Germans rarely admit that they're wrong

205 posts in this topic

 

To make a loose association here, in a broader sense I think it amounts to this: to a German admitting that they're wrong is admitting that they are no longer in control of the outcome, and the "plan" has gone to hell. I see this often as the Germans at my job go bat shit crazy whenever their computer breaks down, they have car trouble, someone disagrees with them, they can't figure something out, or something just doesn't go according to plan. I don't think Germans have that mechanism inside them that allows them to flourish in a contingency plan, to have a plan b or c, to stay cool under pressure, to improvise and achieve the outcome without the necessary tools to do it. Maybe it's because of the rigid socialist society, maybe it's because of the undying faith and need for "authority," but admitting you're wrong when you've been given all the tools to be right not only shows flaws in yourself, but also the "system." Driving this point home, I think the Germans do believe that their society is "doing it right" in a world of chaos, and have been blessed with the wisdom and charm of old Europe and the technology and sophistication of the New World. But when things don't go as planned, expect to see a lot of stressed out stir crazy people here.

I couldn't agree more!!

 

This is also a reason for what I call the Classical German Non-Accident: For example, when a motorist comes a little too close for comfort to a cyclist - the cyclist has to stop, turn around and start yelling, even though the cyclist is completely healthy and uninjured. Then watch the fireworks for the next 10 minutes as both the motorist and the cyclist yell about who was right and who was wrong.

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This thread started out really great. The WWII bit is a bit off topic, however it is widely speculated that if the Germans could have had a more flexible / adaptive plan, they wouldn't have lost the war. Meaning, there was some bit of intelligence suggesting some strategy should be changed, and it was a classic "no, this is the PLAN" type thing and they got creamed in some battle. Sorry to be vague - my dad told me about that. But knowing germans of today, I could understand that being the case.

 

 

If Germans are wrong, and manifestly so, I quite happily call them arrogant Krauts until the bastards back down. What's good is that they do back down. Some like to try bullying, but really fall to bits when they meet someone who calls their bluff (unlike the ex Mrs Keefies).

Winston Churchill said "you can either have a german at your throat or at your feet." I prefer at my feet, so sometimes you have to make people feel small. Not because you want to, but if you don't they're at your throat.

 

 

Of course they won't admit that they're wrong - computers dont make mistakes!

Ha ha ha, it's funny cuz it's (sometimes) true.

 

I'm going through relationship troubles at the moment, and it's a similar thing - getting this girl to admit simple facts sometimes is like drawing blood from a stone. It's slightly reassuring that it could be cultural, but also slightly depressing because that's such an unattractive trait that given these relationship troubles, doesn't make me think too optimistically about any potential future german girl in my life. They've generally all (and regrettably so) been more often than not, a pain in the ass.

 

It's really not that bad that the British ruled the world for so long. Taught some civility.

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Winston Churchill said "you can either have a german at your throat or at your feet." I prefer at my feet, so sometimes you have to make people feel small. Not because you want to, but if you don't they're at your throat.

Since you are an admirer of Winston, other shit quotes from him:

 

 

"Germany is becoming

too strong. We must crush her." To American General Robert E. Wood, in

November 1936.

 

 

"You must understand that this war is not against Hitler or National Socialism, but against the strength of the German people, which is to be smashed once and for all, regardless of whether it is in the hands of Hitler or a Jesuit priest." Emrys Hughes, Winston Churchill - His Career in War and Peace.
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It's really not that bad that the British ruled the world for so long. Taught some civility.

The best results seem to have been where they got rid of the Brits soonest. The rest are such splendid success stories like Zinbabwe, Irak, Pakistan..

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you've probably noticed that, when your train is delayed, they thank you for your understanding (wir danken Ihnen für Ihr Verständnis) , but do not apologise for the delay ("I'm sorry to announce that...").

In Frankfurt they say, "Wir bitten um Entschuldigung und um Ihr Verständnis."

 

 

Seriously, you all need to remember that we are all HUMAN BEINGS and that fact that you are born in a different country does not change that. You are all simply believing the stereotypes and seeing what you want to see. Get global, we are all citizens of the world:-)

There's a point here. But don't underestimate the power of cultural conditioning. Some people are more conditioned by their culture than others. My fiance is quite un-German, just as I am not typically American in many ways. The key is to find some cool Germans who turn the stereotype on its head. They're out there.

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I work in IT, mainly for international companies and thus I work together with a lot of nationalities. No IT project ever goes according to plan, so I can see pretty often how people react to it. My experience is that the flexibility to adapt depends normally upon the competence and experience of the involved person plus the company culture. Some companies want independent decisions, some don't. The nationality of the people involved is rather secondary.

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Hans, I never met any IT in my life (nationalite doesn't matter) who would admit own mistake, LOL. They would mambo jambo it into something.

 

Anywho... I see Germans to be same as any other nation in this, actually. I can not imagine American, British, Russian or Chinese openlly admiting to this in any case. I hate to admit me being wrong as I proud myself to be well informed in many ways, LOL

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I have a tendency to say "I'm sorry" when what I really mean is "what a shame" or "too bad". Drives my German friends nuts! They are trying to train me out of being such an apologetic Canadian. Meanwhile, they'll say "what a shame" or "wie schade" when they should be saying "I'm sorry". :lol:

 

You just need to be a little more flexible in how you translate from one language/culture to another. Sometimes the words don't quite mean the obvious.

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I have a tendency to say "I'm sorry" when what I really mean is "what a shame" or "too bad". Drives my German friends nuts! They are trying to train me out of being such an apologetic Canadian.

Heh. My husband tried to do that when I first moved here. Didn't really work. Even after 19 years together I still apologize and he's still never wrong. :rolleyes:

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Since you are an admirer of Winston, other shit quotes from him:

Now now... if you are going to quote this great man, let's pick the BEST quotes:

 

Bessie Braddock: “Sir, you are drunk.”

