriorated over the years since I left.  That's never been a detrimental factor, again, in my experiences.

Thank you both for your responses. Food for thought. I do, however, think it is a systemic and cultural condition. Germans are, in general, more aggressive in their daily interchanges than Americans. I was not painting them all with the same brush and that is why I made sure I said "in General". I do not think that is a bias. It is an OPINION, but not a bias. An opinion would become a bias if I did not give each individual the same courtesy anymore as a direct result of a few bad experiences. I think this is a danger we all face as we all tend to judge each other and we need to stay more aware of doing that. My post was half venting for sure, but I was also trying to find out if others have had similar experiences. I think Beppi´s response was pretty direct and to the point. We all need to learn how to maneuver in life, right? I think that is a good way to put it.  Comparing is what we all do. I can remember sitting around a table of Germans in 1992 listening to them compare Germany to America and they were all bashing America. I just held my tongue because I knew absolutely nothing I said would make any difference. We are all finding "our people" in life and I was just sharing an anecdote in my adventures of finding mine. All the best to you guys...

You are right that there are cultural differences between countries and peoples. That makes the world interesting and worth exploring!
However, most Germans would seriously disagree to your assessment of us being more aggressive than Americans (meaning USA - somehow it often gets overlooked that there is more to America than that one country). Germans are certainly more DIRECT, including in criticising somebody, and they do like a heated discussion about serious topics (yes, America-bashing is a favourite here), but we think of ourselves as pacifist and do look down on those Americans, half of whom have weapons and the other half in constant fear of that first half, plus American militarism and world political standing can also be called aggressive (not just since Trump).  There's also more criminality on your side of the pond - or so the media suggests.
Germans also thing their directness is a sign of honesty. Many here dislike a fake smile (like what you typically get from a USA waiter) and "instant friends" chatting you up on the street (not a USA phenomenon, but it happens often in some other cultures) is very off-putting to us.

Actually, I am glad your initial rant turned into a discussion about cultural differences. Thanks for posting it!

Moderated by Bhavna 8 months ago
Reason : Political comment/opinion
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Hey, you are even better at USA-bashing than we Germans - congratulations, you'll fit in well!
You are right that my opinion of the USA is not based on long stays (I was there altogether less than 6 months), instead on media sensationalism and a lot of hearsay. But the limited exposure I had did give me food for thought:
One afternoon, in a rural town in Oregon, I decided to take a walk along the pavement-less roads in the suburban middle-class area surrounding my hotel. Believe it or not: People who saw me coming hurriedly disappeared into their houses and watched me pass through drawn curtains - certainly not because this is a peaceful place without worries! (And, I believe, also not because I look particularly dangerous.)
Another time, I visited a family of friends in a culturally mixed Los Angeles suburb. They showed me signs of attempted break-ins on every outer door their house had. Then, when waiting for our turn at the gas station, an unkempt, obviously homeless guy approached the car - my friend pushed the pedal and fled as fast as possible! I thought their paranoia is unreal, it CANNOT be that bad! A few months after my visit, criminals broke into the house one evening, when only the parents were home, and demanded money at gunpoint They didn't have any cash at home, so they were shot (he survived, wounded, she is dead).
I stand by my assessment that it is a very aggressive society (and all the world outside USA seems to agree that weapons have something to do with it). I couldn't live under such circumstances!
Here in Germany, we don't even lock our doors, because the "danger" that a friend comes by is far greater than that of being burgled. I love this kind of freedom and am happy to, in exchange, accept a few unfriendly encounters with people (who, as my little revenge, get no tip from me).

Wow, sorry you had that experience. Those were bad areas you visited and there are many of them, but most of America is not like that and most people who own guns do not just take them out and wave them at random strangers. It is not like that at all. I lived in America for 44 years. The only time I ever had to use my guns was once when my mother was being harrassed by a stranger who came to our home trying to sell something and would not leave. He tried to enter the house and I had to shoot him. I shot him in the leg and he went to jail for attempting to forcefully enter our home. The other time was in California outside of my warehouse when two idiots were shooting at each other and one of their bullets came through the wall of my building and into my office where I was sitting at my desk and luckily I had a metal filing cabinet that stopped the bullet. I took the bullet out of the cabinet as evidence, called the police, then went outside with my gun and started shooting at the two idiots. The police came and I explained what happened and they arrested both of the idiots. If I go back to live in America, I will get my guns back which are being held by a friend of mine. ****

"here in Germany we don´t even lock our doors"   Sorry, but I have to laugh at this one and thanks for the laugh, I needed it.  I lived here in 1992 for a whole year and we all locked our doors and so did our neighbors and all of my friends and neighbors lock their doors now too. Maybe you live in the shire with your Hobbit friends... hahaha...

