Becoming German?

11 Dec 2012

I just found this list this week about how to be German. Now, while this is just a bit of fun, I think it is spot on! These characteristics are things we have noticed about the Germans. It is what makes them lovely or annoying (depending on what you like). Some of those habits we have already got used to and have taken on ourselves as a family.

I am just going to comment on some of the things we have found to be true so far.

 Put on your house shoes

Germans do wear slippers or house shoes whenever indoors. Kindergarten kids wear slippers. They even have pairs of slippers for guests. While we don't necessarily wear house shoes at home (we like the barefoot look), we do wear some much more often than in our previous house.

Eat a long breakfast

(Source: Deutsch perfekt (10/2012), Illustration : Bernhard Förth)
Breakfast is a very important meal in Germany. And it is not just for the Sunday brunch (which takes the whole day)!

Get some insurances

Germans have insurances for everything.  And a lot of people have insurance advisers. This is one we don't really understand! It comes down to being prepared and safe but we thought the Germans were sensible people!

Dress seriously

There is a German saying that says that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. It is true in Germany! If you are going outdoors, dress for the outdoors. You cannot overdo it in Germany: hiking boots, trousers that zip into shorts, expensive outdoor jacket,... On our daughter's list of kit needed for kindergarten was: rain jacket, rain trousers, snowsuit, etc.

Obey the red man

Oh dear God yes! Do not cross the road on red. You will get looks murdering you and even could get shouted at (even if there is nobody on the road).

Drink Apfelsaftschorle

It is basically apple juice with sparkling water. Love it!

Say what you mean

Germans are very direct. They will tell you if you look fat, ugly or look rough. And they will be direct about it. They will not say it in a polite way or by going around the issue.

Love your car

Cars are all immaculate here and relatively new. There are few beaten up old cars.

Do nothing on Sundays

Sundays are dead even in a city. Apparently Germans do housework in the morning and go for a walk in the afternoon.  Suits me fine (apart form the housework bit).


  1. Hilarious.

    Hey I love the new site and - eek - if you changed it ages ago, forgive me as I've been out of the loop and well behind on following my favorite bloggers.

    So I am coming out of my hybernation to say I enjoy your blog so much I am nominating you for a Liebster award.

    I know what you are thinking... a what?!? That was my reaction too. It's one of those viral awards that someone gives you and you then can chose to nominate people.

    Here is a link to a post [] I wrote which includes the 'to dos' like answering a series of questions.

    Take part or don't. In any event, you know at least that you have a fan over here. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2013! xoMultilingualMama

  2. Hi!
    My name is Tamara Staton, and you may recognize my name because I hosted a Blogging Carnival on Biligualism in July. Either way, I am dropping by today because I, like Multilingual Mama, want to nominate you for the Liebster Blog Award! You may have read about it already on her blog, but I, too, laid it out and included my nomination for you there:
    I appreciate the passion you seem to have for all things language and culture, and also really like the layout of your new site.
    Check it out if you're so inclined...and participate, if you're interested. Either way, like Multilingual Mama said, you now know you have TWO fans, at least one of whom is in Portland, OR.
    Thanks for helping to make this bilingual blogging community as strong and awesome as it is!!

  3. [QUOTE]They will tell you if you look fat, ugly or look rough.[/QUOTE]

    My first imulse was to deny that. Then again...but lets check the list: Fat? That will not happen unless you either ask for it (and your counterpart is insensitive) or....well....usually will not happen. Ugly? Come on, where did you get that? Unless a really bad-mannered person wants to insult you, nobody would do that. Telling people they are ugly is as rude in Germany as it is everywhere else.

    Coming to the last point: Looking rough. Yes, will happen in an instant. But it is mostly not meant offensively but emphatically. So if you worked through the last night and come to work the other day, not having slept and spent enough time in the bathroom, or even if you are ill a "Hallo, du siehst aber fertig aus!" is normal. But its meant symphathetically, not as an insult.

    It is just direct, if not to say blunt. In another post you mentioned having been shouted at by the cashier, as an example for perceived german rudeness. Has never happened to me. If so, i would shout back and never visit the store again or call for the manager.

    Directness is mayhaps sometimes irritating, however i prefer it to the "fake" politeness present elsewhere. In the french part of my family finding out even only if they like the food or would like some more....diplomatical exercise. If they say no they are propably just too polite to request more. Even worse working with japanese fellows on a project. If they have a bad idea (in my opinion) i will tell them and why. Fastest way to communicate. But absolute nogo. If i have a bad idea and they know it, they will take ages to communicate just that (after all i might be insulted for looking "stupid"). Way too complicated and takes too much time that can otherwise be spent on better things. ;)

    1. I am not saying it is all necessarily a bad thing. But most of it is very surprising and I would even a little schocking to a foreigner (especially one having lived in the UK for a long time). It takes a lot of getting used to.

    2. Propably. But then again as in every country you have annoying and nice people. And there is a difference between being rude and knowing when not to speak out even if you know something to be true.

      Concerning little things like "You look rough, no sleep last night?", or "You should maybe add a bit more salt" when invited to dinner (with good friends)...for me that is cultural flavour, but i prefer it that way.

      Saying you are ugly, fat, stupid and so on, or generally telling you (unasked) how to live your life...i would never do that, as wouldnt most other decent Germans. Generally a well mannered person in Germany would never comment on such private things, as usually it is polite to not intrude onto strangers. If it happens, call that person off at an instant. I have some good foreign friends raning from such different countries as Israel, India, China and the UK...they all get along well here by now, hope you do too, eventually! And dont take dem Görmäns too serious :) ;)

  4. The red man.. Ahahaha.. Souvenir.. We did an exchange student program at 14 years old.
    When the German came to France we were in the city all walking and crossing the road as we usually do (look left- right go, no need to check a color ;-) ) .. We realise like good 3 minutes later that all the Germans were still stuck waiting for the green even if they was no cars

  5. I lived in Germany for 5 years and I can say this is good information. Can also say the green light thing is a great habit to have for safety.


Thank you for your feedback.