It’s not my fault if I am cold and aggressive.

As confirmed by the Harvard Business Review in an article about negotiation styles, this is the German national character.

German negotiation style

Although I wouldn’t call my style confrontational, but direct and honest. With me, you will at least always know my sincere opinion. I won’t lie and I won’t do silly things like “trying to use non-verbal communication to convey signs” and let you guess (which is a woman thing anyway). If I want you to know something, I will tell you.

This saves everybody a lot of time, and it’s more reliable. There is no point in negotiating with less confrontational/direct people who will say “yes” or “maybe” to everything for fear of pissing you off, but then they won’t deliver.

On expressing emotions, I may be a bit different from the norm because I will easily get agitated if someone tries to bullshit me, and I will tell them straight away. But the “emotionally unexpressive” label is correct when it comes to talking about personal stuff. That doesn’t necessarily belong in negotiations, unless you already know each other. Don’t ask me “How are you?” unless you are prepared to listen to the story of my life. And don’t get sad if I don’t ask you. Either I am not interested or I don’t expect an honest answer anyway.

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a journalist, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Economics, Germany and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to It’s not my fault if I am cold and aggressive.

  1. cecilia says:

    Yes..Is not your falt. Now i know..so clear!! People will forgive you, dont worry ;)

  2. David says:

    Interesting. I see where we Israelis rank – not too complimentary, but probably generally true.

    • cecilia says:

      well, I’m in a category ” Emotionally expressive” and ” Avoid confrontation”…so i forgive you too. :) Just a joking.

    • In my experience, it’s quite accurate. But I like the Israeli style because it’s very straight-forward, open and direct. Maybe a bit too loud, particularly once more people get together.
      I remember how shocked I was on my first visit to Israel when I saw people shouting at each other at the bus stop, looking like they were about to fight physically. I asked a friend what the argument was about. He said: “Don’t worry, it’s just about politics.” I prefer this over countries where politics is a taboo subject or where people aren’t interested enough in it.

  3. I miss my Swiss friends, but I assume they will be in “avoid confrontation” and “unemotional” on the map, never met a nationality who’s that neutral in many aspects, but therefore they are very polite and respectful. I like that. For myself – there’s no doubt where I am on that chart…

  4. erikathaissa says:

    You are the cutest cold/aggressive guy I’ve ever known. Rawrr.

    But I think this study is wrong because brazilians (most latinos) are agressive besides emotionally expressive. They tend to have affection for their own moments, só that’s why they seem pacific, but no. Just try to start any trouble with them lol.

  5. hn says:

    Is that why they started the most devastating wars in the history of mankind?

    • No.
      That was stupidity and the wish to be a great power (World War I) and nationalism, racism, militarism (World War II).

      • Dante says:

        Additionally, Germany did nor start WW I alone. The thinking which lead to it was widespread among Europe’s powers at that time.

  6. So true how we Swedes are :D

  7. Being a French working in the UK, I am going to share this to my colleagues, I think it will help them understand ;P

  8. gaeleigh says:

    A weighted average of all the cultures (where I have worked/studied) that have influenced me indicates that I am slightly confrontational and even keeled in my emotional expressions. It’s not a bad place to be. I always strive to be a reasonable and fair human being.

  9. Kara says:

    As a woman, I find your comment a bit chauvinistic – no?

    It’s a woman’s thing? Yes, I will agree that women, in general, possess that particular trait, but not all women.

    I’m a very direct and independent woman, so I don’t skirt around issues and say things as they are (much to the chagrin of my boss). As I’ve been told many times, I am not a fake person at all and don’t hesitate to speak candidly.

    I will say; however, it’s an interesting chart since I’m Korean, but since the age of 2 1/2, I’ve been living in the United States when I was adopted by a Caucasian family. I definitely think that my life experiences helped shape who I am versus my ethnicity, because I definitely don’t fit in the Korean stereotype of being stoic and don’t back down from confrontation (if necessary).

    And hey I would never hold it against anyone for being cold and aggressive, because I’ve been accused of being the same. :-)

    • Yes, that was generalizing, which is not a nice thing to do. I only tried to be funny.

      But I absolutely agree on your point about upbringing versus ethnicity. It always drives me mad when I hear the lazy explanation “it’s a cultural thing” if one country has more corruption or child labor or crime, for example. If you take a Guatemalan street kid and take him to a middle-class family in Sweden, he might well stop selling drugs and shooting people, but go to school instead. On the other hand, if you kill a Swiss’ girls parents, take away all her belongings and make her feel scared for her life and take her to a favela, she might join a gang too. And I think one could carry out countless experiments like these to show that the upbringing or the current economic situation are much more important than ethnicity, religion or country of birth.

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