With these TRICKS everyone will Believe you’re GERMAN

With these TRICKS everyone will Believe you’re GERMAN

If you want to avoid the tourist status in Germany and just blend in, here are my best trips you can use.

Ich bin Spring German Lehrerin Brunhild. Hier kommen fünf Tipps, wie du dich in Deutschland integrieren kannst. (Here are 3 tips on how to blend in Germany.)

1. Typisch deutsche Ausdrücke (Typical German expressions)

Here are some typical German chunks that Germans use all the time:

  • Genau! (Right!) Which means like “hell yeah!” That’s what I just said. Genau.
  • Quatsch! (Bullshit!) Bullshit. What are you talking about? Quatsch. That’s not true.
  • Doch! (Yes!) Is too! Doch. “Doch” is impossible to translate! You’re reconfirming what you just said, which the other person is denying. How do I explain this? When you say something and someone else is like “No, that’s not true”, you can be like “doch”! So, when I say that my natural hair color is actually blonde, and you say “Quatsch”, I could be like “doch!”, you know?
  • Naja. (Oh, well.) “Naja” can be used in very different contexts, I’m just realizing. It could be like naja, whatever. Or naja, it is important this topic, or how are you doing? Naja. Not well, not bad, something in between. There are a lot of uses for naja.
  • Und jetzt? (Then what?) Why are you telling me this? Is this gonna change anything? Is this gonna make my life better or worse? When you miss the relevance in something someone says, you can say Und jetzt?
  • Ist doch wurst. (Who cares.) I think most people say Ist doch wurscht with an “sch”. Wurscht. But you write it wurst. Ist doch wurst means “doesn’t matter, does it?”

Hier kommt ein Beispiel, wie du diese Wörter im Alltag verwenden kannst. (Here is an example for how to use these expressions in your everyday life.)

Du liest zu viel.
(You read too much.)

Naja. Lesen bildet! Wusstest du, dass das erste gedruckte Buch Europas auf Deutsch war?
(Well. Reading educates! Did you know that the first book ever printed in Europe was in German?)

(No way!)

Doch, die Gutenberg-Bibel 1455. Tja.
(Yes, the Gutenberg Bible in 1455. Well.)

Heißt das, Deutschland war seiner Zeit voraus?
(Does that mean, Germany was ahead of its time?)


Naja, und jetzt? Ist doch wurst!
(Well, and then what? It doesn’t matter!)


Ist doch wurst (It doesn’t matter) literally means “But it’s sausage”.

What? Here you have that word again. Doch (yes), which means something along the lines of yes, but there is no literal translation for that word. This is a word that actually doesn’t exist in English, and I miss it a lot. Doch (yes). One Erklärung (explanation) for this expression is the sausage itself. It has two endings and it’s just “wurst” where you start. It doesn’t matter. It’s all sausage anyway. Es ist Wurst! (It doesn’t matter!)

Another Erklärung (explanation) is that the expression comes from back in the days, when Metzger (butchers) processed all the parts of Fleisch (meat) that could not be used for anything else, which we call Schlachtabfälle (remains) into Wurst (sausage). That’s still the case, by the way. Thus, the question of what to do with the so called Schlachtabfälle (remains of the slaughtered pieces) was always answered with In die Wurst damit! (“Into the sausage with it”). So still today, whenever people don’t know exactly what to do or are indifferent to a matter, we say “Ist wurst” – It’s sausage.

Meister! Was mache ich mit den Schweinefüßen?
(Master! What shall I do with the pig feet?)

In die Wurst damit!
(Into the sausage with it!)

Und mit dem Schweineschwanz?
(And with the pigs tail?)

In die Wurst!
(Into the sausage!)

Und mit den Augen und Ohren?
(And with the eyes and ears?)

Alles Wurst!
(It’s all sausage!)

2. Deine Kleidung (The clothes you wear)

I remember taking my friend from Stockholm (Stockholm) to Nürnberg (Nuremberg) the first time, and him being super shocked about the way people dress. I quote: Wow. Den Leuten hier ist es wirklich egal, wie sie aussehen. (Wow. People around here really don’t care about how they look!)

Here’s what he criticized:

  • kurze Jeans (short jeans)
  • weiße, lange Socken (white, long socks)
  • irgendein T-Shirt (a random t-shirt)

There you go! That’s a recipe for how to dress like a German who just doesn’t care. Aber kein Stil ist auch ein Stil (no style is also a style), right?

But of course the residents in some cities are more concerned about grooming than others. In my hometown, München (Munich), for example, which is very anspruchsvoll und teuer (sophisticated and expensive), people like to express their sophistication through their appearance as well. So, in cities like München (Munich) or Frankfurt am Main (Frankfurt am Main), you can also pass as normal (normal) with a Louis Vuitton Handtasche (Louis Vuitton handbag) and a Versace Anzug (Versace suit).

Of course, that’s not the whole story, the truth is that there are all kinds of styles in Deutschland (Germany). And unlike some Scandinavian countries, the whole purpose of dressing is not just to look nice and blend in, but rather das Gegenteil (the opposite): The point is to stick out to express Identität (identity) and eine Meinung (an opinion), of which Germans have many.

3. Zu allem eine Meinung haben (Having an opinion about everything)

Germans are people with Meinungen (opinions), zu allem (About everything). Which may not be so odd. I guess the part where we differ is when we feel the urge to express our Meinungen (opinions) to each and everybody. Shamelessly, mind you!

I remember discussing the usage of Plastiktüten (plastic bags) with the German party chairman Christian Lindner once. I felt that it was more than right that he should face my Kritik (criticism). And that’s exactly the self-evident attitude you need to have to pass like a true German!

