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Old 25.07.2011, 16:29
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Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

Dear all,

maybe it's just my problem, because I come from a specific country, but in three years I've been in Switzerland I experienced so many times the weird behavior of the swiss people that I can't take it anymore. For ex, every time I reply to their question "Where do you come from?" with "I come from Italy" I always get the reaction "Oh, really? The mafia country!" or "Oh, do you know any mafia guy?" or "Ah, mafia! Mamma mia!".
To my Irish friend they replied "Ah, Ireland, no money! Ahahahah"
Do the swiss know the term "gaffe"? Do they understand that is offensive, politicly incorrect, unpolite, the opposite of diplomatic and friendly to label a foreigneir with the most negative characteristic of his/her Heimat (country of origin)??? How they react if I/you would reply to their "I'm swiss" with "oh, the country of the dirty/washed money of all the mafia from all around the world" or "ah, the country who screwed the Jewish keeping their money after they were dead because of the war, instead of giving it back to the families" and so on... In no country and with no other nationality I experienced such a luck of galateo, manners. How should I reply to the next "ah, Italy...mafia!!"?????
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Old 25.07.2011, 16:32
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Re: Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

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How should I reply to the next "ah, Italy...mafia!!"?????
Tell them you're from Ticino?

Tom
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Old 25.07.2011, 16:38
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Re: Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

Did you post an intro ? I understand you're from the mafia place south of here ?
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Old 25.07.2011, 16:43
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Re: Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

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Dear all,

maybe it's just my problem, because I come from a specific country, but in three years I've been in Switzerland I experienced so many times the weird behavior of the swiss people that I can't take it anymore. For ex, every time I reply to their question "Where do you come from?" with "I come from Italy" I always get the reaction "Oh, really? The mafia country!" or "Oh, do you know any mafia guy?" or "Ah, mafia! Mamma mia!".
To my Irish friend they replied "Ah, Ireland, no money! Ahahahah"
Do the swiss know the term "gaffe"? Do they understand that is offensive, politicly incorrect, unpolite, the opposite of diplomatic and friendly to label a foreigneir with the most negative characteristic of his/her Heimat (country of origin)??? How they react if I/you would reply to their "I'm swiss" with "oh, the country of the dirty/washed money of all the mafia from all around the world" or "ah, the country who screwed the Jewish keeping their money after they were dead because of the war, instead of giving it back to the families" and so on... In no country and with no other nationality I experienced such a luck of galateo, manners. How should I reply to the next "ah, Italy...mafia!!"?????

Here, in these situations, you have to exercise even higher levels of social skills to deal with them. You have to realize, that they think they are being extremely friendly and inclusive by mentioning something about your background. They don't see this a rude, but rather as very socially acceptable. Don't think you can use the same style with them as well though, mention one negative sterotype about the Swiss, and you will see a frown become even frownier and offended.
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Old 25.07.2011, 16:45
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Re: Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

Awwww....

I think you have mistaken a lack of social grace/acceptable behavior with lack of sense of humor, really. I think those are really corny jokes that you are supposed to slap your knees and laugh really hard. I would do it, so loud it would make them feel uncomfortable, cmon...Or I would say, really dry, you have heard of Swiss excellent and sophisticated sense of humor, and give them nice, obvious wink.

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Old 25.07.2011, 17:01
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Re: Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

obvious thing would be to say "shaddapa ya face.."

that what you all say isnt it?
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Old 25.07.2011, 17:08
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Re: Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

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Dear all,

maybe it's just my problem, because I come from a specific country, but in three years I've been in Switzerland I experienced so many times the weird behavior of the swiss people that I can't take it anymore. For ex, every time I reply to their question "Where do you come from?" with "I come from Italy" I always get the reaction "Oh, really? The mafia country!" or "Oh, do you know any mafia guy?" or "Ah, mafia! Mamma mia!".
To my Irish friend they replied "Ah, Ireland, no money! Ahahahah"
Do the swiss know the term "gaffe"? Do they understand that is offensive, politicly incorrect, unpolite, the opposite of diplomatic and friendly to label a foreigneir with the most negative characteristic of his/her Heimat (country of origin)??? How they react if I/you would reply to their "I'm swiss" with "oh, the country of the dirty/washed money of all the mafia from all around the world" or "ah, the country who screwed the Jewish keeping their money after they were dead because of the war, instead of giving it back to the families" and so on... In no country and with no other nationality I experienced such a luck of galateo, manners. How should I reply to the next "ah, Italy...mafia!!"?????
Oh, I hear you...this subject is very sensitive and personal to me, as I find it is not always easy to be "taken seriously" when you are Italian (and I might add: young, a woman, and a professional in a developing, male-dominated work field).

