In German you can address your fellow human beings with you or you. This leads to misunderstandings, because in day-to-day working life, you are often also able to do so. How do you do it best? And who decides that?

Knigge du-sie

A question of corporate culture

The salutation with you and you is an expression of a relationship definition. That means you rather Distance and that you are more close to the person in question. Today it is no longer possible to clearly define when to use a you and a you. There are Company in which it is part of the corporate culture to use first names. There, no distinction is made between the hierarchical levels in the salutation. Such companies include for sure often the new economy companies as well as young companies.

In principle, young people in Germany from the age of 18 have the right to be addressed as you. Some feel himself in this Age however, to be uncomfortably addressed. Here is an elegant one Solution to: With the naming of the first name and the salutation Sie (= Hamburger Sie) this is a good middle ground. "Jan, please give me the list of customers." On the other hand, it is vague to give the last name and address the person as you. "Mrs. Müller, would you please give me the folder?"

Who offers whom in the professional environment?

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Since in business life the offer of the Du is always according to hierarchy - regardless of age and gender - is done, so the Du offer is always from the Rangherheren. Within your hierarchy, you may agree with your trainee colleagues on one or not.

As a man, you can offer a woman the informal form if she is not of a higher rank. If they are of the same rank and roughly the same age, it doesn't matter who offers the you to whom. If the one clear is older or has been with the company for a longer period of time, the offer is reserved for him.

The hierarchy decides

The most important rule in the job is: The rank higher, regardless of age and gender, is what you. This can mean that a boss is offering to a younger department manager. However, this is not reversed. Likewise, there may be the situation that a younger company manager of an older employee offers you. Again, the offer does not work the other way.

One can only be taken back very badly - even if you have overtaken the colleagues on the career ladder. That would be a very bizarre thing. Therefore always consider exactly who you are offering.

You refuse

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A you may be rejected. Do it in a friendly way, though, and know that you're unlikely to be made a second offer. For example, you might say, “Thank you for your kind offer. I'm still jung and new to the company, I find it uncomfortable to address older colleagues.” This way you keep at least one option open for later and don't rigorously reject the offer.

Will the Executive If you, as a woman, use first-name terms against your will, you pull yourself out of the situation like this: “Thank you very much for your offer. However, I would like to Company separate from private and therefore refrain from doing so.” Or: "There could be misunderstandings here in the company." A She keeps you at a distance and protects you from too much familiarity.

The you offer private

In private life today, in principle, within one generation, Women and men that you offer. With women and men of the same age, it is more stylish when the woman offers you. It also applies: The much older one offers the younger one the you.

Private Refusing a you is more difficult, since it usually fails to come up with a suitable excuse.


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