Degrees Of Politeness

While finally getting around to taking a photo of the lovely  Phalaenopsis currently gracing our home, I remembered a piece I had read a few days ago about Germans and their strictness when it comes to obeying rules, written and unwritten ones. The author of that article praised the punctuality of German trains and buses, but was horrified by the habit of Germans to arrive on time for a dinner party.

Ouch. Yes. That is indeed a nasty habit: to arrive on time, when one is invited for a sit-down dinner somebody has probably spent a lot of time planning and cooking for. Those Germans. How dare they!

There are cultural differences in the degrees of politeness. In my opinion somebody arriving 20, 30 (or even more) minutes late when the invitation was explicitly for dinner would be extremely impolite. That same person would probably consider me a rude German, because I would then usher all guests immediately to the table, before the food is overcooked/cold/tough; you name it.

And then I stopped my musings. All our friends know that I am German. They all turn up punctually for dinner invitations. They all must either know how Germans cherish punctuality – or they are simply afraid of my wrath.

In any case, I wave my orchid of peace like an olive branch (after all, it is nearly Easter) and vow not to slip into prejudices about Americans and punctuality.

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2 Replies to “Degrees Of Politeness”

  1. Oh, you and I would muddle along quite well together. I have a near obsession about punctuality. And I married a guy who is perpetually tardy. I have to pace myself to keep from showing up places early. Like you, I feel it is rude to be be late. If the stated start time of the party/dinner/event is 7 p. m., then start at 7. If a person really means 9 p. m. then say so. Bah on this fashionably late hoohaa.

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