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  #141  
Old 08.07.2013, 00:29
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Re: Swiss Stare

relative to US standards, people all over Europe stare, so it is hardly a "Swiss" thing. the staring is particularly prevalent if you are an American and happen to find your way into parts of a country where tourists are the exception rather than the norm, but this would also be true of our small town in the US where anybody who doesn't look like a local is the immediate subject of equal parts curiosity and distrust.
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  #142  
Old 09.07.2013, 19:57
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Re: Swiss Stare

True. Sometimes I think I unfairly perceive the Swiss as rude but I have to think about how I would react if somebody came up to me blabbering in fluent German in the US. Probably a lot less accommodating.
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  #143  
Old 09.07.2013, 22:21
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Re: Swiss Stare

As a newcomer to Switzerland (almost a whole 2 weeks now!), I haven't yet noticed this phenomenon.
Although this now puts me in a bit of a quandary.
Do I start more overtly looking at everyone on the tram to see if they are staring at me? Maybe I'll be mistaken for a Swiss!
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  #144  
Old 09.07.2013, 22:40
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Re: Swiss Stare

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As a newcomer to Switzerland (almost a whole 2 weeks now!), I haven't yet noticed this phenomenon.
Although this now puts me in a bit of a quandary.
Do I start more overtly looking at everyone on the tram to see if they are staring at me? Maybe I'll be mistaken for a Swiss!
Oh, a Virgin! Don't worry, it won't hurt...
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  #145  
Old 09.07.2013, 22:50
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Re: Swiss Stare

Mrs Robinson? (your virgin is somewhere on this Forum, I've seen his picture)
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  #146  
Old 09.07.2013, 22:51
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Re: Swiss Stare

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As a newcomer to Switzerland (almost a whole 2 weeks now!), I haven't yet noticed this phenomenon.
Although this now puts me in a bit of a quandary.
Do I start more overtly looking at everyone on the tram to see if they are staring at me? Maybe I'll be mistaken for a Swiss!
Yes you need to be careful. Some people might be thinking you as a Swiss who likes to stare
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  #147  
Old 09.07.2013, 22:57
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Re: Swiss Stare

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I think this is one of those 'confirmation bias' things, that comes up when we have one of those arguments about whether Swiss people are 'friendly' or not. If you believe that 'the Swiss' stare a lot then you notice it every time someone does, and every time they don't stare, it doesn't register.
I agree. I think we expect staring when it doesn't happen and notice it when it surprise us, since we wouldn't expect it at that particular moment. Which does not say anything about a culture, but more about us expecting stuff at probably culturally inappropriate times.

I find locals polite, friendly and if they stare when I am not looking, who cares. I think they consider us impolite, unfriendly and staring.. It's just a matter of perception. And it's interesting how the Western centric attitude to explain cultural differences always rotates around "they do this to me" as opposed to "I bring my criteria, foreign to this place".
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  #148  
Old 09.07.2013, 23:00
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Re: Swiss Stare

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Yes you need to be careful. Some people might be thinking you as a Swiss who likes to stare
Which is absolutely disgusting, you being a Swiss in Switzerland and all...
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  #149  
Old 10.07.2013, 03:34
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Re: Swiss Stare

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As a newcomer to Switzerland (almost a whole 2 weeks now!), I haven't yet noticed this phenomenon.
Although this now puts me in a bit of a quandary.
Do I start more overtly looking at everyone on the tram to see if they are staring at me? Maybe I'll be mistaken for a Swiss!
Probably not. You want to be mistaken for Swiss on the train? Make all possible attempts to sit there and be quiet, except to ask if the seat is "frei" before 10am...red bull optional.
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  #150  
Old 10.07.2013, 10:36
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Re: Swiss Stare

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I find locals polite, friendly and if they stare when I am not looking, who cares. I think they consider us impolite, unfriendly and staring.. It's just a matter of perception. And it's interesting how the Western centric attitude to explain cultural differences always rotates around "they do this to me" as opposed to "I bring my criteria, foreign to this place".
I am still not convinced if I understand correctly what this "staring" means for our Anglo-Saxon friends. What I would probably call "looking at someone" they would call it "staring"...We live among people, we look at each other..why on earth is this a major discomfort for some? I have rarely seen anyone here still looking at you after your eyes meet.
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  #151  
Old 02.09.2013, 17:30
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Re: Swiss Stare

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I am still not convinced if I understand correctly what this "staring" means for our Anglo-Saxon friends. What I would probably call "looking at someone" they would call it "staring"...We live among people, we look at each other..why on earth is this a major discomfort for some? I have rarely seen anyone here still looking at you after your eyes meet.

There is a key difference between just looking at someone and locking eyes without letting go until the subject of your staring looks away. Im subject to stare downs like this on a regular basis here and havent noticed it before back home.
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  #152  
Old 02.09.2013, 18:20
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Re: Swiss Stare

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There is a key difference between just looking at someone and locking eyes without letting go until the subject of your staring looks away. Im subject to stare downs like this on a regular basis here and havent noticed it before back home.
This confuses me a bit. This so-called staredown has 2 people participating. It would be unlikely for this to end by both simultaneously, so most likely only one looks away at first.

