had any German at all you would know that there is three ways to
say "you". One these words, sie, is plural meaning all of you, so
it's not very confusing to use. The other two (du and Sie) have the
exact same meaning in English, but can't really be used
interchangeably in German. Sie is the formal form of you, and is
used for people in businesses, people you don't know very well, and
people that are older than you. Du is only used with family, close
friends and children. You should always start with the Sie form
until the other person has given you permission to call them with
the du form. Some other precautions about meeting people are
- Titles are also very important. Anyone that you would use
the Sie form with is someone that you should use Mr. or Ms. (Herr
or Frau) with.
- Fräulein should only be used on small girls under
the age of 14.
- To address a doctor, you have to use two addresses, Frau
Doktor or Herr Dokter.
- In Germany people like to shake hands when they meet.
This applies not only with the first time, but at almost every time
they meet. So, when you're visiting people make sure to keep you're
hands out of your pockets and make eye contact with the person
you're shaking hands with.
- Germans aren't always going to come up and introduce
themselves to strangers especially if they know that you don't
speak their language. Not all Germans know English and even if they
do they might be not comfortable using it. Even if you don't know
very much German most of them will appreciate you learning their