Often suspicious, edgy and reserved, urban Germans can sometimes be hard to meet, except perhaps at work. Avoiding eye contact in the street and on the tram and rushing straight home after work often to an empty flat, perhaps unsurprisingly, some 40% of Germans live in single-person households.
A somewhat private folk, unlike the Japanese or British, say, they rarely socialize with their colleagues after work hours, and barring a pipe burst or package delivery, generally have little to do with their neighbours.
How, then, do timid people manage to connect, make friends and even get married in this country? How do they break the ice? A surprisingly large number today use the internet. And thankfully, some city residents are somewhat different. In all the bistros, cafés and bars around town people just ignore first impressions and connect. Nearly everyone is able and normally willing to speak at least some English. Though sometimes they perhaps need a nudge or a drink to do so.
Contrary to popular belief, Germans are friendly and also very helpful.