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  #141  
Old 17.09.2016, 08:52
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

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I use to only hear about this in Switzerland. Lately, I've been hearing the same from expats in the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. So I'm no longer sure this is unique to Switzerland. But the commonality in all the reports are the expats.

So I wonder, are expats' expectations a bit high in this regard, and whether they are considering themselves more appealing than the locals do?
I suspect that technology plays a role. When I first arrived I had only letterwriting, and the telephone for contact with distant friends. I did have compuserve, but that was still mostly geeks. My parents weren't online, but I could send a compuserve mail to their fax for 0.65CHF/page (on top of phone and membership costs).

It is easy to forget how much email, facebook, whatsapp & co have changed the world. Without them an expat just established a local network somehow. It may not have been particularly easy or hard, but there wasn't a virtual closeness with distant friends to compare with, and there also wasn't an EF to come and complain to.
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  #142  
Old 17.09.2016, 21:20
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

The Swiss build their circle of friends and then seal themselves off. Then they are very reluctant to let anybody else in.And especially not an " Ausländer".
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  #143  
Old 17.09.2016, 22:29
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

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The Swiss build their circle of friends and then seal themselves off. Then they are very reluctant to let anybody else in.And especially not an " Ausländer".

Shouldn't you have added the caveat "...in my experience."?

Some of us have made it into the circle of trust.
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  #144  
Old 19.09.2016, 10:21
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

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I suspect that technology plays a role. When I first arrived I had only letterwriting, and the telephone for contact with distant friends.
The first 4 years I lived here, I didn't have a phone or TV!

Tom
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  #145  
Old 19.09.2016, 10:23
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

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The Swiss build their circle of friends and then seal themselves off. Then they are very reluctant to let anybody else in.And especially not an " Ausländer".
That's true of anybody, anywhere, not just the Swiss.

Tom
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  #146  
Old 19.09.2016, 10:23
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

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The first 4 years I lived here, I didn't have a phone or TV!

Tom
Yes, but in your case the Alps hadn't been formed yet so you could easily walk from place to place to keep in touch.
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  #147  
Old 19.09.2016, 10:46
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

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That's true of anybody, anywhere, not just the Swiss.
Well, to be fair: in most places the circle of friends doesn't get solidly locked down at around age 16!

I still vividly recall when I was a student and everyone huddled together into little groups from specfic Kantis. If you were the only one there from a certain canton... tough. Go hang out with the foreigners during the week and go home on the weekend.

The Romands were the ones least susceptible to this, to be fair.
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  #148  
Old 19.09.2016, 10:59
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

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Well, to be fair: in most places the circle of friends doesn't get solidly locked down at around age 16!

I still vividly recall when I was a student and everyone huddled together into little groups from specfic Kantis. If you were the only one there from a certain canton... tough. Go hang out with the foreigners during the week and go home on the weekend.

The Romands were the ones least susceptible to this, to be fair.
I beg to differ.

The type of friendships, and the ways one goes about making them is vastly different between 16 and 36, or even 26 for that matter. The mistake is to compare the people you made friends with at 16 (having spent about 30% of your waking hours with doing remarkeably similar things) to someone you bump into every now and then while doing something that you happen to have in common with them, everyone becomes more selective as they mature, it is often a matter of time management, and the fact that "just hanging out" isn't enough to form a bond anymore.

As to the being from a different Kanton, to a certain extent, I know what you mean, but I also remember those students spending a great deal of energy declaring how much better their home canton was, and going there at most every opportunity.

A coin has 3 sides if you include the circumference.

At the end of the day, "Wherever you're at: there you are!"
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  #149  
Old 19.09.2016, 11:23
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

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I suspect that technology plays a role. When I first arrived I had only letterwriting, and the telephone for contact with distant friends. I did have compuserve, but that was still mostly geeks. My parents weren't online, but I could send a compuserve mail to their fax for 0.65CHF/page (on top of phone and membership costs).

It is easy to forget how much email, facebook, whatsapp & co have changed the world. Without them an expat just established a local network somehow. It may not have been particularly easy or hard, but there wasn't a virtual closeness with distant friends to compare with, and there also wasn't an EF to come and complain to.

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The Swiss build their circle of friends and then seal themselves off. Then they are very reluctant to let anybody else in.And especially not an " Ausländer".
Pretty much what I hear about the Dutch, the Norewegians, the Swedes and just about anybody else nowadays. This is not particularly Swiss.

I'm not sure if it is any particular reluctance. Seems more like an assessment of value/effort, impact/risk, cost/benefit, etc.

Developing an international network of friends has been a source of rewarding experiences and curiosity since the 1980s. With all the information available to us now, I'm not sure that same curiousity is as interesting as it use to be anymore.

What I often hear is that it is much simpler to have relationships with people that already understand you. It does take some effort to try to have one with someone that doesn't. It seems it would have to have some known value proposition to make the effort worthwhile.
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  #150  
Old 19.09.2016, 15:27
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

Its not from my experience. Its what I read somewhere concerning the Swiss
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Shouldn't you have added the caveat "...in my experience."?

Some of us have made it into the circle of trust.
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  #151  
Old 19.09.2016, 19:53
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

I for one understand that people from cultures where friendship is a long-term process and commitment don't see the point in investing time and energy on people who might only stay for a couple of years. In cultures where friendship is a more easy going affair it's another matter, but there people make and unmake friends all the time.

We made lots of friends while living in Paris. Lots. Had parties (that was pre-Troll, we were young and free), went out, the lot. How many of these friends do I still have? 3, and it takes real work keeping the friendships going. The other fell through over the years. Trollefar? None.