All in all I would say that Germany is a more free place to live than the U.S. The system is simply better here. Capitalism is just a joke. It creates greed, power, corruption, etc...  I believe the German system is not perfect, but far far better than the American system.

Once again, my condolences with regard to your friend and their situation. That shit happens every day in the states and it is not getting better. It is getting worse.


Moderated by Bhavna 8 months ago
Reason : Political comment.
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You say "America is not like that" and then go on to describe two of exactly the kind of encounters I would do everything to avoid (denuding idiots of guns seems just the easiest way to do so).
I do not live in the Shire, but in Stuttgart - the German city with the highest percentage of foreigners (just in case you wondered) - and it really is like what I described in our (also culturally mixed, middle-class) neighbourhood!
Our way is also called capitalism (no other economic system ever worked long-term so far), although Europeans do try to make it socially compatible. One political party a few years ago called it "Capitalism with a Human Face". I like that!

Interesting reading this thread. I have to say that I and everyone I know in Stuttgart lock their doors. A situation where one feels no need is an exception. I have to add that I've experienced plenty of rudeness in Germany but thankfully its not everyone. And while I don't dislike Munich, I have to say I've experienced more than my share of rudeness there. There seems to be a special level of arrogance in Munich I've rarely encountered elsewhere.

Tom, I´m glad you said that about Munich. It motivates me to explore different parts of the country and people. I have also noticed that Munich, compared to some other places I have visited, seems to have a higher concentration of arrogance. Good point. Actually, every time I have been in Austria I meet super friendly people who are more laid-back than most Germans I have met.

I also met a lot of nice German people on a few trips to Straubing. I love it there.

Deciduous: It does not bhelp to call those with opinions different from yours "uninformed". You have youre opinions and I have mine. And I can back mine up with facts:
"Democratic Socialism" is different from what you see in Europe. It is what was tried in the GDR and other Eastern Block countries (all failed). Did you ever read Marx and the other masterminds of Socialism? Europe today is capitalist, with money ruling most things. It just has a few measures to milden the impact on the poorest, which can be called "Social Democratic".
Statistics of various countries (all different from the USA in many respects) have shown a clear and direct correlation of gun ownershipo and crime. Even in Switzerland, people have guns in their houses (which are doistributed for military purposes) but their use is severely restricted - you just couldn't use it to defend your house against burglars or burgle yourself. That's why the crime rate is low!

I'll give you an (overly short and simplistic) explanation:

Capitalism means companies are privately owned (i.e. profits go to the owners) and market prices are set by supply and demand.

Socialism means companies are co-operatively owned (with profits distributed), private ownership of other things is allowed, but regulated to achieve an egalitarian society. This is what the Eastern Block countries tried.

Communism means everything is communally owned and distributed according to personal needs, not wealth or personal contribution. There has never been a really communist country, but smaller-scale attempts like monasteries or agricultural communes exist.

Please note that these categories describe the economic system only and have nothing to do with the depth of democracy. It is debatable whether the Eastern Block countries failed because of Socialism or Totalitarianism (i.e. the lack of democracy) - I think both!

Some articles about guns and crime from my favourite news source: … un-control … -laws-guns

Wikipedioa about gun law in Switzerland:

I'm not sure that the issue of guns is so relevant to this site but I thought I would have to add my opinion as an American who has lived in Europe a long time but also experienced violence including having guns pointed at me in America. I have to strongly disagree with Deciduous'   take. We do lock our doors in Stuttgart but it is not that we have the level of violent crime problems like in the States.

The argument that Switzerland is proof that more guns means less crime is a false conclusion. Also, nearly all guns in Switzerland are rifles and not handguns, there are strict checks to keep criminals and crazies from having them and they need to be stored in approved gun cabinets. All things the NRA and most conservatives say are unacceptable. Nearly every other country in Western Europe has similar low rates of violent crime without having guns in the home. The guns are not what is deterring crime in Switzerland.

Over 30,000 people die from guns every year in the States. This is per capita 10 times what it is in Germany. More guns have meant more death, not less crime. What has evolved in America is a vicious circle of fear promoted by the manufacturer and sellers of guns through their lobby the NRA. Having more guns is simply tossing gasoline on a fire in the name of putting it out. Conservatives talk of freedom but what about the right to life, liberty and happiness which is directly threatened by being accosted with a gun? The conservative mentality and the cult of handguns now so prevalent in America have convinced me that I would unlikely ever consider living there again.

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