This week’s installment of Comedy Around The World takes us back to Germany. Here we have a lot of examples of sense of humor or lack thereof…
My classmate Mike was an exchange student in Trier as I was a Praktikantin (intern) at another company in a nearby town. We met often to exchange experiences about the German people, language, and culture.
Mike had called home to tell his mom about the people he’d met, “Herr so-and-so”, “Herr so-and-so”, etc. His mom exclaimed, “Wow! Herr must be a really popular first name in Germany!” Herr means “Mr.”
Mike also told me the stories about crossing the street on the red man (the light that ’says’ “Don’t walk”; or, in German, “Walking ist verboten.”) The natives waited on the sidewalk until the green man ’said’, “Go ahead and walk.” And then they yelled things in German at Mike for being a bad example to the children watching.
I told him about the secretary in the next cubicle from me, who kept referring to me as, “Fraulein.” I took this as an insult, since the proper term for an educated woman is, “Frau”, regardless of her marital status. And, because she kept calling me, “Meine Affe.” Which either meant “little ape” or “A$^$(.”
From these examples, we can see that people really pick up on when you don’t like them! Even if you didn’t understand their foreign (to you) language, you could still pick up on their distaste of you.
But this is good news: You can use this to your advantage when you use your sense of humor. You will be regarded as someone who DOES want to be likeable, who doesn’t tell people mean things to their face, a person who allows people to walk on any color man they wish without judging them.
Just as Mike and my experiences were a palpable example of dislike, we can create a palpable environment of openness, lightness, and–FUN.
“Get Your SHINE Together!” It’s not verboten!