Adam Fletcher is a thirty-year-old, bald Englishman living in Berlin. When not writing books and articles, he mostly spends his days dreaming up a whole range of largely unsuccessful products for his business The Hipstery, eating chocolate and napping.
In his new book Adam explains “How Be German in 50 easy steps“. Read the last two free chapters in our final preview – Enjoy!
18. Say what you mean
English is not about what you say, but how you say it. German is both, but more the former. So what Germans say tends to be direct and prepared with minimal ambiguity. Ruthlessly efficient, if you will. In English, for example, if you want someone to do something for you, you do not merely go up to that person and ask them to do something for you. Oh no. Th at would be a 28 large faux pas of the social variety. Instead you must first enquire about their health, their family’s health, their children’s health, the weather, the activities of the previous weekend, the plans of the upcoming weekend, the joy or sorrow related to the outcome of the most recent televised football match, and only then, finally, can you say ‹by the way,› after which you can begin the actual point of the conversation, before reinforcing that you feel guilty for having to ask, and only if it’s no trouble, but would they be so kind as to possibly do this little thing for you. You will be eternally grateful.
Germans do not dance around the point in such elaborate, transparent displays of faux friendship. They just say ‹I need this, do it, by this date. Alles klar?› then walk off . Once you’ve practiced regularly getting to the point, you may fi nd the way to be short but very enjoyable.As for saying what you mean, Germans have rightly realised that sugar coating is best reserved for cakes. If I’m having one of my momentary delusions of grandeur, I know I can always rely on my German girlfriend to bring me swift ly back down to reality by saying something like ‹Get over yourself, we’re all born naked and shit in the toilet.›
33. Feel mixed about Berlin
Alright, young Ausländer. We can’t have you holed up in your stuffy Wohnung for too much longer. At some point you’ll have to get out there and explore all the exotic corners of this fine, large, Wurstparadies of a country. So let’s devote a few steps of this guide to helping you in your geographic endeavours. First up, Berlin. The average German has a complex relationship to their Hauptstadt. Berlin is the black sheep of the German family. Creative, unpunctual, prone to spontaneous displays of techno, unable to pay its taxes, and overly familiar with foreigners. To many Germans, Berlin is not really their capital, but more like a giant art project or social experiment that only turns up when hung over and in need of a handout. To them, the true capital is probably somewhere more like Frankfurt. You know where you are with Frankfurt.
This was the last free chapter. If you enjoyed it – buy Adams’ wonderful book:
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