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Old 27.08.2012, 10:52
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Changing from "Sie" to "Du"

If during a business lunch a customer tells you their first name while making a toast ("anstossen"), does this mean that you should now address them as "Du" rather than "Sie"?
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Old 27.08.2012, 10:58
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Re: Changing from "Sie" to "Du"

Yes, definitely! Should they want to be addressed as Herr x or Frau y, they would just state their last name.
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Old 27.08.2012, 14:54
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Re: Changing from "Sie" to "Du"

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Yes, definitely! Should they want to be addressed as Herr x or Frau y, they would just state their last name.
yes, but someone would not just tell you their last name when making a toast, oder? I would find this a bit odd
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Old 27.08.2012, 18:47
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Re: Changing from "Sie" to "Du"

Why is this odd? It is just polite because the person not only gives you the first name ("DU" as an offer) but also communicates the last name that maybe you didn't know already.

In general it would be something like: My name is Mike Muller, but call me Mike. Or something like that.
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Old 27.08.2012, 19:01
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Re: Changing from "Sie" to "Du"

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yes, but someone would not just tell you their last name when making a toast, oder? I would find this a bit odd

Well, you could always ask them. But in general, if they give you their first name, then you can use "du". I have found the Swiss are way more relaxed about this than the Germans. I was on the equivalent of the PTA for my kids' kindergarten in Germany and the staff were complaining that the new bosses (who were trained a bit in the US) would use du and first names with them, they couldn't stand it!

Back to the toasting part, I guess I don't do it enough but usually I don't say my own name when toasting?
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Old 27.08.2012, 19:55
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Re: Changing from "Sie" to "Du"

Don't forget, once you start using 'du' with someone, it is an insult to ever use 'sie' again with that person. (learned my lesson well )

Tom
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Old 27.08.2012, 20:14
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Re: Changing from "Sie" to "Du"

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Don't forget, once you start using 'du' with someone, it is an insult to ever use 'sie' again with that person. (learned my lesson well )

Tom
MIGHT I ASK WHY?
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Old 27.08.2012, 20:17
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Re: Changing from "Sie" to "Du"

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Don't forget, once you start using 'du' with someone, it is an insult to ever use 'sie' again with that person. (learned my lesson well )

Tom
I'm always doing this - especially if it's someone I haven't seen in a while and I don't remember that we made the switch. Bit of an awkward foot shuffle and I mumble their name thereafter. I just think they should be grateful that my woolly brain has permitted me to remember their name at all... Queen of etiquette and manners, me.
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Old 27.08.2012, 20:36
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Re: Changing from "Sie" to "Du"

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MIGHT I ASK WHY?
Imagine you are my homie.

I might turn round and say to you:

"Hey du, RB! Das ist hier deine Caps-Lock-Taste!"

and it would sound really hip, fresh and groovy.

Imagine two weeks later I then come round to your house and say

"Sehr geehrter Herr Bear. Sie haben Ihre Caps-Lock-Taste noch nicht gefunden"

You would then wonder why I am speaking to you like your bank manager, and you might wonder what you have done to offend me such that I have irrevocably sentenced our previous homie camaraderie to the past.
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Old 27.08.2012, 20:43
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Re: Changing from "Sie" to "Du"

Surely though you get cut some slack when you're a foreigner with only basic/intermediate German. For me saying Sie to someone who I normally du is just a linguistic tick, reverting to the form I use most (I don't dutzen many people yet)
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Old 27.08.2012, 20:55
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Re: Changing from "Sie" to "Du"

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Surely though you get cut some slack when you're a foreigner with only basic/intermediate German.
Short answer, NO!

Many years ago, some guys from the PTT in Bern, along with one of the regional directors, came for a meeting to discuss a new project. By motorcycle.

Me being me, I met them at the top of the Grimsel (with my 5 year old daughter in the sidecar) in the sleet and fog, and took them too lunch in Ulrichen.

