When direct is blunt

Question

“We Germans are known for being forceful, yet respectful. And we want the same from others. But we know that we are often too direct with Americans. So, when is our German directness too blunt? How do we know what degree of directness is simply too much?”

UC

Well, this is a complex question. “blunt” means: stumpfplumpungehobeltschroffunverblümtgeradeheraus.

Not so much because there are many different kinds of Americans, with many different kinds of backgrounds, and from many different regions of the U.S. Getting into the shades of gray is not helpful and not necessary.

It is complex because the answer to the question depends on the situation. I’ve lived in Germany now for 25+ years and I still find the Germans often to be too direct.

Now wait, not because the German are too direct. The Germans are the Germans. And they are fine. It is because we Americans are less direct. We are careful about what we say, to whom, when, how, and based on who is present. And that is the big message re: the American logic: context.

Whereas the German logic, which is just as right and good and effective as the American logic, is: say what you mean, mean what you say, don’t beat around the bush, use clear and unambiguous language, and get to the point.

Read carefully below the comments from Americans. The American logic is imbedded in each and every one of their comments.

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