Most/least friendly areas of Germany

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Your impressions are right John! Maybe your comments are too, so I think I'll stay in Germany a bit longer. I also get the impression that you and I are about the same age - late fifties- sixties? I often wonder how far age influences ability to settle happily in another country. Does age make you less tolerant?

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@John g.: I'd have not trouble agreeing with you that horrible people can be found everywhere. But my expectations regarding educated people, no matter where, are not matched in Germany. Obviously, the trouble you had in Indonesia or UK are with the lower, non-educated part of every society. I am amazed how stupid educated people can be in Germany.

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ah, novel..you´re right..I´m nearly 60! Yep, something there generation-wise, eh? Am actually listening to Pink Floyd in the background ( might do a bit of The Who later!!).

Age is a factor in many of our choices in life, I reckon. When I was less than nearly 60 (!!) :D , I travelled widely, rucksack, sleeping bag, cassette recorder, naive, open to new cultures and languages, smart but dumb, healthy... I loved it! And I had the energy to put up with the negative sides...no money, nothing to eat, nowhere to sleep ( apart from fire stations..but that´s an inside story waiting for Hollywood to discover me!!)..didn´t care about rules and regulations of the visa people/customs officers - you won´t let me in? Sod you! Found a way! ALWAYS!!

 

Age has made me more tolerant of younger people...they often remind me of myself ...clever, open but dumb and naive!!! ( NO ageism intended!)...it´s OLDER people I can´t stand IF they are xenophobic, intolerant of children playing football or walking on their grass and think they´re better than others just because they have a bloody fat Mercedes! (Or a stupid gnome in the garden).

 

Give Germany a further try, novel - it´s your next novel! And PLEASE be less boring than Heinrich Böll!

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@John g.: I'd have not trouble agreeing with you that horrible people can be found everywhere. But my expectations regarding educated people, no matter where, are not matched in Germany. Obviously, the trouble you had in Indonesia or UK are with the lower, non-educated part of every society. I am amazed how stupid educated people can be in Germany.

 

I agree with you, mts, that educated people can be stupid here ..same as anywhere. By stupid I mean: lack of empathy for other people´s problems, including newcomers´, total monocultural thinking patterns , academic coldness towards alternative thinking etc.

I like two kinds of persons: educated, open, friendly, kind, child and animal friendly but not dumb.

 

Second type: uneducated, open, friendly, kind, child and animal friendly but not dumb.

 

Just remembered the third type I like - when someone from the Finan B) zamt forgets to send me the bill!!

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Well John I'm 60 too! I have already written one novel that takes place in Germany. The one I am currently writing also takes place in Germany but its underlying theme is fathers and sons. Your life sounds a bit like mine. Wonder if our paths crossed at some point. I have a 6-year-old who keeps me young!

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Another informative thread on Toytown, Shock/Horror! I spent some time walking around just outside of Frankfurt-Main and actually no drama at all. When I couldn't find the Fed Ex depot at Frankfurt Airport and the bus driver spoke no English, he found somebody that did and I got where I needed to go, nothing hostile about that.

 

I would rate Frankfurt high as its a business center meaning far more international feel than most cities that don't have major banks/financial institutions. Plus if I'm not mistaken EU offices are in Frankfurt, that would add to the sense of being welcomed generally. I took for granted the entire time that people could either understand me or spoke English.

 

In the more rural areas of any country I would think being able to speak the language is required for any type of normal interaction with the locals.

 

Of course people can be stupid and I agree there are equally dangerous parts of America for African-Americans, at least Germans aren't running over gay Black Men, dragging them from the back of a truck or being shot by self-appointed Neighborhood Watchmen (those just being a few examples of America's constant struggle with its dark history).

 

I always find it much easier to start friendships with people of common interest and socialize with them instead of striking up conversations like I would normally do here in Southern California; Only the women are Mean Muggin or being aloof here.

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Well, we moved to Dortmund 6 days ago now, and my wife and I are both remembering what it's like to get a smile on the street from complete strangers - people had told us before we moved here how friendly Dortmunders were, but to realise that first hand makes us both very hopeful about establishing a base here.

 

On the other hand, we've also had a lot of (white) Germans expressing surprise, and occasionally outright horror when we've told them which part of Dortmund we're living in: "oh but there are a lot of Turkish there, or?'" It's true, our neighbourhood is mostly Turkish, but we've been given no reason to think that that is going to have any negative effect on our life here. Admittedly, having an apartment that is bigger than anything we could have hoped to live in in Berlin helps a lot. ;)

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how do we define bad behaviour? Driving? Try Greece as an example. Plus the whole of Latin America! And much of Asia!