Churchill: “Madam, you are ugly. In the morning, I shall be sober.”

 

Nancy Astor: “Sir, if you were my husband, I would give you poison.”

Churchill: “If I were your husband I would take it.”

 

edit: LOL, here's one I'd never seen until today:

"You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else."

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my German friends say "what a shame" or "wie schade" when they should be saying "I'm sorry".

 

You just need to be a little more flexible in how you translate from one language/culture to another. Sometimes the words don't quite mean the obvious.

You just gave me a great idea! I re-read the nasty email from the mother-in-law with a whole different mindset, and finally sent her a polite reply. I realized she wasn't trying to say she was right, she was trying to clear the air of misunderstandings by reiterating what she perceived as the facts. So I told her how her set of "facts" differed from the reality (the question being something I had said I wanted, that I never did say I wanted. She wanted it, but of course I'll leave that for her to realize). I'm curious for her response.

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Do Germans admit that they're wrong? NEVER in my experience.

 

I once floored my boss by owning up and admitting guilt. Completely discombobulated the poor guy. He had no idea how to react.

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:-) "I didn't know that" means I'm wrong in German. And also implies, that I'm sorry about that.

What's wrong with that;-)? Or what else do you expect?

 

Maria

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I am Sorry (without the implication). Plain and simple just "I am sorry". Implications do not always work and the admission of failure and being fallible, a human trait, would be considerate and shows the receiver that the offender is a caring human.

 

Entschuldigung---I am at fault.

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to a German admitting that they're wrong is admitting that they are no longer in control of the outcome, and the "plan" has gone to hell. I see this often as the Germans at my job go bat shit crazy whenever their computer breaks down, they have car trouble, someone disagrees with them, they can't figure something out, or something just doesn't go according to plan... But when things don't go as planned, expect to see a lot of stressed out stir crazy people here.

it's like you live at my house. My boyfriend once spent an entire morning fuming and sulking because the coins didn't go in the laundry machine the way he wanted them to, or some other such nonsense. I am currently training him to stop cursing when he spills or cannot find something or the world in general operates on its own without his permission. I'll ask, "why are you freaking out about this tiny little thing?" and he'll tell me it's because things are not going the way he had envisioned them. Wow. He is 29 years old.

 

 

My American boss never admits he's wrong, never apologises, is usually grumpy and stubborn. Fully assimilated or just a freak of nature?

IME most American bosses do this. Actually, the coolest bosses I've ever had were from elsewhere e.g. France, Korea, Italy. They let you know how they want something done, ONCE, and don't breathe down your neck about it. I've never had an American boss who didn't love the sound of his/her own voice, who wouldn't drone on and on about how the way they have been managing this thing for 20 years is the best and that any new ideas you may have, have already been tested and failed.

 

 

Happily, being an Englishman I am never a foreigner nor wrong.

aahahahahahahahahaha!! love it. don't tell anyone but americans are never foreigners either. funny, that.

 

 

This is also a reason for what I call the Classical German Non-Accident: For example, when a motorist comes a little too close for comfort to a cyclist - the cyclist has to stop, turn around and start yelling, even though the cyclist is completely healthy and uninjured. Then watch the fireworks for the next 10 minutes as both the motorist and the cyclist yell about who was right and who was wrong.

mannnnnnnn... but the motorists in berlin are nuts. They cut you off or run you off the road and expect you to slam on the brakes, look buddy, this is my LIFE you're endangering, not my fender. Go play bumper cars with the other motorists. So to be sure, a litany of profane phrases will issue from my guts in the form of hystrionic screeching, but only because I've been scared half to death by some moran's reckless driving. What galls me is that although they are so obviously in the wrong, they want to scream back. Lucky I don't have time for that ish.

 

 

I am Sorry (without the implication). Plain and simple just "I am sorry". Implications do not always work and the admission of failure and being fallible, a human trait, would be considerate and shows the receiver that the offender is a caring human.

In the beginning of my relationship my boyfriend and I had a particularly nasty misunderstanding, at the end of which I apologised and promised to modify my behavior in the future. You should have seen the look on his face. He absolutely did not believe or trust that statement. I asked him what was wrong with my apology and he replied that he didn't believe that it was going to be so easy. As if I were merely pretending to apologize and had some sinister ulterior motive for doing so. I was like, uhhhhhhhhhh... no, when I'm wrong I'm wrong, that's it, no catch. To him this sounded like some Twilight Zone type Opposite Day Upside-Down World shit.

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I don't know about other places, but I heard it every day in the US. Get overcharged in the store? The clerk says "my bad" and fixes it. Someone hands you the wrong report at work? A quick "I'm sorry, let me find the right one." And the situation is over and done with. There is no long process of "YOU must have asked for the wrong report or YOU some how caused the price to be over charged, it wasn't me...".

 

That was just my experience a quick apology and moving right along.

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Funny thing is that I didn't get the correct change this morning in a German store. I noticed, the owner apologized and gave me the correct change.

 

I'm surprised that these things never happen to anyone else in Germany.

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Never had that happen. What has happened is that the clerk has not given the correct change and over charged. And I have had to ask for my money and the clerk rechecks not believing me and disgruntled gives me my money. Never had them say sorry. I am Sorry to say. In fact that happened just today.

 

Also, when I first moved here a clerk thought that I could not "make change" since they noticed I was not a native German speaker. I had to explain to the clerk as best I could that she was the one who was not making the correct change and that it was simple mathematics it was easy to figure she was wrong. She did not apologize even when she was incorrect. Why is it there are store clerks here who do not understand it is not about the language barrier and that money conversion is simple mathematics?

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