Every culture has its own code of conduct or habits and so has Germany. Being in every day contact with Germans quickly reveals simple rituals, manners towards others, even their attitude on the environment.
Some of the most common German habits may appear strange and odd at first glance but they are much closer to British or even American customs than any other nation.
The typical form of greeting in Germany is to shake hands 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 a welcome. Direct eye contact and certainly not crossing another person’s arm or hand when greeting someone in a group, are two important norms worth following. Kissing or pseudo kissing each cheek is popular nowadays between opposite genders too.
Hours of rest
Taken quite seriously in Germany, hours of rest are usually from 1pm till 3pm and from 10pm till 7am on weekdays, which include Saturdays. 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 quiet housework.
One of the Germans’ most recognizable characteristic traits is punctuality. If Germans fix a time they are serious about it and do their best to be on time. Great stress is put on punctuality with other virtues such as 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. Others include social functions where many invitees appear far too early whilst presenters at business functions often wait for the stragglers thus frustrating punctual attendees.
The Germans are obsessed by cars and are crazy about them. They are the love of their lives and the faster, the fancier, the cleaner the better. SUVs have become the most important symbol of status and personality and driving someone else’s car is one of the highest honours that can be conferred.
Many people talk about the weather to start a conversation, as do Germans. But instead of then changing the topic they can stick to it. 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.
No matter if it is cold, wet or warm or even hot, it never seems right and it always leaves a niche for arguments, discussions and complaints.