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Old 04.03.2009, 00:53
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Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

Hi,

I'm from California and I'm visiting Luzern for two weeks. There's a chance that I might be able to relocate to this wonderful country. I'd be living in or near Nyon, however.

My question is about eye-contact with strangers, particularly those of the opposite sex. Yes I'm one of those goofy Americans who tends to look at people briefly and smile at them; I'm a friendly person! In a large city in the US, people seem to take extra steps to avoid looking at anyone else they don't know. However, I was born and raised in a smaller city in the south and we just can't seem to resist acknowledging fellow humans in a friendly manner.

Anyhow, I'm here alone and it's rather depressing to just shuffle along Bahnhof in silence in the dark, wet, near-freezing weather while I wait for my bus to arrive. Do strangers ever strike up random conversations here? My own cultural experience is that a shared smile with eye contact is an invitation to say hello. Here, I find that women will lock and hold eye contact when walking past (very appealing) but their facial expression is totally blank.

Can someone clue me in a little so that I can enjoy my visit yet hopefully avoid having my own little cross-cultural disaster?
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Old 04.03.2009, 01:03
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Re: Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

Also, I'd like to add that I've read the lenghty beautiful Swiss women thread and I agree with it 100%. A very large number of them, at least in this area, are exactly the type that I find tremendously appealing. I was riding the train from Zurich to Luzern, I had been in the country for only two hours, and somewhere just before Zug I came to the shocking realization that I want to grow old with one of these stunning women.

Coming from me, a perma-bachelor, it was quite a revelation!
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Old 04.03.2009, 01:26
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Re: Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

Some people will feel I'm digging at the Swiss for posting this. But since you asked...

Luzern is not very cosmopolitan. It's a an overgrown village. While there is a lot of people milling about, the level of social civility is not very modern, nor developed.

I know a group of girls from California who passed through recently. These girls are outgoing models who love to flirt, talk to anybody and make people smile. They were pretty turned off by the downcast vibe in Luzern.

But we did have a good time in Zuerich. Zuerich has some kind of pulse that registers.

If you want to meet girls, I think the best context is through mutual friends and private parties. I don't think street action is common here. With all the beautiful women out there, don't you just wish it was as liberated as the west coast?
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Old 04.03.2009, 09:19
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Re: Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

Im pretty new in Switzerland ( 4 Months) but since ive been here i find that the eye contact and smiling at strangers is very acceptable, whether your on a train or simply walking along the street. You will nearly always get a smile and a Greuzi back, especially from those of the opposite sex. Keep looking , keep smiling and keep saying hello, it really makes your day go much better. I have only visited lucern once , but alos found the same attitudes prevail there as well as in Zurich.



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Hi,

I'm from California and I'm visiting Luzern for two weeks. There's a chance that I might be able to relocate to this wonderful country. I'd be living in or near Nyon, however.

My question is about eye-contact with strangers, particularly those of the opposite sex. Yes I'm one of those goofy Americans who tends to look at people briefly and smile at them; I'm a friendly person! In a large city in the US, people seem to take extra steps to avoid looking at anyone else they don't know. However, I was born and raised in a smaller city in the south and we just can't seem to resist acknowledging fellow humans in a friendly manner.

Anyhow, I'm here alone and it's rather depressing to just shuffle along Bahnhof in silence in the dark, wet, near-freezing weather while I wait for my bus to arrive. Do strangers ever strike up random conversations here? My own cultural experience is that a shared smile with eye contact is an invitation to say hello. Here, I find that women will lock and hold eye contact when walking past (very appealing) but their facial expression is totally blank.

Can someone clue me in a little so that I can enjoy my visit yet hopefully avoid having my own little cross-cultural disaster?
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Old 04.03.2009, 09:33
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Re: Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

If they lock eyes with you, RichardM, don't hesitate to smile and say, "Gruezi!" Don't just do this with the young women; the old ladies can be very delightful, too. Borrow a young dog (if at all possible) for a walk and watch the whole world of adoring women open to you.
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Old 04.03.2009, 09:37
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Re: Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

Have to say this is one of the things I love about the Swiss, strangers will strike up friendly conversations with you, especially if you are on the train, or have a dog or a baby in tow. I once had a terribly enthusiastic chap on the platform at Stadelhofen explain to me that my bicycle (a top end folding bike), must have Shimano 943958/2 (or something like that) bearings, which were the best in the world, and he could tell by the ticking noise the back wheel made, and weren't bearings fascinating.

Cheers

Jim
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Old 04.03.2009, 09:51
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Re: Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

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Borrow a young dog (if at all possible) for a walk and watch the whole world of adoring women open to you.
can i borrow your doggie?
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Old 04.03.2009, 09:56
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Re: Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

Yes, certainly. For you, dear Hsiang, a special 'Gunstiger' price of CHF20 for half an hour. Go get 'em, tiger! (But aren'tchoo afraid of bezoars?!)

My other half was pleasantly surprised by all the pretty young women going up to him when he was waiting for me outside a supermarket in a mall. But then downside was they loved the pup more than they did him.
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Old 04.03.2009, 09:59
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Re: Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

I am one of those Swiss woman who almost always wears a smile while walking on the streets. Very often people smile back at me, men or women, kids look at me with their big eyes, even dogs look at me.
I always had jobs where friendliness mattered. I do observe people a great deal, on public transports, at work, and it does at times almost pain me to see how blank, how indifferent, how sad some of the faces look, even faces of youngsters. Don't we all enjoy the company of someone who has a light heart, a fresh smile, something nice to say ? This is just human.