 

You want anti-foreigner? Try Jakarta

 

Pub in London many years ago. 6 English guys playing snooker. 6 or 7 Italians also playing snooker. One of the English guys " this is a fucking English pub "...out on the streets. I managed to cool it down ( and nearly had a heart attack).

 

Multiplied by nearly 60 years of stupid barbaric behaviour everywhere. PLUS great behaviour! All I´m saying is some people are fine, some are not fine and it´s everywhere.

 

You put it very well john. I can think of plenty of ugly behaviour in England and London, not least amongst the low level chav class the UK has. What about the riots last summer in England.. And the English are supposed to be "gentlemen" ?!

 

I guess we should focus on the positive - which is everywhere, and not get bogged down by the negative - which is also everywhere.

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John, i agree with you 100% about jakarta!! You seem to have the misfortune to be there during the barbaric 98 riots. Until now i still can't forgive the govt who did not seriously pursue justice for the victims. I hope you and your family left that shithole unscatched. Jakarta is terrible, terrible city, full of antagonism, problems, or pure criminals. Something to do with the millions of poor and lack of serious efforts by the city govt to improve the infrastructure i guess.

Well, having lived in big cities most of my life (singapore, new york, jakarta) i'm used to the indifference and ignorance people have against each other. I normally didn't chat with strangers in public trains, or avoided tourists who looked lost with a map in their hands, or didn't bother to get to know my neighbours. That was just the way it was. Thus i was quite surprised that here in small towns germany (no big cities by my standard, the biggest is barely over a million only) prople do bother with strangers, for better or worse :D it's rather annoying when neighbours got nosy and wanted to talk more than i'm comfortable with, but i actually enjoyed the small talk and the tschuss people said in the trains and lifts. The friendliness level already exceeds my own (which was previously non-existent)! Now i even started to respond to their small talk and sometimes even *gasp* tschuss people in lifts! If i ever go back to singapore/jakarta (god forbid) people there will be AMAZED and probably crown me the friendliest girl ever!

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I think there is one thing we have overlooked here. I agree with what others have said about the UK. I was in Portsmouth between 2003 and 2008 and saw some pretty uncomfortable behaviour there. However, I had no problems dealing with it in English - my native tongue - and always talked my way out of nasty situations when they occurred (which was not often). In Germany, it is almost impossible to deal with barking Germans in German (level B2) and I often find myself in situations I can't deal with verbally. This is frustrating as all you can do is stare at them or speak back in English. In other words, you are defenceless. I have reached a stage in my life when I simply don't want to deal with aggressive and rude people but being defenceless often makes it extremely difficult.

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I live in a small square in a residential part of Erding. All my neighbours are really nice and could not be friendlier - all except one (there is always one). He is the bigest, most pompous, unfriendly jerk that ever lived. The only consolation is that he clashes more with his German neighbours than us.

 

I guess that Erding may not be typical with a major international employer in the town and all the airport influences but, like most places, there are many decent, friendly human beings but a few jerks.

 

btw: I went to the pharmacy this morning to pick up my tablets and the lady spent 10 minutes asking about my wife and how we were managing with the move and how we had enjoyed living in Germany etc. Really friendly and that is not, by any means, unique.

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I haven't lived in Germany (soon!), but I've now visited twice. I've been to Berlin, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Stuttgart, Konstanz, Winterlingen, and Koln, and I have never encountered any negative or rude behavior. Everyone that I met was very friendly and when I needed help finding a location or asking for help with transportation, people were always helpful. In Koln AND in Stuttgart.

 

Just remember that there are nice people everywhere, and plenty of rude people everywhere too...it all depends on your meetings. :P

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I find Germans to be as normal as any other nation. Some people are really friendly, some more reserved and some that are idiots. So far I had very good experiences. Maybe it helps that I have very lovable kids :) For example we have an old couple living in the next house to ours. We live in a small town in the Taunus area. The lady is so nice to my kids, she always brings them toys and candy whenever she goes shopping, did help my wife with her German. They are the nicest people I have ever met. Also we were treated good by kindergarden teachers and in general people have been nice. We run into idiots also but they were not idiots to us because we are foreigners, they are just plain stupid period with anyone including Germans. It is a country of 80 million people so you will find all kinds. I think that the main problem with Germany and the perception that people have of Germans is their past. In my experience people from other countries when they hear about Germans, besides the good Engineers, they already think that they are all racists and xenophobic without knowing an actual German. So when someone moves to Germany they are already in defense and they will see anything that a German says, like telling you that you cannot park there or where to put your garbage, as a anti foreign comment. You won't be the same if you would move to UK or Sweden and if someone will tell you crap you won't see it as a xenophobic remark. In my experience the UK or Sweden (countries I have lived in) are more against foreigners than Germany. I see all the time in the British press all kinds of articles of how bad the eastern europeans are, how bad those are for the English society, and when looking at the comments there and what people are saying and agreeing with the author it is ridiculous. Also governments on a lot of countries in Europe talk shit about immigrants. I didn't see this happening in Germany. What I wrote is not intended to be against UK or Sweden and pro Germany. Not at all. I actually liked those places and sometimes I do miss them. I am just saying that Germans are people like everyone else and you will find what you find wherever you go. I also think that Germany is the least racist and xenophobic country in Europe.