Schatz, ich habe so Hunger! Können wir einen Döner holen?
(Darling, I am so hungry! Can we get a doener?)

Der Nächste, bitte!
(Next, please!)

Ich wollte Käsespätzle kochen!
(I was going to make spaetzle)

Du immer mit deinen vegetarischen Gerichten. Langweilig.
(Always you and your vegetarian dishes. Boring.)

Ihr braucht viel zu lange! Wollt ihr einen Döner oder nicht?
(You’re taking way to long! Do you want a doener or not?)

Nein! Ich finde das total unethisch, was Sie hier treiben. Massentierhaltung ist Tierquälerei, verbraucht zu viele Ressourcen und deutsches Fleisch…
(No! I find what you are doing here totally unethical. Industrial life stock farming is cruelty to animals, takes too many resources and German meat…)

…enthält zu viel Antibiotika bla bla bla.
(…contains too many antibiotics etc etc.)


Der Nächste, bitte!
(Next, please!)

Oh Gott. Dann wandern Sie doch aus, wenn es Ihnen nicht passt!
(Oh god. So then emigrate if you don’t like it here!)

Sie brauchen viel zu lange!
(You’re taking way too long!)

Wer hat jetzt Sie um Ihre Meinung gebeten?
(Who asked for your opinion?)

Wollt ihr einen Döner oder nicht?
(Do you want a doener, or not?)

EVA breathing in to reply. KIM cutting her off.
Ja passt, lass uns Käsespätzle kochen. Hauptsache, weg von hier.
(Fine, let’s cook spaetzle. As long as we get out of here.)

Der Nächste, bitte!
(Next, please!)

The good thing here is that they separated before it got really heated! People interfering in your Gespräch (conversation) like that is not unusual in Deutschland (Germany), and there are two ways how to handle it. One is to make it clear that interference is not wished. You could say:

  • Was mischen Sie sich ein? (Why are you interfering?) or
  • Wer hat Sie um Ihre Meinung gefragt? (Who asked for your opinion?)
  • Das geht Sie nichts an. (That’s none of your business.)

The second and much more common way of handling it, though, is to listen to their perspective and then yell at them. Because as much as you are bothered by somebody sticking their nose into your business, the temptation of striking back with a counterargument should be bigger. After all, as a German, you believe in what you say von ganzem Herzen (With all your heart) and you need to defend your position, and it doesn’t matter if it’s to ein Fremder (a stranger), ein Familienmitglied (a family member), Freunde (friends), you are going to take that Diskussion (discussion)! And that brings me to my next point.

4. Sich mit Leidenschaft unterhalten (conversing with passion)

It doesn’t matter if you’re discussing Politik (politics), which Germans love to do by the way, or if you’re just talking about your day. Germans have Emotionen (emotions) and Meinungen (opinions), and they’re not afraid of discussing them whenever they seem fit, doesn’t matter with whom, doesn’t matter where they are, doesn’t matter in front of whom they are. It just needs to get out. Like watch:

In dem Bikini seh ich sicher fett aus.
(I’m sure I look fat in this bikini.)

Ernähre dich lieber gesünder, anstatt es auf den Bikini zu schieben!
(Eat healthier instead of blaming the bikini!)

Wie soll ich mich gesund ernähren, wenn du immer so fettig kochst!
(How am I supposed to eat healthy, if you always cook so fatty!)

Koch doch selber! In deinem Alter könnte man das längst erwarten!
(Cook yourself then! At your age, one could expect that long ago!)

Kann ich Ihnen helfen?
(Can I help you?)

Ja, meine Tochter ernährt sich schlecht und möchte jetzt den ganzen Sommer nicht baden gehen. Was sagen Sie dazu?
(Yes, my daughter has a bad diet and now does not want to go swimming all summer. What do you say to that?)

Ich weiß nicht, was Sie haben. Sie haben beide eine super Figur.
(I don’t know. You both have a great physique.)

Siehst du?

That’s what Germans do. You just fight. You fight it out. So next time you are at the mall or on a German train or wherever in the world, don’t forget to speak laut und leidenschaftlich (loudly and passionately). It’s the German thing to do. But be prepared that random strangers might contribute with their opinions, which is also normal (normal).

I actually have a very up-to-date example of how normal (normal) it is. The other day I was in a store to try on some bikinis, and the shop lady just approached me and said: Ich würde den Roten nehmen. Der steht Ihnen viel besser. Der Blaue macht sie so blass. (I would take the red one, it suits you much better. The blue one makes you so pale.) I didn’t ask for her opinion, I didn’t even talk to her. Still, I got her feedback. Which I personally think is awesome. Its always nice to get eine Zweitmeinung (a second opinion). But I know a lot of people think it’s nervig (annoying). But you know, this is the thing about the Offenheit (openness) that you have in Germany. If you find it nervig (annoying), you can just say that. That’s your Meinung (opinion). And then you can be prepared for them to say their Meinung (opinion), too, that and then you can say your Meinung (opinion). And in the end everybody wins or loses. That’s how you start a conversation in Germany. Sometimes. Toll oder? So gibt es keine Missverständnisse (Great, right? That way there won’t be any misunderstandings).

Was ist deine Meinung? (What is your oppinion?) Do you find it nervig (annoying) to get feedback from strangers or do you, maybe like me, find it hilfreich und interessant (helpfull and interesting). Let me know!

5. Beobachte und imitiere (Observe and imitate)

This is probably the most given but most valuable tip I can give you. Beobachte, was die anderen machen und mache es nach (Watch, what the others are doing and imitate it.) To help you pick up on subtle behaviors, watch this video about typical German behavior!

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