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Punctuality and appointments

For many Germans punctuality is a virtue – a behaviour that shows respect for the other. It's especially important when dealing with official appointments.

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During your intitial months in Germany you might have a number of appointments at various government offices. Punctuality—being on time—is thus an important topic. Your punctuality will demonstrate that you value and respect your conversation partner. Should you anticipate being 5 or 10 minutes later than planned, it is highly recommendable to ring up on the telephone to inform the other person about your delay. If you arrive late, others easily perceive that gesture as impolite, since no one likes to have to wait.

If you arrive too late for a job interview, you might not be received at all. At any rate, your tardiness will not be viewed positively. Lack of punctuality to appointments at work will probably diminish your chances of professional advancement. Arriving too late too often might even lead to your dismissal.

Being punctual especially for public appointments

This applies not only to your public and professional life, but also to social invitations. It shows great respect to your hosts when you arrive on time. Indeed in public life, a time schedule is often viewed as more important than the person involved. So a conversation you are having might be cut short, because the person you are talking with has another appointment on his schedule. If this happens, it is neither impolite nor a sign that he doesn‘t like you. It is just so that the next person on the schedule can be given the same chance you were given.

For this reason, any forms for an appointment should be accurately filled out in advance. It is also a good idea to inform the other person what you would like to discuss at the beginning of your conversation. That way you can directly approach the issue in question together, a method that will be mutually satisfactory to both of you.


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