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What are some dos and don'ts in Germany?

Mike Muluk, Berliner since the 70s.
Answered Jun 18

Talk to Germans in German. Some lousy phrases in German are better than your most eloquent English. Especially in rural areas.
Be punctual. That means be there a minimum of 5 minutes before any meeting.
Be formal. I don’t know you. You don’t know me. Use the formal “Sie” and maybe “Herr XY” or “Frau XY” if you know the name of the person. Forget “Fraulein”. The last guy I heard call a young woman “Fraulein” was the Nazi from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.
You can use “du” if you’re in a club picking up girls, buy drugs from some shady characters, or buy something from a hipster store.
Wear subdued colors. Keep it simple and classy.
Do shake hands.
Do bring cash and small change with you. Especially if you need to use a public restrooom.
Say “Hallo!” a lot. It’s the most neutral greeting these days.
Say “prost” and “guten Appetit” when eating and drinking in company.
Do remove your shoes when entering a house. Bringing flowers to the hostess is a plus.
Do split the check with your friends when eating out.
Have deep conversations about life, the future and philosophy in general with your friends. We appreciate your views and intellect. We don’t like idle talk.
Do show that you’re open-minded.
See a hot girl/guy? Do have eye-contact first. If that goes over well, only then approach the person to use one of your lousy pickup lines.
Be spontaneous. Being adventurous and spontaneous will get you laid.

Do not ask the guy at the information desk (“Auskunft”) or a sales person if you don’t exactly know what you want to know. Vague questions will earn you rude answers.
Don’t waste other people’s time. Know any procedure beforehand. If you want to ride a bus or get tickets to a museum, know exactly the proper procedure to do what you’re aiming to do beforehand. Failing to do so, and wasting other people’s time will make sure that you’ll become a pariah very soon.
Do not waste other people’s time (have I said that already?).
If you’re late, don’t blame it on public transport. Don’t be late.
Do not ask about Hitler, the Nazis or WW2 unless you’re very close to the person you’re going to ask about this stuff. Maybe you sleep with her/him first and then you may bring up Hitler - but only in private, please.
Along the same lines: do not make the Nazi salute, mime Hitler’s mustache or do any other form of Nazi jokes. In fact, doing the Nazi salute can get you behind bars.
Do not wear something that has a German flag on it, unless you’re watching our national soccer team in the stadium.
Do not buy your friends’ kids toy guns or any other form of militaristic toys.
Don’t freak if a stranger sits next to you in a pub or restaurant.
Don’t burp. Don’t eat with your fingers.
Don’t be too loud in public.
Don’t freak out if they make you wait in line for hours in front of clubs. The best clubs don’t believe in the concept of there being a VIP.
Don’t jaywalk. Don’t sit in seats for the handicapped. Don’t stand in front of exits. In fact, don’t ignore regulations and rules of any kind. There’s a reason we have signages all over the place.

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