Culture shock for Germans when visiting Australia

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I was in Glassons (hey, it was the new Breast Cancer t-shirts) and the girl at the till liked my lipcolour, so we had a chat for 5 minutes about random stuff like she had been to the dentist's in the morning and her mouth was still puffy, so she wanted a cheer-up pressie, another girl covered her till and off she dashed to Farmer's.

 

It's like casual flirting - a little pick-me-up for all concerned.

Like horses to water and drinking really, you can't make someone understand that doesn't want to.

 

Bugger, I should not have mentioned flirting - another big difference between Germany and elsewhere...

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Quite an interesting topic. Mainly because i'm wondering if this is a fundamental difference between 'new world' and 'old world'. I mean, i was brought up in the UK, i've been to neither the US nor Oz, but I somehow think that the culture in Germany is more similar to the UK than many people may think. I mean, being 'reserved' and minding your own business is quite common etiquette in England, like it is here in Germany. On saying that, in the UK you do come across the ocassional chirpy soul who may just spark up a conversation with you; that also happens in Germany too.

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Tell your husband you think his friends are fucking idiots (that's important, not just idiots), but that you'll tolerate and be nice to them because they are his friends. Let him know that they're his frineds and you respect that friendship, but after what's happened they'll never be your friends.

 

Then never be friendly to them again, be nice, be curteous, but never friendly.

 

...and maybe point out that you were never as rude and disrespectful to his "Friends" as they were to his wife.

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God, it sounds like your Bavarian friends just need to chill out and stop behaving like uptight Germans.

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Tell your husband you think his friends are fucking idiots (that's important, not just idiots), but that you'll tolerate and be nice to them because they are his friends. Let him know that they're his frineds and you respect that friendship, but after what's happened they'll never be your friends.

 

Then never be friendly to them again, be nice, be curteous, but never friendly.

 

...and maybe point out that you were never as rude and disrespectful to his "Friends" as they were to his wife.

I agree with these sentiments. This is not down to mere cultural (in)difference...they also behaved badly towards the OP. Then to start speaking in Bavarian afterwards and leaving the OP out of the conversation...more bad manners. I wouldn't miss their friendship!

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Hey Swanwald,

 

Yep,...we did have that conversation the next day. It was a hard one to have because my husband ultimately wants us all to be best pals - after all they're his best pals. But, just because you fall in love with someone doesn't mean that will, or have to love their friends. Admitedly I didn't call them fucking idiots (although I really wanted to). He knows that I will be nice, courteous and pleasant to this travel group in the future, but he also knows that that is not for their sake. Not his choice,...mine,..and is for the sake of other people around them. There are some really great people in the orignial group of freinds, and I wouldn't want to make them uncomfortable in social situations. There were two on that night who basically went to town on me, and those two,...my husband now knows, will not get a single pieced of my soul again. Nice, courteous and pleasant,...but as you said,...never friendly.

 

But I guess I just wanted to try and undertstand it a little more. There are so many things that I find hard to understand,...and then there are others which I figure out with very little pain or stress. Some of you have been here for so long, and it has really helped me at times to come on line and read some of the posts. I might read stuff that sometimes that I don't agree with, but sometimes I read a take on something that I hadn't considered before and it really helps.

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I agree, this isn't just a cultural difference. This is personal problem these two have and to talk in such a way to your host is realy bad manners.

 

I would tell my partner that although they are his friends I will no longer meet with them as couples or wish to have them in my home.

 

They are rude and ignorant people who seem to have problem with things that are 'different'.

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Sounds like your hubbys friends are the superficial tossers here!

 

I bet the same pair are the sort that have been everywhere and nowhere and would think the same kind of friendliness was great if you (IE the natives) were sat around in Mudhuts.

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I Then to start speaking in Bavarian afterwards and leaving the OP out of the conversation...more bad manners.

Agreed. Speaking in Bavarian is VERY bad manners!

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I did some stuff at uni with the International Association and one of the things I helped with was orientation for newly arrived exchange students. One of the things I always pointed out to them was that in Australia, when someone asks "How are you?", they don't (as a general rule) want to know. It is a formulaic part of the greeting process and the expected response is something short and either neutral or positive - good thanks, not bad etc. So it would be fair to say that it is an insincere enquiry. Just like when I arrive to start work at my Nebenjob delivering pizza. There are generally 4 or 5 of us (drivers) standing around waiting for something to do and there is a round af "Alles Klar?" whenever someone turns up. Nobody expects/wants me to answer with anything other then "Ja - selbst?" or something to that effect. Equally as insincere as the Australian 'How are you?' or the American 'Have a nice day!' or numerous other of the formulaic pieces of speech that function as social lubricant among strangers or acquaintances who have to intereáct for some reason other than choice. As for further conversation with my co-workers, I can't seem to remember spending much time discussing the finer points os Kantian philosophy or the depth of my emotional connection to my wife or how deeply I sometimes miss my friends in Australia and so on. But we do talk quite a bit about what happenend in the latest roudn of the Bundesliga or (with a Pakistani co-worker) the latest cricket scores. Sure we may be sincere supporters of HSV or some other team but it ain't like it is a serious conversation - it is the talk of men who may not have anything else in common and are in a situation where they have to spend often extended periods in each others company.

