The Germans’ idiosyncrasies are a Teutonic
BERLIN is growing in popularity for Aussie expats due to its generally low rental prices, English-friendly neighbourhoods and incomparably on-trend atmosphere.
I myself made this decision at the end of 2015 and have since enjoyed my time in the Deutsch capital, observing not only the benefits but the hilarious idiosyncrasies that set us apart from our Teutonic cousins.
While I have done my best to learn the language and absorb myself within the culture (go hard or go home!), there are certain behaviours and manners of conduct that I simply refuse to adopt.
The first example probably comes as no surprise to most – social graces are utterly out the window here.
If you mutter the German equivalent of “how are you” – “wie geht es dir” – in a cafe, supermarket or when receiving any kind of service, you will be met with one of two reactions.
The first, most common, will be a very strange look, wondering why a stranger would ask such a personal question and why that stranger would presume the person wants to engage in a conversation.
The second option, which I have experienced on more than one alarming occasion, is that they take the question extremely literally and begin to tell you exactly how they are, what they are feeling and perhaps their entire life story. Your best bet? A quick hello, avoid eye contact and a quick goodbye. Simple, methodical, oh-so-Deutschland.
◗ TRAFFIC LIGHT ETIQUETTE: One of the most wonderfully contradictory behaviours common in Berlin is the refusal to jaywalk.
Germans are perhaps most renowned for their logical way of approaching situations, but they are also, generally speaking, a rule-obeying society. Logic and rule obeying come directly to a head when we’ve got a red man on the traffic pole and no cars to be seen for days.
Walk or stay? They stay and wait patiently until that man turns green. No cars, one-way street, they wait. If you walk, you will feel eyes burning into your back.