Why German doors are more intimidating than your boss (door in German: Tür)
Waiting for a meeting? Anxiously sitting in a doctor’s office? Awaiting your paperwork? Sit down, read a magazine and “shush”. The door will eventually open and here’s how you do it – Interesting facts about Germany
The “closed door”: a sign of power
Do you have your own office? Okay you are definitely a somebody. Do you have a door to your office that you always keep closed until somebody knocks? You are the freakin’ man (or woman). And if somebody wants something from you, they will have to beg for it. After this short introduction into the German way of things: here are a few tips to accomplish what you need.
Tips to properly knock on a German door and still get what you want
1. Knock on the door 3 times, full knuckled and pretty darn loud
The average American was brought up to think, open doors are the invitation into a new world, closed doors are meant to stay closed. Not in Germany. You need to knock loudly, and someone will need to hear you. Whether they like it or not. I like to call these “confidence knocks”
2. Open the door directly after knocking
Some people say “JA”, as an invitation to open the door. Open it up about 2 feet wide and poke your head in. This may seem annoying. But you want your paperwork, and you want it today. Kindly ask the person: “Do you have a few minutes” or “May I speak to (insert persons’ name you are looking for)”
3. The answer is the key into the room behind the sacred door
If the German behind the door answers in a Yes or No fashion, this is a clear sign of you having to back up and continue waiting. Never ask how long it will be and nobody is interested in you being late for work. If the bureaucrat starts speaking in full sentences, this is a clear invitation to open the door widely and begin a conversation.
The golden rules:
You know exactly what you want, before knocking on a German door.
You know exactly how much it costs, before knocking on a German door.
You are kind, yet direct at all times, when knocking on a German door.
As for my wife and I, we keep the front door closed most of the time, just in case. Speaking of paperwork, planning on getting married to an American or married to a German in Germany? Or simply read more about Germany culture shock.