German Qualities – Punctual, Proper and Everything Planned – 9 Jul 10

Western culture

I was telling about the typical German way of wanting to have everything ‘proper’. Everything has its right order. This can sometimes be very nice. I already wrote sometime that you can usually rely on Germans, they are punctual and if they say something, they do their best to keep their word. A stereotype of a German person is correct, tidy, punctual and also direct, you do not normally have to guess what they mean, they will let you know. I like these qualities, they give you something steady and makes it easy and nice to be with them. In other places I have not found these qualities that much. That is how I also love Germany and feel like my second home here.

There are however also some things that I have to laugh about from time to time. I always tell one story to explain a German character trait: A German drives in a car. He has three different maps in his car with the way already marked in them so that everything is very clear. He has planned exactly when he needed to start so that he will be five minutes early for his appointment, so he is happy because everything goes just as he imagined.

Then, suddenly, in front of him there is a wall. Just a wall on the street. He cannot keep on driving on his lane, so he stops the car in front of the wall. Confused, he grabs his maps, searches for his location on the map, finds it but sees no wall! He looks in the other two maps but also there, no wall! He starts getting nervous. What does this mean? He gets out of the car and stares at the wall. He cannot believe it! It is just there, in the middle of the way!

I always have to laugh about this story. A German person might not think of just looking left and right of the wall or drive around it, he will spend much time, staring at the wall, not comprehending that it is there. He will get stressed out, his stress will increase more and more with this one question: why is this wall here? That might even result in him giving up his plan and driving back home because he is not spontaneous enough to change plans so quickly. It was not going according to plan and that confused the whole system!

Well, what I would like to say to all Germans who sometimes get stuck in this kind of situation: be flexible, relax, there is always another way! It is good to have a plan but keep it flexible! The plan may not work out as you thought but the solution for the problem might prove much better than the original plan! I know some people get very stressed when the original plan doesn’t work out. They sometimes try not to show you their stress, they know that they should not feel this however you can see and feel that they cannot deal with the change of plan. But you do your best and then see what comes out of it. I promise you, if you can relax and just watch where life takes you, you will enjoy the journey more!

We had great ice-cream close to the Rhine river today on our last day in Wiesbaden together with Thomas and Iris.

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  1. Anonymous

    When I feel something that I intellectually understand I should not feel or in other words do not need to suffer from because it is a mis-perception what do I do?

  2. Jake L.

    Take a breath. Cry if you need to. Walk alone if you need to. Write if you need to. Take another breath. Look around and you will notice that everything is fine. You were just stuck inside your head. This helps me. Sometimes we want to feel bad. If I really don’t want to feel bad, I don’t have to.

  3. Franz

    some people think Germans are so cold! They aren’t though, they are just, generally, orderly 🙂

  4. Tricia

    My father is Dutch and so am i for that matter, but my father is VERY Dutch, and this is his motto: plan the work and then work the plan, and then if something goes wrong than you didn’t plan well enough in advance. I have to laugh at this too! Because so often when I am traveling I find that although I have planned things to the last tiny detail, still something could go wrong and something usually does and then guess what…I’ve gotta improvise.

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