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  #21  
Old 26.08.2014, 14:55
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

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It's a fact of life that people will voice and write about complaints, but not always about good and positive things.

And if you come from the UK, you should also know there are huge differences between North and South, rural and town- etc. The answer to your questions would change vastly depending if it is about London or Manchester or North Yorkshire, Norfolk or Devon- about age and generation, education, etc.

And of course some parts of Switzerland are much more insular and indicative of the traits you mention above than others. The French and italian parts are quite different to the central German Kantons of Schwyz- and Zurich and Geneva are quite different... and Basel is the more 'Latin' of the German towns... etc. I've lived inb several towns in the UK, with very different cultures and attitudes- same here.

However, it is clear that many are attracted to Switzerland as it is seen as the last Eldorado- but find that it is not easy to make a success of it and then become bitter. Switzerland is not for everybody, that is for sure- but your own attitude, to learning the language, to having an open mind yourself, to making the effort to understand that is goind around you and adapt to some extent, etc- will make all the difference to how people react to you in return.

Where in the UK are you? I've known some Brits to move to Devon or Norfolk and never be accepted as a local... and I've know an Indian family who was bullied and stoned out of North Wales...
Hi Odile, as I'm from N Wales I'd be interested to hear more about the stoning of this Indian family.
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Old 26.08.2014, 16:27
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

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So I ask experienced Switzerlanders- how was your experience in the early days of getting to know people?
Do the Swiss have much of a pub culture of random crack with random people?
Are they club-crazy?
Would they go in for free hugs?
I think one's sense of disorientation is commensurate to one's experience of isolation. One's level of comfort with one's self shows. If you are new, and unsure, they can smell it. They aren't attracted to that uneasiness. If you are confident about being yourself; first of all, it would not matter to you whether or not anyone connects with you. Secondly, confidence is more interesting and attractive, and you are more likely to garner respect and connection. Yes, it can be tough in beginning to simply just be yourself, especially if you are trying to fit in.
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  #23  
Old 26.08.2014, 16:37
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

Rule for the german speaking part of Switzerland:
"Spontaneity should be well-considered"
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  #24  
Old 26.08.2014, 17:27
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

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Rule for the german speaking part of Switzerland:
"Spontaneity should be well-considered"
i'm swiss german and i approve this message. Spontaneity can be very disturbing if it comes unexpected.
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  #25  
Old 26.08.2014, 19:11
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

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Looking around old threads on the forum to learn about how things are in Switzerland I seem to see a very negative picture of life there.
Lots of people posting that not even can they not get a girlfriend but that that they are failing to even make friends.
Lots of comments saying that the Swiss are very insular and closed off, xenophobic, etc....
Bloody hell.

I am wondering here; how much truth is there to this?
Are they in any way right?
Or are they just moaners from the US/India/Brazil/other countries where the people are very strange and super open and eternally positive, and that it is not Switzerland that they have trouble with but western Europe as a whole?
About 50/50 I’d say. As anywhere a lot of assholes wander around in Switzerland, but there are also some people who need to feel offended by something to stay in their comfort zone.

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I ask as... In the past I have read online what people have to say about countries before I move there. I get to the new country to find that the actual major differences hadn't been mentioned at all and the supposed differences the internet highlighted weren't really issues at all.
The majority of such commentary online seems to come from an American perspective, which is very very different to the North European perspective of Britain (Well. The north at least. I can't claim to speak for the south.)
If online sources are unreliable, why ask a forum?

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So I ask experienced Switzerlanders- how was your experience in the early days of getting to know people?
Do the Swiss have much of a pub culture of random crack with random people?
Are they club-crazy?
Would they go in for free hugs?
Well, they would certainly not pay for them. You would need to offer a little more to make a business out of it.


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I'd write something a bit harsh but I'm afraid 20 Minuten is watching and will write an article from it.


PS: How's that for being Swiss?
Meningoencephalitis!

Don‘t worry about that! Just use a "big word" (four or more syllables) as a guard word as I did above. They will experience a seizure immediately and won’t remember the content of your post when "conscious" again. This should also work for the Ringier bunch.

The Tagi people are a little more difficult to handle. They have learned to ignore words they don’t understand and are still able to produce a more or less coherent text with one to three weeks delay. I am still searching for a GIF in which either Blocher, Brunner, Mörgeli or Canepa are leaving the picture. They have a strange fixation with them and would probably start to search the back of their MacBook Pro/Air for them on view.
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  #26  
Old 27.08.2014, 14:13
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

So Romandie is more friendly ey? That's nice as that's where I look to be headed.


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If online sources are unreliable, why ask a forum?
Making conversation, better than nothing, boredom, etc...

