I hope nobody gets upset! We apologise in advance to our German colleagues for this week’s article, but we needed a bit of humour (we couldn’t take so much seriousness and bad weather anymore). A fun article to forget and drown your sorrows. So, we thought of writing a post on how to upset our German friends, how to irritate them just a bit…
Declare that the best car brands are Japanese
If there’s something that Germans are proud of, it’s their automotive industry; therefore, any comment that questions the quality of their cars or their industry leadership is extremely irksome to them….the best “Autos” are “natürlich” German!
Bring all your friends and mates to a private party
Irrespective of whether they’re all girls and single, South Europe’s “the more the merrier” mentality doesn’t work in Germany. You need a private invitation to attend any private party, and if you wish to bring a friend along (one, but no more than you), you need to ask permission from whoever is organising the party. Spontaneously receiving new guests irritates them…although it is admittedly true that this rule can be broken in any college WG party.
How to piss of a German? a “Jein” to an invitation!
“We’ll see” or “we’ll talk later” doesn’t work (the classic “yes but no” when it doesn’t really strike your fancy and you do not want to say it directly). If they invite you to dinner next weekend and let you choose the day…they are expecting a specific answer. They’d rather hear a sincere “no” if you can’t or do not wish to go than a “we’ll see”, “we’ll talk”, “I’ll tell you what”…. Indecisiveness is something that they cannot stand; they feel the need to organise their week and, of course, do not even think about letting them know and confirming at the last minute.
Interrupting them when they speak
They might let you interrupt them one or two times but the third time there won’t be a chance to keep talking, period; they will simply decide to not keep “wasting their time” with somebody that doesn’t know how to listen and doesn’t let them finish talking. Wir kommen nicht weiter also lass es sein …! which means“we’re not getting anywhere, let’s leave it at that”. So, focus on keeping your trap shut until it’s your turn to talk.
Making them wait more than 15 minutes
It’s fine to be late a few minutes and not be mega punctual on your “Termin” if you have a dinner date, for instance, but if more than 15 minutes have passed, good luck! I hope your friend is still waiting for you with a big smile, but keep in mind that he or she may have left already.
Not wanting to or knowing how to recycle rubbish
Did you know that some supermarkets give you free recycling bags? Rubbish is separated into plastic and tetra packs (and cans with a green dot) in the yellow rubbish container (in its respective yellow colour), paper and cardboard in the blue container (in its blue bag), inorganic rubbish is thrown into the green or brown-coloured container, and the remaining waste is thrown into the black container…and where do I throw my toothbrush, eh? I think this topic deserves a post of its own.
Attention my motorist friend: signals and lights
The first thing that a foreigner does in Germany after the Anmeldung is buy himself/herself a bicycle. The truth is that we are not so used to riding a bicycle, and we’re clumsy the first few days (including yours truly!), but it’s very important that you learn to signal your movements, that is to say, extend your left hand to signal that you are turning right and do the same to turn right. It may sound trivial, but not doing so upsets them, and it definitely makes driving dangerous for you and for them…likewise, the use of front and rear lights is mandatory at night, in addition to reflective apparel on intercity roads. And I won’t even mention what happens if you drive on the bicycle lane in the opposite direction or travel on the sidewalk instead of the bicycle lane.
Throwing a party at home and not letting your neighbours know
The best thing to do is to leave a note in the entrance informing them at least a week in advance, and the trick to not getting them angry is to invite them over for a drink, especially the young people in the building. Germans seek peace within their four walls. Loud music, parties, screams from quarrelling neighbours, or that dog that won’t stop barking at night…drives them up the wall. As a matter of fact, a study published by ImmobilienScout24 confirms that 61% of people in Germany would leave their dwelling due to noise pollution. Ruhe!
Fawning over a stranger’s little one
Do not smile at a stranger’s baby on the street, and don’t fawn over him/her nor make funny faces either…it goes without saying that you can’t caress a baby on the street as Spaniards and Latinos tend to do as soon as they see a child. German mums and dads will not like it at all; they’ll grumble at you!
Anticipating and arranging plans
Let’s say that the plan is to arrange a weekend in Spain. You casually and consistently tell your German friend: We’ll see how we’ll put it together! Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it! Calm down, there’s still a lot of time! And so forth. They are not used to this calmness and lack of organization, and it could end in a certain bad mood.
We want to hear your comments and anecdotes. We can surely expand this list and improve the record time.