When we stopped for fuel in Faido, said director announces that we are now all 'per du'.

Silly me, next day at the meeting, trying to be polite and respectful, I address him as "Herr Direktor", and I get read the riot act! So, once the dust settled, I reverted to calling him Theo, and all was fine.

We did get the project, however.

Tom
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Old 27.08.2012, 20:56
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In the company I work for, we use first names, but Sie unless invited to use Du. At least in CH. in Germany, they mostly still are using Herr/Frau Wotsit if also using Sie.
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Old 27.08.2012, 20:58
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Re: Changing from "Sie" to "Du"

In Germany working in many companies, they used the Sie form but called you by your first name.

It is a bit of a mine field, and I do not accept that revealing the first name is an invitation to be friendly and use the Du form. If your customer tells you his first name you should continue to use Sie, and he might later invite you to be Du with him, but DON'T assume it.

The golden rule is the person with most power or authority, your customer, your manager, your older colleague, makes the invitation. Then it's usually in a formal manner, usually with a drink present, usually you toast each other afterwards. Now you are stuck and you have to meet his wife, and admire his holiday photos!

You cannot retract a Du relationship and go back to a Sie form, hence it is not entered into lightly.

.
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Old 27.08.2012, 21:07
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Re: Changing from "Sie" to "Du"

A friend of mine was once on a bus and the old lady who was standing refused to take his seat that he gallantly vacated for her - because he used the "Du" form when offering the seat to her.

I'm all for displaying cultural sensitivity and fitting in to the country that we innhabit.....but seriously......
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Old 27.08.2012, 21:23
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Re: Changing from "Sie" to "Du"

This is a major issue for me in French - vous et tu. Especially when I've spoken to someone in English... after to go back in French and say vous is just weird. I'm hoping I'll be more intuitive in a few years' time.

There's this feeling if you vousvoyer someone, it automatically sets you apart. My non-native French speaking friend does this... to all her partner's friends... Vous vous vous, totally bizarre, but then me on the other hand... sometimes I've been known to deny the whole "tutoy" transition... First time, I forgot.... then I went back to vous... and once you've done that, it's like you've rejected the tutoy transition. I've thought about addressing the subject afterwards, but I just feel too damn awkward to! Oh la la... At first I really didn't like and understand the differentiation, I mean c'mon, people are people... but now I see it can be really useful.

Anyway, back on track... I would continue with Sie until he actively says something... if you go in for the du, might make it a bit weird and forward for someone...
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Old 27.08.2012, 21:34
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Re: Changing from "Sie" to "Du"

Yes. I "Du" everyone because I'm so important and not because it makes German grammar so much easier.

Weisch was i mein?
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Old 27.08.2012, 21:53
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Re: Changing from "Sie" to "Du"

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MIGHT I ASK WHY?
TWO reasons. Such a move signals some distrust. And such a move shows the wish to get into a distance
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Old 27.08.2012, 22:01
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Re: Changing from "Sie" to "Du"

Although it can be viewed as somewhat ignorant, I use "du" for people for whom I have disdain/dislike.

When they query this, I tell them that when I learnt basic German, I was told that one uses du for those with whom some one has familiarity, children and animals ..... and I'm not familiar with them.
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Old 27.08.2012, 22:08
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Re: Changing from "Sie" to "Du"

It gets weird when speaking with OH's work colleagues at those quasi-social work events - when speaking in English, it's first names. When we switch to German, it's Herr and Frau, per Sie.

And I've noticed that people who are per Du in German often 'vous' one another in French.

My coping mechanism is to never use personal pronouns. Or names if I can help it.
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Old 27.08.2012, 22:19
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Re: Changing from "Sie" to "Du"

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My coping mechanism is to never use personal pronouns. Or names if I can help it.
Does that involve an over-use of the royal "we"?

"Are we going anywhere nice on holiday this year?"
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