Chapter 3 – Community Life

  • People in Germany often shake hands with each other. They shake hands when they say hello and goodbye and when they meet new people. It is common for a person who joins a group to shake hands with each person who is already there. When you shake hands look at the other person in the eye. Both men and women all shake hands with each other.

  • Good friends often hug each other when they say hello or goodbye, and sometimes they also kiss each other on the cheek. They do this with people of the same and the opposite sex. This kind of hugging and kissing is just being friendly and is not meant in a sexual way.

  • People often say exactly what they think. They are not being rude, they are just being honest. Accepting and offering (constructive) criticism is considered to be an important way of improving your character, particularly in working life. So it is not uncommon to be criticized or criticize someone else.

  • Punctuality is very important. If you are going to be late for an appointment or a meeting by even only 5 minutes this will be seen as a lack of respect because you have kept the other person waiting. So, if you are late, call the person and tell them that you have been delayed. You should do this both in work situations and private occasions, such as when you are visiting friends.

  • When you are offered something, say “nein, danke” (no, thanks) to say no or “bitte” or “gerne” to say yes.