Monday, November 19, 2012

Mix-Up Monday: Complaining

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Sorry to say this, but Germans love to complain. At first it is not very noticable, but if you spend enough time here you realize that complaining takes place all around, all the time. Of course, everyone has good reason to complain every now and again, but that is not what we are talking about. People here seem to complain about everything! The weather, the train, the color of this, the size of that, too loud, too soft. The list goes on and on...

Complaining is definitely a pretty big mix-up we have had with each other. Many times she has "complained" to him that he complains too much. Even when everything is going right somehow he still finds something to complain about. To him it was no big deal, complaining is normal, but with her cultural background, the idea that someone complains so much makes her crazy!

At least in comparison to Germany, America is a very indirect country. Often, when you want something changed or fixed you hint to it by complaining. If done correctly, the other person should pick up on what you want. Sensible? Perhaps not, but that is just how the US does it. We covered this general idea in Mix-Up Monday: Commands.

When Germans complain, for the most part, they are just filling the time. They do not necessarily care if anything is changed or feel very strongly about their complaints. For us, this meant he was complaining to just complain and she thought he was unhappy and wanted everything fixed. Can you see how this could lead to a big problem?

We don't want you to think all he does is sit around and complain. It is not like that at all! Actually, in comparison to many people we have met in Germany he is very low on the complaining scale :). The other day he actually came home and said, "Wow, you know what? Germans complain A LOT!"

This is EXACTLY what she has been trying to tell him for months! Apparently, it is not just us who think this. Article after article can be found online about this very topic.

Luckily, we now know that complaining about Germans complaining is normal and she knows better than to complain so much about his complaining :P

If you want to read more on the subject. We suggest this short, but funny, Spiegel article (in English): The German National Pastime: Whining, Bitching and Moaning.

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