I'm looking for a translation that has a similar sense to "I always intend to come across as kind" (i.e. my intentions are good, even if i have accidentally sounded rude or abrupt).

I'm thinking of this in the context of my very rusty german skills! I want to be able to explain to native speakers that i may sometimes accidentally use an overly informal form or may use words/sentences that might seem rude or inappropriate, but that i am never intending to be rude/unkind/inappropriate!

I have looked up a couple of options, google suggests rüberkommen als or wirken, e.g.

Ich möchte immer freundlich wirken


Ich möchte immer als nett rüberkommen

Which of these (if either) sounds more appropriate?

I'm looking to avoid an implication of merely "seeming or looking nice" (suggesting i may or may not actually be nice, or that it could be a facade). I think "wirken" gives this impression and so may not be the correct word choice. I may be wrong but "rüberkommen" just doesn't quite sound right to me, it feels like it might be a mistranslation on my part.

  • For spoken or written German? Is the purpose of translation to find the right words for an apology or do you want to apply for a job?
    – Wolf
    Commented May 30, 2020 at 11:54

2 Answers 2


Rüberkommen is definitely the better choice than wirken for the reasons you already mentioned.

However I would maybe rephrase it to: Ich bemühe mich immer nett rüberzukommen.

With the usage of bemühen you signal that you actually put effort into it, because not being a native speaker actually makes it hard.

I would also remove the als, it's not incorrect but you usually wouldn't say it.

  • 5
    Worth mentioning that rüberkommen is colloquial speech. Commented May 29, 2020 at 12:50
  • Correct, you could use the more formal herüberkommen but I've honestly never heard someone say that. Commented May 29, 2020 at 13:00
  • 3
    "Correct, you could use the more formal herüberkommen ..." Not really (that's why you never heard that). The non-colloquial form would indeed be built using wirken as the OP mentioned. Commented May 29, 2020 at 13:30
  • 2
    @MauriceLegoland I second άνταs comment. "herüberkommen", in formal speech, would be interpreted as physically comming over from some other place (e.g. across the street), which wouldn't mix well with "nett" except for in very strange contexts. Then, again, "rüberkommen" is colloquial, but not slang or swearing. I'd also translate "kind" as "freundlich". "Nett" sounds superficial to me.
    – xmjx
    Commented May 29, 2020 at 18:39

the best way to say
"I always intend to come across as kind"

(shortened, emphasis mine)

When I ask Deepl.com (my favorite translator between German and English), it says:

Ich habe immer die Absicht, freundlich rüberzukommen.

While automatic translators may do a good job for single words (dict.cc | Wörterbuch Englisch-Deutsch is a great service), the flavor or full-text translators typically give better results if you feed them well. If you place a sentence in their inbox, it may be hard for them to find out if you want to say or write something (even in your question this could as well be open). So give them enough context. For instance translate three sentences for best translation in the middle one.

In case you are asking for a written translation, here one way to do it:

Ich bemühe mich stets darum, einen freundlichen Eindruck zu hinterlassen.

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