I have had the same experience, but I don't think it's only or necessarily a Swiss thing: I routinely got asked about mafia, what I think about Mr. Berlusconi, if I know random so-and-so who lives in XYZ - and I am from the opposite side of a 60-million people country (!) - and other "pleasant" things practically everywhere I have lived. However, I also got a lot of comments along the lines of how beautiful Italy is, which is always nice to hear.

To be fair, my personal experience is that generally people around the world like Italians, however I will admit that, to the average Joe (or Johannes) out there, the image of Italy that is portrayed in the media is not at all comforting - the images of trash-filled streets in Napoli, the adventures of Mr. B. which, leaving any moral considerations aside, turn the country into a huge joke, and the general stereotypes.

Generally speaking, it is very easy to stop at the stereotypes without having a real idea of what's really going on in a country, but again, this is a trait I have seen in many people with varying degrees of education (but ignorant about anything beyond their backyard) around the world, INCLUDING in Italy - how many clueless people lump "the USA" into one big bucket, failing to recognize the immense and wonderful variations within the country itself, or blindly believe the sensationalist press about Israel without having ever been to the country, or think that "Mexico is cheap booze and drugs" and have only been to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun (shivers). The list is long.

To answer your question, to the next one who says "Ah, Italy, mafia!", here is how I answer, with a smile: "Not only that, rather a country with thousands of years of history and traditions, which has its struggles, like any other country, but is filled with people with initiative, *balls*, and innovative spirit both at home and abroad, people who are not afraid to pick up and move to a different country(ies) if necessary, people who, now as in the past, contribute to the world advancement and you don't always read about them in the papers, people who, despite all odds and the bad rep, are out there working hard to prove to the world that Italy is indeed not only mafia and spaghetti. And where are you from?"

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Old 25.07.2011, 17:13
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Re: Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

Only country I know of where smiling villain sales staff rip you off and you walk away feeling better for spending so much.

How does a shopkeeper say "Fekk you Auslander" in Switzerland ? ...

..." Merci vilmal"
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Old 25.07.2011, 17:16
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Re: Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

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How they react if I/you would reply to their "I'm swiss" with "oh, the country of the dirty/washed money of all the mafia from all around the world" or "ah, the country who screwed the Jewish keeping their money after they were dead because of the war, instead of giving it back to the families" and so on...
Funnily this is exactly what I got to hear when introducing myself as a Swiss living in the UK.

Grow a thicker skin, laugh about it, congratulate the offender on his wonderful sense of humour and suggest he goes into stand up comedey.
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Old 25.07.2011, 17:20
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Re: Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

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Awwww....

I think you have mistaken a lack of social grace/acceptable behavior with lack of sense of humor, really. I think those are really corny jokes that you are supposed to slap your knees and laugh really hard. I would do it, so loud it would make them feel uncomfortable, cmon...Or I would say, really dry, you have heard of Swiss excellent and sophisticated sense of humor, and give them nice, obvious wink.

+rep for the hot chick. i love a cheeky wink
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Old 25.07.2011, 17:26
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Re: Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

Let me answer with a response I got from another user when I complaint about stereotyping:
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No, I'm not general, I'm just a realist. Stereotypes exist for a lot of reasons, one of them being that there isn't sufficient and pressing enough evidence to disprove them and so often they are at least partially to somewhat correct.

Look, I get you want to be a special and individual flower and not be lumped into a stereotype like 'Swiss folks are assholes' but, again, being American I am used to it - Tell me you've never said anything like "Americans are stupid/dumb/lazy/violent/homicidal/corrupt/etc", and I'll buy the warm and fuzzy idea that stereotypes shouldn't exist right after I go out and get a copy of 'We are the World' and start believing it.