How many friends did I make in my many years in Norway? Two. And I had to work hard for those two. How many have I kept after leaving? Two. My husband? Pretty much all the friends he has since Gymnas, plus a few from university and later (mostly common friends).

It's really just a matter of differentiating between friends and accointances in cultures where the difference exists, and accepting that it's the way it is; you can't change the culture you've moved into, you can only adapt. Or not.
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  #152  
Old 19.09.2016, 22:51
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

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The Swiss build their circle of friends and then seal themselves off. Then they are very reluctant to let anybody else in.And especially not an " Ausländer".
Some Swiss perhaps.

Most of my Swiss friends are very open and welcome people from other countries with open mind and heart.
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  #153  
Old 20.09.2016, 00:01
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

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I suspect that technology plays a role. When I first arrived I had only letterwriting, and the telephone for contact with distant friends. I did have compuserve, but that was still mostly geeks. My parents weren't online, but I could send a compuserve mail to their fax for 0.65CHF/page (on top of phone and membership costs).

It is easy to forget how much email, facebook, whatsapp & co have changed the world. Without them an expat just established a local network somehow. It may not have been particularly easy or hard, but there wasn't a virtual closeness with distant friends to compare with, and there also wasn't an EF to come and complain to.
Absolutely! I experience it the other way around; How much easier it is to keep in touch with my friends all over the world today (but we did it back then too). I just remembered the other day how I had to send faxes on an exact day to a certain number in little fax-offices in India to be able to communicate with my English boyfriend who was leading tourist adventure holidays .... if we had handies, whats-app etc. then ....

Maybe a generation who makes a few hundred facebook-friends a day doesn't know how to make RL-friends anymore?

(Wonder what your handle was on compuserve ..... I was one of those geeks )

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The Swiss build their circle of friends and then seal themselves off. Then they are very reluctant to let anybody else in.And especially not an " Ausländer".
The information you (seem to) have about "the Swiss" .....


It is also amazing how people who live here still call us "the Swiss", talking about a country where the German, French, Italian and Romantsch mentality are all native .....
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  #154  
Old 20.09.2016, 00:11
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

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Some Swiss perhaps.

Most of my Swiss friends are very open and welcome people from other countries with open mind and heart.
That's because you live on the human side of Switzerland

Jokes aside, there does seem to be a split in experiences between the French and German areas.
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  #155  
Old 20.09.2016, 10:01
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

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That's because you live on the human side of Switzerland

Jokes aside, there does seem to be a split in experiences between the French and German areas.
Yeah, French areas are much more welcoming with their British "friends" whereas in the German ones it doesn't really matter where the hell are you coming from as long as you're OK.
I wouldn't switch them for a month, even though the local language would be clearly an advantage.
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Old 21.09.2016, 18:22
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

Me and a handful of other persons close to me (expats, of course) are having the exact same issue and we have concluded that if you are not able of speaking the language (it being Swiss German and not German) you are already kind of excluded. Even if not, you would have to really try hard to integrate in terms of activities and how you enjoy free time or how one behaves in every-day circumstances like going-out flirting, joking, working etc.. and certainly be extremely on time when having an appointment. What I think is missing, apart from all the aforementioned (i.e. extremely agreeing that you need to look like them to not feel a stranger), is that they are not "easy-going". However, this is something they cherish, and is not necessarily a negative. It's just what it is, they are formal. Very polite, very helpful, just not relaxed at deviations. Can't imagine someone feeling "different" in Spain, Italy, Greece etc because they have different styles in having fun or enjoying football or alcohol or approaching the other sex or talking loud(!!, that latter can be a serious problem in Switzerland..)! They do care about their framework and they (unconsciously in the beginning, consciously as they age) protect it. At least my humble experience and opinion.... you just can't have a Swiss trying out alternate lifestyles or routines
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Old 05.10.2016, 01:01
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

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Me and a handful of other persons close to me (expats, of course) are having the exact same issue and we have concluded that if you are not able of speaking the language (it being Swiss German and not German) you are already kind of excluded. Even if not, you would have to really try hard to integrate in terms of activities and how you enjoy free time or how one behaves in every-day circumstances like going-out flirting, joking, working etc.. and certainly be extremely on time when having an appointment. What I think is missing, apart from all the aforementioned (i.e. extremely agreeing that you need to look like them to not feel a stranger), is that they are not "easy-going". However, this is something they cherish, and is not necessarily a negative. It's just what it is, they are formal. Very polite, very helpful, just not relaxed at deviations. Can't imagine someone feeling "different" in Spain, Italy, Greece etc because they have different styles in having fun or enjoying football or alcohol or approaching the other sex or talking loud(!!, that latter can be a serious problem in Switzerland..)! They do care about their framework and they (unconsciously in the beginning, consciously as they age) protect it. At least my humble experience and opinion.... you just can't have a Swiss trying out alternate lifestyles or routines
What I think you are missing is chapters. Second thing is that moving in to the most hostile country in the world, and wondering where are the friends is pretty much like attending to ku klux klan meeting @50's while being black guy.. So it is pretty much luck and such how you get out of that. I wish you better luck than I had
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  #158  
Old 05.10.2016, 10:26
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

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moving in to the most hostile country in the world
Iraq, Cambodia, US?

Tom
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  #159  
Old 05.10.2016, 18:29
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

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Iraq, Cambodia, US?

Tom
i think it would be easier to make friends in north korea while shouting how much you hate the current dictator kim, than in zurich being quiet, polite and pretending to integrate...
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Old 05.10.2016, 22:01
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Re: Why hard to make friends in Switzerland?

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i think it would be easier to make friends in north korea while shouting how much you hate the current dictator kim, than in zurich being quiet, polite and pretending to integrate...
that's actually pretty funny
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