 

Anthropological studies suggest that as much as 80% of human verbal communication, regardless of the relationship between those involved, is of little meaning beyond a function in bonding those involved or facilitating social interaction between individuals who have no prior connection between them (e.g. someone serving you in a shop or other situation).

 

So what your friends are in reality complaining about, ignoring for the moment the possibility that at least some of the Australians in question were likely to be genuinely interested in talking to someone from another country/culture, is the fact that Australian insincerity is not the same as German insincerity, that many of the unwritten rules of Australian (or US or Canadian or UK or wherever the smeg else) social interaction are different from those in German society and that is just the way it is.

 

As someone pointed out earlier in the thread, many of the Toytown members like to have a bitch about German social etiquette (or perceived lack thereof) and I am no exception. I suppose the key here is accepting that those differences, whilst they may be annoying to you personally, are not wrong as such, they are just differnet ways of doing things.

 

What I would find galling in your position, melbel, is the fact that these folks refuse to accept the fact that these are just differences not failures on the Australian end of things and continue to insist that the German way is best. Good luck with getting through an unenviable situation.

 

(Then again maybe it was just the fact that they were in Melbourne, as all of us from the blessed state of NSW know, there is just something not quite right about you Mexicans ;) )

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Melbourne rocks!! :D

 

hey,...the latest statistics show that many Aussies are moving down to little mexico. Apparently they luuuuuurv it. :P

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given the choice i'd rather be in oz than here but 'she' wouldn't go...

 

guten appetit... why do they give a fcuk...? but they say it. superficial, oder?

 

you take the whole package, beit the language, customs or person...

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Seems to me some Bavarians are a special breed. This people were plain stupid and rude and should've stayed at home. Don't waste any more thoughts on them, just ignore them as best as you can.

 

Greetings from Melbourne - currently still 28 degrees :D

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Hi Germania,

 

Spoke with my grandmother earlier today and she told me thta tomorrow it's going to reach 40 degrees in Melbourne. Good luck. And remember,...slip, slop, slap.

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Has anyone got some advise or thoughts they might offer? Should I let it go, or should I try and work this misunderstanding out? Remember these people aren't going anywhere, and nor am I. I married their best friend, and he married me. In all honesty I'm a little scared of having another conversation about it simply because of how the last one turned out. I think I understand the differences which are at play here, it's just that I feel really yuck after all of it.

This post is coming out all in pieces - I think I've had too little sleep and too much caffeine. But I have to add my bit because I spent Christmas 2005 at home in Melbourne, and had the in-laws along too. The entire trip was a disaster and was the final straw leading up to my divorce. My Australian family went to incredible lengths to try to make the Schwiegereltern comfortable, but it still all went pear-shaped.

 

Advice. Regardless of how you now handle your bavarian friends, it's essential that you have your husband's support. The counterpart to their judgement would be saying that because they're Germans and choose who they are friendly to, that they can never really understand what being friendly is about. Hopefully he understands that they've hurt you by labelling you intrinsically superficial. Allow time to heal your hurt, use your husband's support, and soon you'll be able to make light of the differences between you and them. "Ich bin's, die oberflächlichen Australierin!" And there are still plenty of Germans who appreciate being around someone who's not so... stuffy.

 

But you also need to become more thick-skinned. Don't turn into a cold German, but you should accept that they will probably never understand your way of life, and that it's their loss. If they make an effort to understand, then you can talk about it, but otherwise don't bother.

 

Just did a quick search, looking for something explaining the Aussie way of life, but this is the best I came up with: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A721243 Give it a read - at least it might make you smile. :)

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I'm sorry about your marraige Mat-T

 

That must of been tough.

 

And thanks for that link. You were right, it made me smile.

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Yep 40 degrees in autumn - too much for me - I'll stay indoors :rolleyes:

 

But how could I forget...end of 2006 my mother in law visited Germany for the first time since she moved as a kid nearly sixty years ago from Germany to Australia. The second the plane hit the runway she was miserable. She was miserable all those weeks, no matter how much my family bend over backwards. Mind you this woman is miserable here as well - first one to complain, to whine and embarress the whole family.

There are some people out there who are never happy and as little understanding as I have for them, sometimes they cross our path...After this disaster holidays of ours I totally ignore her. Even my husband is still embarressed. Good thing about it was, he finally saw her the way she really is - which I by the way worked out within days - and that was 10 years ago.

Now one could argue because she is German she is the way she is. Nö - I don't think so. I've never come across any other person like that before and I lived 32 years in Germany.

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