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I literally laughed out loud when you took the opportunity to take a shot at Americans and then, just like every single Brit I have ever met, went on and asked if Switzerland has a pub where you can hang with the mates and watch some footie.

Not intending to take a shot at Americans. Beyond the shallow surface stuff however people from the US and the UK are very different culturally in my experience. As I say, when I spent time in other countries in the past I always seemed to find different things to be the major problems to my American friends.
I spent a bit of time in rural Japan for instance- for me the driving culture was sending me up the wall. The way towns and cities didn't really have centres but were just big sprawls with shops scattered all over the place was totally alien to me. To Americans it was just normal.
On the other hand I had little problem with the indirectness of the locals. It drove one or two of my American friends to madness.

And I don't need a British pub. UK pub=US bar.
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Old 26.08.2016, 23:36
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

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I came here in 1989, and I have been invited socially 3 times into Swiss peoples homes, that is aside from being invited as a friend of a friend.
I know a guy who lived in Switzerland for 30 years. In this time he hosted all the neighbours in his house, while NONE of the neighbours hosted him. Sounds like a horror story to me.

Personally, I've been to many European countries and I've never experienced anything similar to Switzerland.
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  #28  
Old 26.08.2016, 23:52
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

Having been out of Switzerland for almost a year now...I can say that it is one of the coldest places on the planet. Its madness really. Life in Switzerland is a lot like showing up to a party already drunk and meeting the "love of your life". But then you sober up with time and question how you could have made such poor choices.

Live and learn right?
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  #29  
Old 27.08.2016, 09:59
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

My experience is very limited regarding the Swiss lifestyle because I have only been here for a month but I already have a Swiss friend who invited me to her house multiple times, lunches, bbq, dinners -something I never thought it'd be possible so soon, I was so delightfully surprised. I have also done some nice things as a thank you.

And all the other Swiss that I have randomly met were nothing but nice and friendly (imo).

If they are willing to give me a job in the near future, I would definitely love to be here.

Of course I am interested in their culture and I learned some basic survival Swiss German phrases while trying to learn German on my own.

I also got the free hugs and the 3 kisses which seemed awkward to me the first time because I am NOT getting that close to people I have only met once

Last edited by rainbowdash; 27.08.2016 at 10:18.
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Old 29.08.2016, 00:10
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

This thread has been bumped for some reason.

2 years in and I'm really doubting whether I'll make it another year despite the job going well. It is the social black hole I had feared.
Oh well. Some guys spend a few years working on oil rigs. Same thing. But worse working conditions.

One thing that contrasts with what people said is I find the Swiss Germans to be on average a lot friendlier.
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  #31  
Old 29.08.2016, 00:35
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

I am not sure if it is so dead. It is definitely harder to network here, look for interesting activities than elsewhere. But at the same time, when you show up you can bet your shoes that people will show up with a real interest. Feels less phoney than some of the prestigious artsy places and music scenes.

There are some oddest museums here, weird little clubs, strange traditions that might be not what one is used to..it does require effort and searching, asking and looking in papers, flyers, uni webs, cafes. Programs and info is not centralized and dig it out it really is work. But then I feel that what I found here (what I had and have the time for) is as quality or even more genuine and less pretentious, than what I used to do abroad. The Ex were awesome in Bern squat, other gigs I saw here, music I do, friends I sing with. Art/music/creativity still seems a little bit...shy, true. But I always preferred to create as opposed to consume. I wouldn't give up after a two years. Just put a few events together, people will show up. Make it regular, a little bit of effort in it and things will move, they will tell you about activities, venues and events.

A friend worked on oil rigs in CA and it is not the same, nah.
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Old 29.08.2016, 01:15
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

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This thread has been bumped for some reason.

2 years in and I'm really doubting whether I'll make it another year despite the job going well. It is the social black hole I had feared.
Oh well. Some guys spend a few years working on oil rigs. Same thing. But worse working conditions.

One thing that contrasts with what people said is I find the Swiss Germans to be on average a lot friendlier.
Sorry you're having trouble adjusting. Have you tried joing a club? The Swiss love clubs, and probably have one for whatever your interests and hobbies are.

You've never worked on a rig, otherwise you would know that they are anything other than a social black hole. I've been on rigs where the rec room was like a knitting bee - quite comical actually.
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  #33  
Old 29.08.2016, 09:19
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

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My experience is very limited regarding the Swiss lifestyle because I have only been here for a month but I already have a Swiss friend who invited me to her house multiple times, lunches, bbq, dinners -something I never thought it'd be possible so soon, I was so delightfully surprised. I have also done some nice things as a thank you.

And all the other Swiss that I have randomly met were nothing but nice and friendly (imo).

If they are willing to give me a job in the near future, I would definitely love to be here.

