In Germany, giving out compliments is not as frequent as in some countries but they are still appreciated. Many people who used to live in Germany or now live there in will confirm that this is true. Germans may be distant to begin with. They are not always naturally open or friendly to people they don’t know as might happen in many countries who speak English.
They tend to be private; even the older generation isn’t likely to naturally smile and greet you positively. This means offering compliments tends to be the call of the non-German and it is the best way to get to know somebody for the first time. It creates a positive atmosphere and initiates new friendships. Don’t be too disheartened if you aren’t showered with flattering comments while in Germany. It’s just a cultural difference.
Compliments that say a person is beautiful
Telling someone he or she is beautiful isn’t always straightforward. It will depend on who you are directing the complement to. It could be your partner, your children, or someone you don’t know that well but is older than you.
Here are some examples
- Du siehst heute toll aus: This is directed at either sex and means “you look absolutely fantastic today.”
- Du bist schön: This means “you’re beautiful”, but tends to be directed at your partner, a member of your family, a close friend, a child or a stranger who is the same age as you.
- Du siehst umwerfend aus: This means ”you do look so stunning”.
- Ihr seid schön: This means “you’re beautiful”.
- Sie sind schön: This means “you (or they) are beautiful” and tends to be directed at older strangers and those who have a high status.
Common German Compliments
Complimenting a person’s appearance
Giving a compliment isn’t normally part of customs in German so it is preferable to use shorter sentences.
Here are some short German compliments:
- Der Mantel steht dir. That coat looks great on you.
- Ich mag deine Schuhe. I really like your shoes.
- Ich mag deinen Hut. I love your hat.
- Deine Frisur gefällt mir. I do like your hair.
German complements when you want someone to take notice of you
- Du siehst heute toll/wunderschön/umwerfend aus: This means “you look stunning today”.
- Ich mag, wie du tanzt: This means “I really love the way you dance”.
- Du hast wunderschöne Augen: This means “you do have such beautiful eyes”.
Complimenting a person’s work
Großartige Arbeit! This means “excellent job”, but it is more common to hear Gut gemacht, which means “well done”. Nicht schlecht means “not bad”.
Offering a compliment to a host
In Germany, getting an invitation to visit someone’s home for a meal doesn’t happen often but if you are invited compliments are always welcome. These could include the following:
- Das Essen riecht gut: This means “the food smells so good”.
- Das schmeckt wirklich gut: This means “that tastes so good”.
- Es war köstlich: This means “it was so delicious”.
- Euer Zuhause ist wunderbar: This means “your home is so beautiful”.
- Ihre Kinder sind so schön: This means “your children are very nice”.
Other German compliments
- Das ist eines der Dinge, die ich an dir mag: This means, that is something I simply love about you.
- Deine Frisur gefällt mir: This means “I simply love your hairdo”.
- Gelb steht dir: This means “a yellow really suits you so well”.
- Ich liebe dein Lächeln: This means “I really love your smile”.
- Was würde ich ohne dich tun: This literally means, I have no idea what I would do without you.
- Mit dir kann ich am besten lichen: This means “I can really enjoy having a good laugh with you”.
- Ich mag deine Schuhe: This means “I simply love those shoes”.
If you can find the time to throw in a compliment just at the right time in German it can assist in so many different situations and may help to liven up conversations and help them to run smoothly. Compliments don’t hurt anyone.