Germans rarely admit that they're wrong

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even my boss never admits he usually sayss... yes you were/are right

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... in World War II, the Germans started out with better equipment, better discipline and more manpower. But they lacked imagination ...

It was probably their superior imagination that helped the Americans win the war against mighty Grenada ... but why did all their other post-WWII military adventures fail so miserably up until the present day?

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@Poppet: that's a combined problem of honour and hierarchy: the clerc you complain with is not allowed to pay anything back to you. He must get permission from his boss who must get permission from his boss and so on. In the end, the bosses will blame the clerc for the mistake, of course. He knows that and therefore hesitates to help you. Also, there is a lot of paperwork involved, which delayes the process.

Try to be firm but very polite. Tell the clerc you understand his position and truely pity him and you are sorry to cause him inconvenience. That'll make up for the dressing down he has to expect from his boss and he'll be far more cooperative because you'll make him feel he's doing a nice and friendly customer a personal favour.

If the friendly approach doesn't work, speak with his boss.

Heh, suddenly I am reminded of Peter and the Commissar...

You would hope that, if screwing up involves so much ass pain, then that would compel people to try not to screw up. Instead it causes them to find ways to screw you over rather than admit a mistake.

Mistakes are always going to happen--it is unavoidable--and it has to happen to someone, it may as well be this clerk. The way you judge then is not whether he screwed up, but how fast he recognized it and took care of things. On this point, if you are correct, then the clerk is a miserable failure.

 

Luckily, in my case, I have never really had an issue, but I am about to get an account at BW Bank (I want an EC card) so maybe I will have something to complain about later.

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Yes, the admit they are wrong and they apologize when it is needed. The problem is there is big difference between when you think an apologize is needed compare to what Germans think.

 

Another stupid thread.

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"Vertrauen ist gut, Kontrolle ist besser."

 

I totally agree with flint24 and Milton that the reason Germans have difficulty dealing with "errors" is because they see them all as some kind of huge flaw that's going to destroy everything they know to be true. OK, maybe I'm exaggerating, but the point is, they don't seem to be able to handle mistakes of any kind without excessive drama and hurling verbal abuse at whoever's in close range. Sometimes I find the best thing to do is just hurl it back, but that doesn't feel very good. I'm looking for another way.

 

Huggle, can you explain how I can "confront Germans with an error or mistake in a way that makes you NOT lose face... Leave us an honourable way out and we'll take it (and the blame as well)." It seems to me that the very acknowledgement of some kind of error is enough to flip your average German out.

 

My future pseudo mother-in-law (German, long-time girlfriend of my fiance's father) decided to plan my wedding party at her house for me without telling me. Then she got mad at me when I found out and said that wasn't our plan in the first place (to have it at her house). She accused me of forcing her to delay the installation of new windows in her house. We hadn't even set a date!! I emailed her politely, told her I loved her, blah blah, but please don't be mad because we've done NOTHING WRONG. She responded with a nasty, accusatory email saying it was a shame I'd chosen to behave like this, or some such nonsense.

 

Not a great start to a lifelong relationship...

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It was probably their superior imagination that helped the Americans win the war against mighty Grenada ... but why did all their other post-WWII military adventures fail so miserably up until the present day?

Lack of imagination--political, social, economic, military.

 

Imagination in these spheres largely involves being able to visualize alternative outcomes to the situation you find yourself in, not merely "thinking creatively."

If you look at the way the US has handled relations with South America or with the Middle East--as a nation we chose these routes because we could not envision any other course of action working out. More and more we just trot out the same old "War as metaphor for everything..." trope. War on Terror. War on Drugs. War on Whatever.

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It's great to watch Germans on Wer Wird Millionär?

 

the worst possible double public humiliation as they must first admit they aren't sure about an answer then lose money when they get it wrong

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"Vertrauen ist gut, Kontrolle ist besser." I totally agree with flint24 and Milton that the reason Germans have difficulty dealing with "errors" is because they see them all as some kind of huge flaw that's going to destroy everything they know to be true. OK, maybe I'm exaggerating, but the point is, they don't seem to be able to handle mistakes of any kind without excessive drama and hurling verbal abuse at whoever's in close range. Sometimes I find the best thing to do is just hurl it back, but that doesn't feel very good. I'm looking for another way.

