.Weird Things German People Do – The Ultimate German Guide.

All countries have their own weird traditions and behaviors and Germans are obviously no exception. I am German myself and a lot of these habits I only realized were completely bonkers after I left Germany and moved to another country. I just thought, this is how people behave; it’s human nature all over the world. But I realized quickly, that this is not the case. It is time to roast my own country people and myself obviously and call them out on their strange and embarrassing habits. Let’s get to the bottom of this and demystify the Germans. Keep in mind that the list below may also save your relationship or marriage if you are involved with a German person.

  • Be very direct. Do not expect British level of small talk. As a matter of fact, cut the small talk, and say it straight. “Pass the pepper” will do nicely and does not come across as impolite for Germans. It may take some time to get used to it but in the end, you will realize that it saves quite a lot of time and is not impolite at all. Wearing an awful shirt? Germans will tell you. Gained a bit of weight? Germans will let you know. The good thing about this is that you always know where you stand. The bad thing is, your soul may be crushed. One may experience a certain type of initial German “coldness” or emotional distance toward other people. There is no fluffing around. Germans take some time to build a solid foundation with others rather than a shallow one.
  • Get used to all the German Fairy Tales and don’t be scared. You may leave your light on at night.
  • Germans love to discipline. If you are on a bus and put your shoes up on the seat, Germans will first look at you suspiciously and then lean over and tell you to put your feet down on the floor
  • As a pedestrian, do not (under any circumstances) cross the street if the traffic light signals red for pedestrian crossing (hell will freeze over!)
  • Germans love to send bureaucratic threatening letters and make everything official. You forgot to pay a part of your electricity bill, your landlord won’t talk to you but rather send a letter of immediate eviction without warning if you do not pay.
  • Germans are very impatient and self-control is very important. If you are in line at a cafeteria, you better choose your food quickly if a German stands behind you. If you take to long, they will freak out.
  • The German accent. It sounds funny, but do not make fun of it too much. They will get angry. Why? Because according to Germans, we learned British English in school and talk normally. “Zis is a dog and ze dog looks angry because ze dog lost it’s bone ja. Zis is not cool.”
  • Meat & Food. Many Germans love meat. Surprise a German with sausages, braten, cold cuts or any other meat-dish and they will love you. Try to prevent any meat-loving German from enjoying their schnitzel and you will be removed from the community or even deported from the country immediately. Germans eat “quark” all the time but cannot explain what it actually is. Half cheese and half cream? Nobody will ever figure this out.
  • Alcohol. Talking about the top-German foods, I have to continue with the beverages. When in Germany, you will find (strong) beer everywhere and everybody drinks it all the time. Beer in the evening, beer in the morning, beer after work with colleagues, beer alone at home and you can buy it everywhere, too. Even at the gas stations.  Fun fact: there is actually a thing called “Fusspils” (Wegbier). Germans drink on the streets quite a lot and some people carry a beer for the way (Wegbier) to the bar. Sounds like we are all a bunch of alcoholics. Also, you better look the other person straight in the eyes while clinking beer glass. Germans are pretty strict about that, too.
  • Germans are highly organized; especially socially. There are visual signs everywhere that direct the public to follow rules and regulations to monitor and protect how to exist in Germany. Signs such as “Do not throw your trash here”, “Do not stand here”, “Do not walk here” etc. make things run smoothly for some reason. There is also no garbage on the ground; not even in the subway. You could eat off the ground.
  • When children have their first day of school which is 1st grade (otherwise it is called kindergarten), every child gets a large cone, almost as big as the child themselves, covered in decorations called “Zuckertüte/Schultüte” (Sugar/school cone). In Germany, it is normal to give your child a five-kilogram cone filled with sweets and treats on their first day of school. Kids hold on to that cone during school and then are allowed to open it at home that day in the evening. #sugarshock

  • Polterabend which is smashing a ton of porcelain before you get married. Couples announce the date of their Polterabend in the local newspaper and then usually friends and family from the town or total strangers show up in an open space outside which is usually on the street in front of your house and bring all sorts of porcelain (sinks, cups, plates whatever they want to donate) that they then smash and the soon to be married couple has to clean up the mess. Of course, beer and appetizers (meat) are served.
  • Nudity. German people love to be naked especially in places like local saunas, beaches, and lakes. People look at you in horror if you wear your bathing suit in a sauna. They might actually ask you to leave.
  • Work ethics: Germans have on the average 6-8 weeks paid vacation per year and are very hardworking. They try to avoid mistakes and also work on an issue until it is sufficiently solved. Things need to be perfect.  All this happens usually without asking for help. They also take “Feierabend” (the time after work) very seriously. Germans go home when the clock ticks beer. Germans are health freaks and  usually have hundreds of health – and life insurances so nobody needs to worry or stress out in case something happens #GermanAngst
  • Punctuality: Germans get nervous when they cannot be at least 10 minutes in advance to get to an appointment
  • Don’t “you” anybody unless you are formally encouraged to refer to them as “you”. You call people Herr (Mr.) X or Frau (Mrs.) X until the older one tells you to use the informal “you”. The german language will just blow your mind.
  • Dinner Parties: You invite someone to dinner at 6 pm, they will expect dinner to be on the table and ready at 6 pm. No small talk before, no waiting, no appetizers or anything unless specifically stated that this is scheduled before the actual dinner
  • Other fun facts: The original Octoberfest actually starts in September. Germans ritually return recyclables and collecting the deposit. Especially plastic bottles, beer, and wine bottles. Germans simply love recycling.

It's like a challenge.

And last: you can use the word “Bitte” for many things:

Something to add? Did I forget anything? Does this list save your relationship with a German person?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

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