Stereotypes are a funny concept. Yes, they oversimplify. But they are often based on real-life observations or experiences. Remember the Gaussian bell curve? Very few stereotypes are developed out of thin air. We just need to learn to take them with a grain of salt. Understanding the origins of stereotypes helps categorize their usefulness.
Not all stereotypes about behavioral preferences are helpful when trying to understand different cutures. Some may start our thought process, though. Here are some clichés about Germans I found via the Gesundheit, Suze! blog. Let me (and Suze) know what you think.
Germans have no sense of humor
My best friend once told me a joke and it goes like this: “What was Hitler most afraid of? – His gas bill!” Now you’re trying to tell me that Germans aren’t funny?
We have a sense of humor – it’s simply different.
Interesting! The Telegraph says that the structure of the German language makes jokes hard to translate. So if you happen to be non-German…
They say what they think
True. I had an American friend (he worked as a bookkeeper in Germany) who dumped me after I criticized one of his girlfriends (who constantly went out on parties while somebody else watched over her son she gave birth to in her Teenage-days). Irresponsible is what I said about her and that must have been a pretty good reason for him to dump me.
“It’s just Germans being Germans, straight and direct to the point.”
“Only a TRUE friend would be that truly honest!” (Donkey)
Read the entire article here: German Stereotypes… Are they true?.
Unfortunately, some of the stereotypes about certain people, things, … cultures are being perpetuated online. Despite the claim that the internet will make humanity smarter.
Gerd Meissner over at Germany-USA Career Center pointed this out via Twitter after he conducted a simple Google search:
Christian is a cultural trainer, coach, and consultant with extensive experience in working with multinational companies and especially in developing global leaders. He is the founder and owner of Höferle Consulting, where he leads a team of dedicated training, destination services, and expat support specialists. Christian works with global organizations (or those who are going global) to help their employees oversome cultural differences. Typically he only uses the word “normal” in quotation marks and he is an advocate for helping people understand the why of behaviors – not just the dos & don’ts. Find out more about Christian and follow him on Twitter. You can also see him, listen to him, and experience his work – just invite him! Or sign up for the Höferle Consulting newsletter.