When in Rome…, as they say. Every culture has its own code of conduct and so has Germany. Being in every day contact with Germans quickly reveals simple rituals, manners towards others and their attitude on the environment.
Some of these habits may appear strange and odd at first glance but German habits are much closer to British or even American customs than any other nation. The following list includes some of the most common German habits.
Shaking hands - The typical form of greeting in Germany and Germans love doing it. No matter if one is leaving or arriving, shaking hands with family, friends or business contacts, it is regarded as sign of honour and respect as well as welcoming. Direct eye contact and not crossing another’s arm or hand when greeting someone in a group are two important norms worth following.
Hours of rest - Taken quite seriously in Germany, they are usually on weekdays from 1pm till 3pm and from 10pm till 7am. Sunday is a traditionally day of rest and in residential areas it is prohibited to disturb others through noisy activities such as mowing the lawns, listening to loud music or labouring. Sunday is a family day, when Germans drive to the countryside to enjoy their weekends, a day for sports activities as well as to meet friends, read or do any housework.
Punctuality - One of the Germans’ most recognizable characteristic traits. If Germans fix a time they are serious about it and try to be on time. Great stress is put on punctuality and virtues like reliability and good organisational skills are often associated with it. However, some may notice two quirks; in some circles there is a phenomenon known as the academic quarter of an hour, theoretically allowing highly frustrating unpunctuality. Another is at functions where many invitees appear far too early whilst presenters at business functions often wait for the stragglers.
My car - My love, my castle, my life; the faster, the fancier, the better. The Germans are obsessed by cars and crazy about them, SUVs are the most important symbol of status and personality. And driving someone else’s car is one of the highest honours that can be conferred.
The weather - Many people talk about it to start a conversation, so do Germans. But instead of changing the topic they can stick to it and the weather is one of their favourite topics. As soon as they find out that the weather reveals a non forecasted surprise, they start complaining and chat long and hard throughout the day. And no matter if it is cold, wet or warm or even hot, it never seems right and it always leaves a niche for arguments and discussions.