On the occasions when I encountered the British, on holidays in the United Kingdom and in business contacts, I didn’t find them unfriendly. But perhaps this is because I am a German (and a North German at that), and we might have other expectations than Robert or Maria (one of the people who responded). We don’t expect people to bare their souls on a casual acquaintance, either (and to the ‘How ya doing’ of Robert’s example, my reaction might be: Well, the honest answer would be, ‘Not good, I am frustrated and irritated right now,’ but that wouldn’t do as an answer to a stranger, and ‘Fine’ would be superficial, so I’d better ignore him). Perhaps what Robert and Maria complain about could be explained by the British following a mode of behavior that I am very much used to in relations with other Germans: a longish period of polite, reserved relations, followed by opening up when you have achieved an insight into the other guy’s character. Of course, if the other guy has been put off by the first stage, you never get to the second one.