It's like a nation of bratty pre-pubescents behavior-wise. Did you observe Germans driving alone in a car? They histrionically gesticulate and pantomine and yell and cuss and tsk-tsk and head shake and hammer against the steering wheel for every little slight, real or imagined ... as if anyone can hear or see it except their self-absorbed petty little selves. They look like unfunny versions of Roberto Begnini as the taxi driver in Night on Earth about three minutes in. When I see all that nonesense going on in my rearview mirror, I like remain completely expressionless whilst pulling away from traffic lights exxxxxtra slooooow and squirting my front and back windshields with undiluted antifreeze about 50 times, until their heads appear to be on the verge of actually exploding. Don't get mad ... get even.

 

 

Not a great start to a lifelong relationship...

I suggest you start drinking heavily.

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I suggest you start drinking heavily.

I guess that's how the locals deal with it! ;-)

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Yes, the admit they are wrong and they apologize when it is needed. The problem is there is big difference between when you think an apologize is needed compare to what Germans think.

 

Another stupid thread.

An apology is needed when you make an accusation and are wrong about it. I think everyone can pretty much agree on that. So... show us an example in this thread where person being accused (the Auslander) was actually wrong, and the person doing the accusing (the German) was actually right, but the accused (Auslander) still insisted on an apology for the accusation (whew). I think you're missing the point ;)

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It's a cultural thing, people from some countries apologize for everything, people from other countries apologize only in extreme situations. Going to another country and expecting things to be like in your country is not logical.

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I think he meant the difference between an apology and admitting that you were wrong. You can admit that you were wrong without an apology, because being wrong isn't itself a bad thing (like a bad habit). Of course if you were rude and wrong together, an apology might be in order.

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It was probably their superior imagination that helped the Americans win the war against mighty Grenada ... but why did all their other post-WWII military adventures fail so miserably up until the present day?

Post war German immigration? LOL, just kidding. Couldn't resist :)

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It's a cultural thing, people from some countries apologize for everything, people from other countries apologize only in extreme situations. Going to another country and expecting things to be like in your country is not logical.

Not apologize for everything, just admit to being wrong when you're wrong. And don't hold grudges about it. Nobody's perfect or expecting you to be perfect. It's all we ask...

 

 

I think he meant the difference between an apology and admitting that you were wrong. You can admit that you were wrong without an apology, because being wrong isn't itself a bad thing (like a bad habit). Of course if you were rude and wrong together, an apology might be in order.

Genau. I personally look at it like, if you put yourself out their by accusing someone of something, and then proven wrong, by the almighty Gods of karma and morality you owe that person the respect to at least admit it.

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Genau. I personally look at it like, if you put yourself out their by accusing someone of something, and then proven wrong, by the almighty Gods of karma and morality you owe that person the respect to at least admit it.

True, but it seems like that needs a strong personality to follow through, especially if it was a heated argument. And to be honest I don't find much difference between people from different countries on the internet in that case. Most people attack first and vanish later if proven wrong. I am guilty of that myself sometimes even if I try to avoid it.

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Not apologize for everything, just admit to being wrong when you're wrong. And don't hold grudges about it. Nobody's perfect or expecting you to be perfect. It's all we ask...

I don't know which kind of Germans the TTers know, but the ones I know are pretty normal and they accept when they are wrong. The level of stubbornness might be higher, but once they learn they were in the wrong they do not have major problems.

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To paraphrase something I remember reading on military strategy: in World War II, the Germans started out with better equipment, better discipline and more manpower. But they lacked imagination.

Hmh, the last time I looked at a map and compared Germany with the British Empire, the USSR and the USA, I thought that the Germans had rather a little bit too much imagination to think that they could win that conflict.

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Indeed!

 

One of the things that strikes me about Germany is that it's a society built for security. There are probably long historic reasons for this, but the result is a country of the world's best engineers - logic, order, safety and comfort matter hugely. But part of being ordered and having everything fit together is you have to respect hierarchy and there are consequences for getting things wrong.

 

This has been the biggest culture shock for me as an Australian. Our historic background being what it was (dumped in a hostile terrain) means improvisation and initiative are very highly valued. Things were going to go wrong anyway, so anybody who can make them go less wrong is welcome. So I find it baffling when I see people who see it as their public duty to complain about services or whatever, who then stay quiet at work when they know something could be done better, because the boss has spoken.

 

Then again, they've got a much better train system than we do, so I guess everything has its place.

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