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Germans are not people like everyone else and nor are the English, Zambians, French and so on. Each country you visit has a different set of values by which their lives are led. You'll find countires that are very hierarchical and countries that are not. You'll find countries that believe that the individual comes first and countries where the collective comes first. In other words, all countries are, to some extent, different. You might not recognise these value differences at first but you'll bump into them sooner or later. Try Googling Geert Hofstede. There's loads of stuff on the internet about his work on cultural differences. It's very interesting stuff. For me, I have found that living abroad can teach you a lot about your own cultural conditioning as well as the cultural conditioning of others. It's a long and fasciniating journey of self-discovery.

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It was particularly bad in the Stuttgart area. Our neighbours never talked to us (including my German wife) because I was a foreigner and they said as much. What really disturbs me is that before I came here I never really understood the Nazi era. "How could people have behaved like that," I always thought. "How could they have done what they did in Russia?" I find it much easier to understand now and Germans are giving me the creeps. Time to go, perhaps?

 

Almost 20 years in Stuttgart as an Indian with a German wife and lots of friendly neighbours at several places in the Region that I have lived, enable me to confidently state that you are either full of shit or such an obnoxious person that people would not want to speak to you anyway.

 

I can only recommend to leave.

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Germans are not people like everyone else and nor are the English, Zambians, French and so on. Each country you visit has a different set of values by which their lives are led. You'll find countires that are very hierarchical and countries that are not. You'll find countries that believe that the individual comes first and countries where the collective comes first. In other words, all countries are, to some extent, different. You might not recognise these value differences at first but you'll bump into them sooner or later. Try Googling Geert Hofstede. There's loads of stuff on the internet about his work on cultural differences. It's very interesting stuff. For me, I have found that living abroad can teach you a lot about your own cultural conditioning as well as the cultural conditioning of others. It's a long and fasciniating journey of self-discovery.

 

Very well put and I agree with you 100%. I think I have put it wrong. Sorry, not a native English speaker :) When I said that Germans are as everyone else I meant that you will find in Germany the friendly and the jerks just like everywhere else.

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Usually we get or encounter what we are are searching for unconsciously.

 

So sometimes if we get or encounter unpleasant thing we should ask ourselves if this isn't just what we for some reason just wanted to happen.

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Germans certainly avoid any explicit display of racism, but it doesn't mean that it's not there. It's simply not socially acceptable, given the past.

 

And I do not believe they are as normal as any other nation regarding the working environment. They are too used to take shit from above and pass it on to the lower ranks. Obviously, you also get pressure from above in other countries, but here they trust their leaders in a way that I couldn't believe.

 

The same uniqueness applies to the schooling system, where they are divided into (social?) classes like bees and trained to work (lkike bees?).

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In Germany, it is almost impossible to deal with barking Germans in German (level B2) and I often find myself in situations I can't deal with verbally.

 

It's also hard to judge whether people really are barking or not, as I remember. When I first came over 20 years ago, I spoke no German, and I gradually picked it up. My perception at the beginning was that Germans spoke roughly and rudely, and were mildly aggressive in everyday situations. I didn't hear any jokes or light-hearted comments. Now I understand everything I know that in fact, there are lots of jokes and funny comments, and I just didn't recognise them as such, partly as the tone of voice you use in German is different: rather more monotone with a shorter 'range'. And not as many smiles and laughs: people are more straight-faced. Now I'm fluent I hear jokes and amusing comments all the time...

 

I've also mentioned before that it took me a long while to appreciate the direct way people talk to you as a sign that they see you as an equal and expect you to be able to defend yourself if you don't like what they say. These days I can defend myself and defuse a situation, but I can well remember the frustration of not being able to respond. I was an angrier person myself when I couldn't!

 

I know, this preachy stuff is boring, but just to say that if you do bother to stay and get past the 'Aaagh! Rude!' stage then life is much nicer. Road rage kind of falls into a separate category, mind. I've avoided that by giving up driving :-D

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it is almost impossible to deal with barking Germans in German (level B2) and I often find myself in situations I can't deal with verbally.

 

LOL!

 

Barking Germans.. do you mean "barking" as in barking "woof woof" or "barking mad"?

 

(or maybe both)

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