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Looking at some answers and comments in this question, saying "Das ist mir egal" seems to not be very polite.

What would a polite way of conveying "I don't care" be?

A: Wollen wir heute abend zum Italiener oder zum Griechen?

B: [I don't care/it's the same to me!]

Edit: To differentiate to this similar question, the answer there notes that "Das ist mir egal" is used politely. But in the question I link to above, it notes that it's not quite polite. What's the difference? How would I use it politely?

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    Possible duplicate of Is there any other way to say "I don't care" in German – Hubert Schölnast Feb 9 '17 at 15:26
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    @HubertSchölnast ah, perhaps. ...But in that answer, "Das ist mir egal" ist marked to use when politeness is required...But the question I link to mentions it's somewhat impolite? Would it come down to your intonation? – BruceWayne Feb 9 '17 at 15:34
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    Related: youtube.com/watch?v=xvcpy4WjZMs – simbabque Feb 10 '17 at 14:28
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    “Das ist mir egal” is rather neutral, but the way you say it might make it polite or rude. It also might depend on the context, you might have the feeling that telling that you don’t care, is inappropriate when the other side seems to strongly wish that you make a decision. In that case “Das ist mir egal” is the bad news, you probably don’t want to tell directly. – Holger Feb 10 '17 at 15:47
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Mir ist beides recht.  I'm OK with both.

That's what immediately comes to mind (in both languages – I don't care doesn't strike me as a particularly polite statement.

Further alternatives:

Wie du möchtest/wie Sie möchten.  As you like.

Ich habe keine Präferenzen.  I have no preference.

  • How about if there are more than 2 options? – Ad Infinitum Feb 10 '17 at 13:05
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    Mir is alles recht is an obvious way of putting the first option into plural. However, this exact phrase is often used with an intonation that conveys I'm beyond caring, do what you want already, so an explicitly positive intonation would be required for it to remain polite. Wordier versions like Mir sind alle Optionen recht, Alle Optionen hören sich gut an etc. don't have that problem. – Endre Both Feb 10 '17 at 16:20
  • Ich habe da keine (besonderen) Vorlieben. Präferenzen klingt arg gestelzt. – Max Ried Feb 12 '17 at 8:04
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I think we need to differentiate between two meanings of Das ist mir egal.

The "impolite" version that is mentioned in the other question would most of the time contain a doch:

Das ist mir doch egal means something along the line

"I couldn't care less"...

But you can ommit the doch and express it with pronounciation / intonation. The emphasis lies on the "mir" in that case.

The meaning you are looking after is the meaning of "it's your decision, I'll do whatever you suggest".

Here the emphasis normally lies on the "das" at the beginning of the sentence.

The difference is hard to describe, you need to hear it to realise the difference.

11

Also polite:

Das überlasse ich dir.

Das kannst/darfst du bestimmen/entscheiden.

4

Probably something more "polite" would be:

"Mir ist beides recht." - "I'm fine with both."

or you can prompt to the other person.

"Entscheide du." - "You decide."

4

Another way to soften the sentence is the word eigentlich.

Das ist mir eigentlich egal.

It means something like

I don't really care.

Be aware that eigentlich can lead to people asking you again because it softens the indifference and they maybe still want you to decide.

  • This works, though IMO eigentlich is a bit of an overused “boilerplate” filler word. – leftaroundabout Feb 11 '17 at 11:52
3

Das ist mir gleich.

This is a short and polite answer.

Please note that responding like this (or with similar proposals from other answers) still can be considered unfriendly

  • if you always or often answer like this (and the one asking is interested in some input, but is left alone with the decision), especially if you are someone's guest
  • if you have a preference but don't say it now (but maybe later or the one asking is facing consequences from you because of the decision he or she made for you)
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    Is this a regional usage only? I'm surprised it took so long for someone to propose it. It's definitely the obvious choice for a Yiddish speaker: "das is mir (ganz) gleich." – Marty Green Feb 10 '17 at 15:03
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    No, it's perfectly standard German and indeed a neutral phrase, but it's not explicitly polite as requested by the OP. In fact, given that declining to make a decision when offered can easily be perceived as uninterested or unfriendly, it might be argued that some degree of 'overcompensation' is needed if you want to counteract that impression. – Endre Both Feb 10 '17 at 16:11
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    Definitely can have a tone signalling not only indifference but a certain (albeit small) amount of irritation at being asked the question, unless you pronounce it explicitly friendly to compensate. – mafu Feb 10 '17 at 21:35
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Personally I like following best:

Beides ist gleich gut.

The word "gut" rates both possibilities as good options which does not overrule the other. I imply that I have thought about these options. In contrast if I simply say I don't care I express that I have no interest in either option and I probably have no fun in doing either.

However the difference is really subtle and it is always a matter of pronunciation and context how you say: "Ist mir egal."

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