First, stubbornness. It was obvious from two world wars. It's obvious from the 1950s and the rebuilding of Germany. It's obvious from the economy stumbles....especially from the vision of Greece and its woes. A German simply holds to one ideal, and continues on. They don't change their opinion often....and when they do....it's a necessity that they approach in a mental sense and just do it.
Second, holding to traditions. If a German starts a tradition....they rarely fail to accomplish this. I would put Octoberfest as the prime example....but there are millions of these in German society. It could be the start of fall clean-up in your neighborhood and the accepted date for that. It could be the summerfest week that has gone on for sixty years in your local town. Unless a flood occurs, folks don't shift from the traditions.
Even on the personal level, there are things like a guy sticking to Opel cars for his entire life. Or the wife who demands a weekend getaway to Berlin the 2nd week of May of each year. Or the color scheme of a house that's been owned by some guy for forty-five years. It might even be the tradition of using only one car mechanic for your entire life, until he retires.
Third, thriftiness. Normally, I'd just call this cheapness....but I have to be fair here. You could walk up to most Germans and tell them they have $300 for an entire 10-day summer vacation....and somehow, they'd figure a way to enjoy their 10 days off....with such a modest amount of money.
When you look at German retirees....and what they often end up with at age 65.....and then somehow....they live off $1000 a month and you are kinda shocked how they do it.
Right now, there is this massive use of Hornbach (the German home improvement store). Instead of paying some guy to renovate your bathroom....a German will find the right Polish guy for a week....buy all the materials.....and then do the paint and tile himself.
Fourth, argumentative. This one.....some folks might argue about (get it?). Germans can find a thousand things to argue about. It could be one guy planting shrubs of a disliked nature that the neighbor can't stand. It could be the act of cranking your car for two minutes in winter to warm it up. One minute of such a cranking would be tolerated, but not two, and thus inviting an argument sooner or later.
Pointing out how you screwed up....would go hand-in-hand with this personality trait. They'd like to let you know something....and hopefully you agree....otherwise, it's an argument.
Fifth, a bit of humor that is different. The wild humor of Robin Williams doesn't work in Germany. Jerry Lewis humor doesn't really work. Seinfeld humor doesn't work. But you start to notice is a cynical sort of humor that most Germans tend to appreciate. It's the comparison of how bad the political system has become when compared to a drunk in a pub....which will make a German laugh his head off.
Germans love office humor if it's compared to their actual environment. They laugh over the stories at a butcher shop or government bureaucracy.....because they face this each and everyday.
Sixth, coldness. It could take a decade to really know your neighbor after you move in. In fact, you might never know your neighbor beyond a beer you share together once a month when mowing the grass.
You don't see cases where a German gal meets some guy and agrees to marriage within six months....that simply doesn't happen.
A German keeps this coldness.....as a defending tactic. It protects their inner circle and makes them feel secure.
Seventh and final.....creative. The little sensor that detects rainwater on the windshield of your car and automatically turns the wiper on? It's from a German. ABS? It's from a German. There are dozens of car devices which relate back to a German who just kept thinking about how things work.
It's the same with heating systems, pens, printers, tires, subway cars, and even zippers. They sit there and pause over the way things work.....and then announce this fantastic vision with just a simple toggle switch or a light sensor.
So I hope I didn't insult any Germans....but it's just a note of mine about their lives and impacts.