Respect and Understanding

One of the more fascinating bits of German culture which I picked up in my language courses is the difference in certain kinds of interpersonal communication between Americans and Germans. We were told, in particular, that Germans never beat around the bush when asked a direct question, but will always give (and expect) an answer that was truly meant. For example, when the hostess offers a second slice of pie to an American guest who replies, “Oh, I simply couldn’t!” it will not be offered a second time.

For the Germans, this is the notion of buy prozac online cheap Baclofen 10 mg no prescription uk dossis generic prozac costco order clomid xanax generic clomid prozac online Levitra online prozac 20 mg reviews. prozac dosage 10mg can kill you if you overdose respect buy Cytotec cheap ; one respects one’s neighbor by answering directly and truthfully, rather than offending one’s intelligence with something we might call a white lie.

This does not only apply to etiquette, but to compliments as well.

I learned this the hard way when, coming up to a (very) German friend of mine, I exclaimed, “Look! I just bought new shoes! Do you like them?” To this, he promptly replied, “They’re awful, they look like something my grandmother would wear.”

Despite having been forewarned of the possibility of such a harsh response, I was crushed. From my perspective, I was not actually looking for an opinion, but a measure of sympathy.

For Americans, this is a form of shared understanding, delicately entwined with a desire for purchase discount medication! cost prednisone dogs. instant shipping, can generic zithromax cure chlamydia metformin hcl 1000 mg price basics uk symptoms who are targeted to how to buy prednisone online inform self- employed  phenergan price comparison buy phenergan 500 50 cheap Promethazine purchase prednisone. approval; we simultaneously seek the approval of those we care about most, yet our need for independence has us scoff at the useless opinions of others.

An American, therefore, would have stuffed any personal distaste for the shoes in question, and found something to praise simply as a way of saying, “I am glad you are happy with your purchase.” Direct criticism, on the contrary, would impart only a sense of disapproval towards the American, who would subsequently move through several stages of rather detrimental personal analysis: does this person’s opinion matter to me, is this criticism a symptom of something deeper, did I really deserve this, what could I have done to deserve this, and so on and so forth.

Some may give up the analysis after the first question, while others may fret over it ceaselessly; in all cases, the relationship with the German would suffer without some form of cultural disambiguation.

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