The way we begin to understand the alien landscape around us is by observation and sharing observations. I've not been here that long, but by and large I find my experiences match some of the less flattering stereotypes. I likely won't meet every citizen of Switzerland, but do bear in mind that stereotypes exist because enough people have experienced something to give it a life of its own, e.g. "Americans are fat cows." which judging my the new numbers out today, 2/3 of the US are indeed at least overweight but that changes dramatically depending on what state you're in - so don't go to Mississippi if you want to see thin people (though there are some skinny folk who live there).... So, yes, Americans are fat cows, but not all Americans are fat cows.

HTH. HAND and by all means, have a pint on me later.
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Old 25.07.2011, 17:29
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Re: Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

When we 1st moved here, my wife's colleagues were always commenting on her being Irish and me English, asking if we ever fought at home. Whether they were being serious or joking, I'm not sure.
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Old 25.07.2011, 17:35
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Re: Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

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you are supposed to slap
Best tip so far.
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Old 25.07.2011, 17:41
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Re: Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

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Funnily this is exactly what I got to hear when introducing myself as a Swiss living in the UK.

Grow a thicker skin, laugh about it, congratulate the offender on his wonderful sense of humour and suggest he goes into stand up comedey.

Definitely the best advice.

Some (many) say that it's impossible to offend a Canadian. This is definitely not true, but it is tough. I'm up there though, there's only one phrase/term in existance that offends me, and from what I have gathered, I am the only person to be offended by it, so I just keep it a secret, and HTFU whenever I hear it being used.
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Old 25.07.2011, 17:46
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Re: Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

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Do they understand that is offensive, politicly incorrect, unpolite, the opposite of diplomatic and friendly to label a foreigneir with the most negative characteristic of his/her Heimat (country of origin)???
Is it? When they realize I'm from Tijuana.. I hear the same. I just laugh.

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How should I reply to the next "ah, Italy...mafia!!"?????
"Yep, I'm here coz someone has to take care of the money"... that's how I reply.
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Old 25.07.2011, 17:46
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Re: Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

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Dear all,

maybe it's just my problem, because I come from a specific country, but in three years I've been in Switzerland I experienced so many times the weird behavior of the swiss people that I can't take it anymore. For ex, every time I reply to their question "Where do you come from?" with "I come from Italy" I always get the reaction "Oh, really? The mafia country!" or "Oh, do you know any mafia guy?" or "Ah, mafia! Mamma mia!".
To my Irish friend they replied "Ah, Ireland, no money! Ahahahah"
Do the swiss know the term "gaffe"? Do they understand that is offensive, politicly incorrect, unpolite, the opposite of diplomatic and friendly to label a foreigneir with the most negative characteristic of his/her Heimat (country of origin)??? How they react if I/you would reply to their "I'm swiss" with "oh, the country of the dirty/washed money of all the mafia from all around the world" or "ah, the country who screwed the Jewish keeping their money after they were dead because of the war, instead of giving it back to the families" and so on... In no country and with no other nationality I experienced such a luck of galateo, manners. How should I reply to the next "ah, Italy...mafia!!"?????
it's not just the swiss. i have a few italian friends and when i go out with them, i hear that line every time and i'm already sick of it, so i guess the italians must be more so. to be honest, i never had a strong relation in my mind between italian and mafia (though i didn't see the godfather films until recently). there is organised crime from every country.
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Old 25.07.2011, 17:51
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Re: Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

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Some (many) say that it's impossible to offend a Canadian. This is definitely not true, but it is tough.
Well, my niece may have been a bit offended when she went to Paris and every time she spoke, they responded back in English (which she didn't speak at the time), as they couldn't belive that French (or rather, Quebeceois) was her mother tongue!

Tom
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Old 25.07.2011, 17:55
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Re: Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

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Well, my niece may have been a bit offended when she went to Paris and every time she spoke, they responded back in English (which she didn't speak at the time), as they couldn't belive that French (or rather, Quebeceois) was her mother tongue!

Tom

hehehe Quebec isn't part really of Canada :P Just a place to drink when you're 18 and farm future NHL goalies.
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Old 25.07.2011, 17:58
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Re: Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

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How should I reply to the next "ah, Italy...mafia!!"?????
You should say "no, bunga bunga!"
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Old 25.07.2011, 18:07
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Re: Social/soft skills: do the swiss have any? Which one?

Just smile sweetly, whilst brandishing your violin case
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