- Germans are direct – This is an easy one. And to begin with, a true one too. From all the Germans I have met in past 3 years, they have been straightforward about everything we have spoken about. Ranging from opinions about how a particular dish tastes to what do they think of a certain movie for example. They have now and again proved their sincerity by expressing their thoughts. Of course some of them tie a bow around it, but truth remains truth. It is one of the best things I realized in my first week in Germany. I have faced a lot of consequences for being that straight forward back in India, but here, it seems to be not just acceptable but appreciated. And ever since then, well, let’s just say my filters have vanished 🙂 This might come across as rude if one isn’t used to their way of expressing things, but honestly, it isn’t.
- Germans love rules, organization and structure – This is particularly debatable. There is no doubt that Germans take rules seriously but are they really happy about ALL of them. Well, let’s be real. They too find the whole system and all rules in everything a little tiresome from time to time. But, they do follow it religiously. Even if there is anyone supervising or cameras, they follow what needs to be. And that is really appreciable. Coming to organization and structure, that I must admit that it has been splendid not just to see them work that way but an amazing experience to learn from them each day. The detailing and planning in the smallest of organization of things, is commendable.
- Germans drink beer all the time – This is really funny to hear each time I talk to anyone back from my home country. It is assumed that all Germans drink beer all the time. But the reality is, no. Yes, Germans do love their beer. No, not all like beer. Yes, there is a huge variety in each area and all possible kinds. No, they don’t come drunk to work. I was never a beer fan and in fact I had never even completed a mug of beer before coming to Germany. But, as I kept trying and disliking (the process continued for a year) and finally I started drinking beer from the ‘brauerei’ (brewery), I found my never-before-had-I-thought-I-had-this love for beer. It is awesome to wait for 5pm on Friday evenings just to have some chilled beers with colleagues at work. It’s called freitagcschnapps (Friday shots). And yes it is every week. Guess that’s something that’s probably not that common in India.
- Germans love cars more than anything – Knowing that Germany has one of the largest automotive industry, and everyone driving around in all those amazing German cars, it is easy to assume that Germans love their cars more than anything. Well, if you have lived here then you know that this may not be entirely correct. What they do (might) love more than their cars is their BIKES (bicycles). Just wait for sun to shine and look out your window. Or just take a walk to nearby forest. Notice the number of people on streets just went from walking/public transport/cars to bikes. They absolutely love it. What is even more pleasant to see is that age group doesn’t matter. From someone who is just learning to ride a bike to over 80 years old with their safety helmet and appropriate clothing, ready to bike.
- German language is ugly – People who are learning German at the moment or just started or the ones who don’t live here and just listen to how German is portrayed in films, it is easy to conclude that it sounds ugly. But, if you really learn the language or even understand it, you will realize that it’s got this melodious tone to its words. The words are literal and can combine to km long words just to describe how one really feels. Yes, it isn’t the easiest language to learn given their amazing grammar rules, but, it is a really nice language. It is only when I was in Prague, Belgium and France did I really realize how much I miss German and how nice it sounds. Try it for yourself and let me know 🙂
- Germans wear lederhose (leather pants) all the time – Again, from films and parts of portrayal of Germans have always been with lederhosen. So technically, if someone who hasn’t lived here or studied about Germany, do come to conclusion that every German wears lederhosen. Well, the truth is, lederhose comes from a state called Bavaria. And it is the traditional dress of only Bavaria. Each German state has its own special clothing and food and DIALECT making it much more diverse than it’s known for.
- Germans all have dogs – This is again slightly bit over rated. No. Not all Germans own a dog. Yes, many (most) love dogs but it cannot be generalized because from what I have seen say 3 out of 10 Germans own a dog. That cannot be really a stereotype. Many of my local friends have cats, fishes, sheep, rabbits, hamsters and it’s adorable to see all of them each time.
- Germans have no sense of humor – Let’s just say that a German will not laugh if that person doesn’t understand the joke. Get the point? German humor is very real. And it is actually funny (I find it for sure). Their jokes will have some real meaning and literal sense of time or movement of the situation. So if next time you say a joke to a German, and that person doesn’t really get it, don’t assume they have no humor, they just wouldn’t have understood your point. Simple. Also, Germans are not really good at sarcasm. If something has to be told, refer point 1 again 🙂
- Germans are well-insured – As far as I am aware, they do have insurance for almost everything significant in their lives. Health insurance is compulsory in Germany and is really expensive I must add. But apart from that, insurance for your car, house, household items, your dog to everything one finds really important will be more or less insured. Although this country is one of the safest and most of these insurances are just paying money and having no advantage, I personally find this really relaxing. Being well insured for everything reduces any kind of stress that can be handled.
- Germans are distant – Saved the best for last. This is particularly felt by everyone who comes here from outside Germany. Each one might agree to this but it isn’t necessarily true. No, Germans are not best friends in the first meeting or even the second (or couple of the meetings following that) but one fails to understand that some human facts remain the same and apply to everyone. If you smile, they do smile back (most of the times). If you are an outspoken person and can share your life dreams during your first coffee and they probably talk about that day’s weather with you, don’t be disheartened. This is not because they don’t like you, or being distant, they just take some time to understand you as a person. If they think, or rather find some common hobbies or interests, then you will definitely see the increase in topics that you discuss with them. If not, they prefer not getting close because they think the friendship wouldn’t hold that much potential (told to me by a German himself). It’s simple sometimes. And now to think of it, it makes sense to me because if you are close to someone, you would start spending more time with them and invest yourself into that friendship. But, if there isn’t much common, well, all of that energy will be wasted at one point. And I don’t only mean hobbies, it can include sharing same opinions on some things at least. But one thing I can vouch for, once you have a German friend, they are for life. Period.
So, these were the top 10 stereotypes that I listen to in almost all the discussions and talks with Germans and non-Germans.
In conclusion, I would like to say that these are just my opinions on them and they need not necessarily apply to everyone in all situations. It is also possible that once you start liking a particular community of people, you tend you like everything about them (almost) and give a blind eye to many little flaws 🙂
Do comment below if you think I have missed something and I could add it to the list 🙂
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Keep smiling! 🙂