Of course I am interested in their culture and I learned some basic survival Swiss German phrases while trying to learn German on my own.

I also got the free hugs and the 3 kisses which seemed awkward to me the first time because I am NOT getting that close to people I have only met once
That happened to me to in my first weeks here so I'm really laughing out loud when I read posts about the Swiss avoiding people...foreign people. If anything, it was me who thought "Erm, really, we just met 3 days ago and you invite me for lunch?"
I totally revised my personal myths about how the place I come from is so much friendlier...
I'd say the German Swiss are really, really misjudged. Of course you can't generalise, but still. Not to mention back home I know people who've been talking to each other all their lives using the equivalent of "Sie" form, even if they saw each other on a daily basis - neighbours, colleagues etc. I am yet to experience this thing here.

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  #34  
Old 29.08.2016, 09:48
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

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Sorry you're having trouble adjusting. Have you tried joing a club? The Swiss love clubs, and probably have one for whatever your interests and hobbies are.

You've never worked on a rig, otherwise you would know that they are anything other than a social black hole. I've been on rigs where the rec room was like a knitting bee - quite comical actually.
Fully agree on that!

Haven't been on a rig except in the shipyard, but I've worked closely with oil guys for most of my (desperately short) career, and they are the biggest gossipers on earth. Man, we had fun at lunch...

Admittedly you had to appreciate "below the belt" humour and have a solid liver to survive office social dos, but it was much more fun than my current "housewives' club".
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  #35  
Old 29.08.2016, 09:58
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

Take up hiking. You'll meet plenty of friendly people. Plus the locals really appreciate when you show interest for the country, and walking around the Alps in a wonderful way to do so. Not only am I amazed by the number of people who want to chit chat with me while I'm up un the mountains, it's also a great way to break the ice once you're back in the valley. Being able to place Sumvigt on the map or having been to well know metropolises such as Rosswald or Quinten gives you plenty of cred, and people are always oddly proud that you know of these places. They take it very personal.

I've just started staying in SAC huts when I go off, haven't made friends yet but have improved my German a lot during dinner time and have had lots of fun. You don't sleep well, but it's socially interesting. I'll probably join the SAC next summer, then I can take courses and get to meet people on a more regular basis.
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  #36  
Old 29.08.2016, 10:08
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

Well I think younger people related to each other back in the 70's to 90's better. Now they are closed off in their small worlds of Facebook,Clothes,Geld,Looks etc etc etc etc. Theres no real collective movement under Swiss youth.Maybe it moves in cycles and they are at the low in the cycle.
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Old 29.08.2016, 10:10
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

Best advice so far, Trollemor, along with Mr.JagWaugh's one: join clubs!
I'd say sport clubs, but i'm biased. So, join clubs "for whatever your interests and hobbies are". :-)

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Old 29.08.2016, 10:57
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

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Sorry you're having trouble adjusting. Have you tried joing a club? The Swiss love clubs, and probably have one for whatever your interests and hobbies are.
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Best advice so far, Trollemor, along with Mr.JagWaugh's one: join clubs!
I'd say sport clubs, but i'm biased. So, join clubs "for whatever your interests and hobbies are". :-)
+1 for the clubs! I joined a sports club (all alone, without the security blanket of my husband, or hiding behind the excuse of being a mum - go me!).

My tip would be to join something with which you are already familiar and not a beginner otherwise you have to deal with being the "foreigner" and any related language issues, as well as being someone who can't knit/fish/roller skate or whatever you choose.

Through my club I found someone who is a plumber and someone who keeps making jam for everyone so it has additional benefits...
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Old 29.08.2016, 11:31
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

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Best advice so far, Trollemor, along with Mr.JagWaugh's one: join clubs!
I'd say sport clubs, but i'm biased. So, join clubs "for whatever your interests and hobbies are". :-)
Also helps for language acquisition, although I don't think my German will improve much from having taking up taekwondo again, as the master speaks a mix of German and English. But eventually if I open my mouth to speak with the others in the class, it will have to be in German.

Having kids helps to, if they don't go in an international school. Was invited for lunch and playdate at one of my son's Swiss friends. Had an excellent time!
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Old 29.08.2016, 12:24
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

I definitely agree with the language part - some German (not necessarily Swiss German) would definitely help.

I originally lived in North Germany and I find the mentality, when it comes to making friends, quite similar. Very friendly and polite to each other but also quite guarded - I find this to be quite similar to Britain - but I'm from Devon and as someone already pointed out - you'll never become a local in Devon....

We've just moved into our apartment and we have some very delightful Swiss neighbours who have offered to help us with anything and I work with a lot of Swiss People and I've found them very open and accepting - I think they really appreciate an English woman speaking near fluent German though...
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