This is one of the questions I got while listening to Elsa’s lecture.
Do you always ask the name of the person you met for the first time? When I meet my new neighbor like in the lecture, I heard that I’m going to do "siezen", so do I have to ask their name? Because it’s not necessarily like that where I live.
I understand that when you talk to a clerk at a mart or a department store, you talk without exchanging names. So what if we have to talk for a while on the road or in the park for some reason? What do I do with a doctor or nurse at the hospital?
Should I start the conversation after asking ”Wie heißen Sie?”
While it’s not about grammar, it’s actually a really good question.
When you meet a new neighbor, it is perceived as polite and kind to say your name and ask for their name in return. Exchange names if the relationship is going to be lasting, whether formal or personal. Also introduce yourself formally and exchange names when you think it’s a good idea to just get to know somebody.
You don’t need to exchange names if you’re meeting someone on the street or in the park. But even in such a temporary situation, if the other person reveals his or her name and asks you about yours, you’d think of it as a sign that they want a lasting relationship.
Exchanging names and shaking hands lightly is the etiquette of meeting other people in Germany.
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