Now I think we do find Americans just exaggerate it all a wee-bit, force their smiles upon us, fake it all a bit, show off. This is Europe and we behave like Europeans, which does have a wide range of different behaviors.

Nothing holds you back from doing the so called first step, does it, just smile at someone and start a conversation and you will see what happens ... if you say your a Californian you'll be forgiven but don't just expect for every girl to welcome you with wide open arms if you see what I mean
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Old 04.03.2009, 10:09
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Re: Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

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Borrow a young dog (if at all possible) for a walk and watch the whole world of adoring women open to you.
You think a dog's good, try a cute baba for attracting the fairer sex. I get mobbed when I take the little lad to Morrisons. We might both smell vaguely of milky puke, and whereas he's normally bright eyed and bushy tailed, I'm starting to look like the lead singer from KISS, but they don't seem to mind. Just proves that women are only after one thing...

Cheers

Jim
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Old 04.03.2009, 10:31
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Re: Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

Once you have arrived in Europe you will quickly realize how much people's behaviour and reactions differ from those encountered in New World's countries especially if you come from warm climatic zones. If you visit Germanic countries you will soon notice that people are more reserved and do not show similar amount of spontaneous enthusiasm upon introduction as you would normally get e.g. South America. The question which one is more sincere is another topic on its own. However, when you strike a conversation with anyone here it is very important to make an eye contact. It is valid in situations when you e.g. get introduced to someone or rise a toast and etc. It shows mutual trust and sincere intentions. Apparently lack of eye contact makes an impression that a person has something to hide.
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Old 04.03.2009, 11:29
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Re: Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

By the way, observe the difference when the weather gets warm and sunny. The smiling and eye-contacts increases considerably.

I understand Brian Wilson's point, 'I wish they all could be California Girls'.
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Old 04.03.2009, 12:32
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Re: Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

I think the reaction you get depends on your teeth. If you've got stained yellow teeth, better to keep your mouth shut. If you've got nice pearly whites then go for it. But be careful. Exposing some unsuspecting passerby to the full glare of a gob full of all American stay brite teeth might be considered an assault.
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Old 04.03.2009, 12:39
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Re: Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

I'm happy that they're not California girls, truthfully. The girls back home lean toward being plastic and fake. Too much cosmetic surgery, botox, make-up, jewelry, etc, plus an attitude of "the world owes me something." The women in CH look healthy (except for the cigarette smoking) and "real." Not a great deal of makeup, smart dress styles that are not overly flashy or tacky, natural-looking hairstyles, and so on.

The local women don't appear to be very high-maintenance, if I may use an English expression.
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Old 04.03.2009, 12:55
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Re: Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

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I think the reaction you get depends on your teeth. If you've got stained yellow teeth, better to keep your mouth shut. If you've got nice pearly whites then go for it. But be careful. Exposing some unsuspecting passerby to the full glare of a gob full of all American stay brite teeth might be considered an assault.
Nev, you really are a very naughty Brit. How dare we, criticize an Americans (or any Johnny Foreigner's) teeth now?
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Old 04.03.2009, 13:42
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Re: Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

I promise that I have not used a tooth whitening product.






So far this year....

<---- pearly whites
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Old 04.03.2009, 13:47
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Re: Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

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I'm happy that they're not California girls, truthfully. The girls back home lean toward being plastic and fake. Too much cosmetic surgery, botox, make-up, jewelry, etc, plus an attitude of "the world owes me something." The women in CH look healthy (except for the cigarette smoking) and "real." Not a great deal of makeup, smart dress styles that are not overly flashy or tacky, natural-looking hairstyles, and so on.

The local women don't appear to be very high-maintenance, if I may use an English expression.

The grass is always greener on the other side.
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Old 04.03.2009, 14:42
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Re: Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

Indeed. Want to trade places?
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Old 04.03.2009, 14:45
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Re: Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

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Indeed. Want to trade places?
Nope. Been there, done that, and that's why I'm here with my Swiss Miss . The only thing I would trade is the weather. Would you take chocolate for that?
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Old 04.03.2009, 14:52
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Re: Eye-contact and talking to strangers?

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Hi,

I'm from California and I'm visiting Luzern for two weeks. There's a chance that I might be able to relocate to this wonderful country. I'd be living in or near Nyon, however.

My question is about eye-contact with strangers, particularly those of the opposite sex. Yes I'm one of those goofy Americans who tends to look at people briefly and smile at them; I'm a friendly person! In a large city in the US, people seem to take extra steps to avoid looking at anyone else they don't know. However, I was born and raised in a smaller city in the south and we just can't seem to resist acknowledging fellow humans in a friendly manner.

Anyhow, I'm here alone and it's rather depressing to just shuffle along Bahnhof in silence in the dark, wet, near-freezing weather while I wait for my bus to arrive. Do strangers ever strike up random conversations here? My own cultural experience is that a shared smile with eye contact is an invitation to say hello. Here, I find that women will lock and hold eye contact when walking past (very appealing) but their facial expression is totally blank.

Can someone clue me in a little so that I can enjoy my visit yet hopefully avoid having my own little cross-cultural disaster?
I too was raised in the South. There is not the same friendliness
that you find in the South. People generally keep their distance,
especially in the German speaking part. In Nyon and the French speaking areas, the people are a little more likely to smile. If you talk to a
stranger in the German speaking area, they look at you like you are "goofed on Skunkweed".
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