This one is for you: our German-American friends: Making and finding German friends: it takes time and is a planned matter. As an American, I would consider myself being a pretty bad friend in German terms and here’s why:
The expectations bar is set pretty high
No, you can’t just walk in, grab a beer from the fridge and say hi to my dog before noticing me. Please use the Klingel (doorbell), call 30min before arriving, take off your shoes without asking, put on the guest slippers, shake my hand, say my house looks nice and then you’ve earned something to drink, don’t you think? And yes I said…. Guest slippers (a.k.a slippers for visitors).
This depends on the Gastgeber (host) of course… Do not ask if you can help clean up or wash dishes after the meal. Stay put, on your butt, enjoy your selected Kaiserstühler wine and become a small-talk expert. Even asking to help could be understood in a wrong fashion and you could expect the answer: “No that is really alright, our dogs love cleaning everything up for us in advance”. Hehe… just kidding. I get the feeling that the average German friend wants to make sure that nothing goes kaputt or gets banged up by an improper wash-up. But who doesn’t, right?
German friends – Plans for next time
Plans for the next treffen (meet/ hang-out/dinner) shall be planned, but only if you really mean it. As an American, you usually say: “hey, it would be great to do dinner at our place next week” to be polite, and it just needs to be said right? It’s like saying: “Thanks for having us”, right? No. And in this case: Never say that to a German, and I mean never: unless you really mean it. They will take you for your word and heck, when an American says it, you don’t ever know if they really want to see your face again or not.
And as for us… My wife isn’t a believer of guest slippers yet, but we do have the Kaiserstühler wine for small-talk! Thanks for stopping in and until next week. In the meantime, go and find some German friends! Interested in more of German friends topics? Read How to not make German friends II