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Old 26.07.2020, 13:49
Anjela Anjela is offline
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Join Date: May 2006
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Re: Getting to know neighbours in my apartment block

I was a flat-dweller in Geneva (Carouge) for over twenty years, in neither of the two blocks of flats did I really know my neighbours; in the first I eventually struck up a friendship with my upstairs neighbour... that took five years and only happened after I realised she was american so spoke english (my french is fine, but it was nice to slip into english occasionally). In the second it was easier, again language was the original opener as was the fact that my immediate neighbours were also artists; collectively we were known to the other inhabitants as 'les spéciaux du sixième' (the special ones on the sixth floor).
In both cases those were the only people in the buildings I could ever claim to more having than a nodding acquaintance with, although I did come to know other neighbours better over time it's quite rare and most people prefer to keep their neighbours at arm's length.
Normally you greet your neighbours with a quick nod and possibly bonjour or bonsoir as you pass by... maybe an inquiring comment ça va if you're feeling particularly cheerful (the correct reply is ça va, nothing more).
If they want more it'll come, but takes time, lots of time!
The one thing I would suggest is be very, very polite to the concierge, get on the wrong side of the person who controls the keys to the laundry room and the central heating and you're in trouble!

I suspect the introductory letters meloncollie refers to are a swiss-german custom, in forty years I've not heard of an instance of that being expected in Swiss Romande when moving to a village, certainly never in canton Geneva. This bizarre obsession with geraniums seems to be swiss-german too!
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