Germans are often criticised for not being polite, but for following the rules. However, in the midst of coronavirus crisis, Germans are not only committed and disciplined but presenting themselves as strong team players:
"I have never seen the Germans so relaxed"
I work with expats from all over the world and these are the sentences I hear almost every day right now: "The Germans suddenly seem so friendly!" "They seem so relaxed and positive!" "Everybody is calm and helpful!". In my view, Germans perform at their best when times become difficult. They follow the rules, they remain calm, they help each other and they stick together. The overall atmosphere in my home town Hamburg is currently extremely relaxed and optimistic, although many people are facing financial problems in addition to the threat posed by coronavirus. People are helping each other, supporting each other and caring about elderly or disabled neighbours. You suddenly will have Germans chatting to you while you are seated on a park bench (this usually never happens!), people will smile at you out of the blue (this is also extremely rare!) and the only rules that need to be followed right now are all the rules related to coronavirus. I love the Germans right now.
Why is everybody in Germany suddenly so friendly?
I believe that the Germans are generally quite relaxed, but they tend to appear tense just because they always try to do their best. Especially when it comes to speaking English, the Germans get very tense. I believe that there is no other nation in the world, that is as perfectionist when it comes to speaking English as the Germans. They literally do not want to make any mistake. For expats, this focus on perfect and fluent English can come across as being closed off, or even rude. You have to understand the Germans and their stoic nature in order to love them. The German attitude may seem unfriendly at first, but there is a keen sense of community and social conscience. The health care system is one of the best and the social system is more developed than in most countries of the world.
Right now self-discipline can save lives
Self-discipline is the key measure to help fight coronavirus. Germans are known across the globe for being very well-disciplined and at the moment, in the midst of this crisis around coronavirus, this disciplined mindset of the Germans could save many lives. The most interesting fact, however, is that although nearly everybody in Germany willingly commits to the rules around coronavirus prevention, the overall atmosphere seems to improve. Despite all the stereotypes around Germans (too dominant, too patronising, too impatient, cold and egocentric), they seem to be pretty strong team players after all.
I'm Natalie Marby, an English speaking therapist in Hamburg, Germany. I offer psychotherapy and couples therapy in English. I offer all my counselling sessions over the phone as well as in my office. To contact me, you can send me an email or call me: +49 40 40 46090233. (Please don't forget to send me your phone number and the times I can reach you). I look forward to hearing from you!