Privacy / Die Privatsphäre


What is Privacy? It is the quality or condition of being secluded from the views of the other. How big is our notion of personal space? How long until we let someone into our personal lives and opinions, things that we keep private from those who we don't know. There is a huge difference in culture in respect to the questions just asked. This can lead to uncomfortable situations and sometimes bad vibes in the parties involved in these miscommunications. Here is some big aspects of differences in behavior which relate to privacy in germans and americans.

Friends / Freudin Germans may be surprised at how quickly Americans make friends, or rather how casual friendships can be. In general germans come off as shy, or distant. At a party an expat wrote that if you can say hello and get one or two sentences out of someone than you are doing well. Germans take much longer to get to know before establishing a casual friendhship. Casual friendships are far less common in german. They tend to keep longer lasting friendships and know private aspects of their friends on a more intimate level.

Smiling / Lächeln When Germans meet people they smile much less than Americans do. This does not mean that they are less happy but rather, that smiling too much can be seen can be seen as insincere. In the same way being too hospitable or too concerned about the well being of someone that you have just met seems insincere.

Shopping / Einkaufen Germans can find the american shopping experience to be a frustrating experience. They don't understand why some stranger would just blurt out hello to them, or why they are asked how they are doing. In reality it isn't that we actually care how someone is doing, we do it because its our job and because it seems polite to us.

Personal Space / Eindringen in die Privatsphäre;

Germans also exhibit behavior that may be considered unappropriate in the United States. One of these is body contact. Reading a blog a stumbled upon something called snaking. When in line sometimes germans will push up against the person they are in line with, and you are expects to push back. Americans are much more concered about nudity and clothing. Teachers in german do not have a dress code that teachers in the US do. This can sometimes lead to “scandalous” clothing by american standards.

Jokes / Spaßvogel In the United States we love playing jokes on people. However germans sometimes play jokes on neighbors walking through. One blogger living in Germany wrote that his elderly neighbors often sit by their window with a pen and paper. When he would walk by an elderly man would yell something like “Hey you! I see what you're doing and I'm calling the police!” and begin pretending to write down information. Of course, the american author of this blog was mortified at first. However he realised that this was actually a game that was played in his neighborhood, soon he would also walk around with his own paper and pen and start yelling at random people on the street as well.

Vocabulary Spaßvogel, Freudin, Die Privatsphäre, Eindringen in die Privatsphäre

ger/101/2010/fall/charles_o_connor.txt · Last modified: 2010/11/07 18:11 (external edit)
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