So I'm still not sure what the key difference is - if you look someone in the eye it will almost always be a "staredown until one looks away", no? And if so, the duration is determined by whoever looks away first, so you can always control it yourself if you wanted to, right?
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  #153  
Old 02.09.2013, 18:37
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Re: Swiss Stare

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This confuses me a bit. This so-called staredown has 2 people participating. It would be unlikely for this to end by both simultaneously, so most likely only one looks away at first.

So I'm still not sure what the key difference is - if you look someone in the eye it will almost always be a "staredown until one looks away", no? And if so, the duration is determined by whoever looks away first, so you can always control it yourself if you wanted to, right?
I think it's more the making it their business to look in the direction and nose what someone is doing or how they look or something.

Sure, everybody looks around. Men glance over at women, women glance over at men. But it's generally a passing glance. Other times, there's a noise, a commotion or something extremely out of the ordinary i.e. a naked person running around, or some shouting preacher, that of course will attract attention too.

Here, people just look at you, and hold the look for more than the passing seconds one may glance in interest. From my UK perspective, it is the kind of duration that could lead to a, "what are you looking at?" because we find it rude to stare at people and you do not find people gawping at you in the UK so much, unless they have some kind of disability or are day dreaming, in which case they are not really staring at you but into the distance.

It is a bit off putting to begin with, you wonder whether there is something stuck on your face, your clothing. Question whether you really are attracting so many people in this new land, of both sexes. Is it because I am not wearing all black and grey? Is it because they can tell I am not Swiss? How? I look the same to my mind. Or are they just simply nosey people who see nothing wrong with looking at someone, for a duration of time deeming it a stare, without feeling the need to strike up conversation or simply look away once eyes meet.
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  #154  
Old 02.09.2013, 19:45
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Re: Swiss Stare

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I think it's more the making it their business to look in the direction and nose what someone is doing or how they look or something.

Sure, everybody looks around. Men glance over at women, women glance over at men. But it's generally a passing glance. Other times, there's a noise, a commotion or something extremely out of the ordinary i.e. a naked person running around, or some shouting preacher, that of course will attract attention too.

Here, people just look at you, and hold the look for more than the passing seconds one may glance in interest. From my UK perspective, it is the kind of duration that could lead to a, "what are you looking at?" because we find it rude to stare at people and you do not find people gawping at you in the UK so much, unless they have some kind of disability or are day dreaming, in which case they are not really staring at you but into the distance.

It is a bit off putting to begin with, you wonder whether there is something stuck on your face, your clothing. Question whether you really are attracting so many people in this new land, of both sexes. Is it because I am not wearing all black and grey? Is it because they can tell I am not Swiss? How? I look the same to my mind. Or are they just simply nosey people who see nothing wrong with looking at someone, for a duration of time deeming it a stare, without feeling the need to strike up conversation or simply look away once eyes meet.
I think the UK/London is the other extreme, the masses have traumatized by a billion grey days and daily.... sardination in trains. Eye contact is strictly forbidden and speaking might mean your season ticket is confiscated despite fully 4/5ths of your body being in contact with someone at any time.
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  #155  
Old 02.09.2013, 19:54
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Re: Swiss Stare

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I think the UK/London is the other extreme, the masses have traumatized by a billion grey days and daily.... sardination in trains. Eye contact is strictly forbidden and speaking might mean your season ticket is confiscated despite fully 4/5ths of your body being in contact with someone at any time.
Haha spot on.

Everyone is so stressed with the commute or wanting sleep as they have had to budget 2 hours for what's really a 30 minute journey that they are so tired that to then engage in conversation is akin to a proposal of a fight.

There is some conversation though, namel a rollicking at the prats who try board when people are departing or those arseholes who like to push in line. I have seen my fair share of those lambs up for slaughter.
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  #156  
Old 02.09.2013, 22:21
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Re: Swiss Stare

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relative to US standards, people all over Europe stare, so it is hardly a "Swiss" thing. the staring is particularly prevalent if you are an American and happen to find your way into parts of a country where tourists are the exception rather than the norm, but this would also be true of our small town in the US where anybody who doesn't look like a local is the immediate subject of equal parts curiosity and distrust.
except that tourists in most of the USA are THE exception, while tourists in most of Switzerland have been the norm for more than 200 years. I at the other hand do not believe that the Red Indians regarded the European newcomers as tourists
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  #157  
Old 03.09.2013, 08:27
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Re: Swiss Stare

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As a newcomer to Switzerland (almost a whole 2 weeks now!), I haven't yet noticed this phenomenon.
Although this now puts me in a bit of a quandary.
Do I start more overtly looking at everyone on the tram to see if they are staring at me? Maybe I'll be mistaken for a Swiss!

I've been here donkey's years and haven't noticed it either. Maybe I don't look at people long enough!
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  #158  
Old 09.09.2013, 17:08
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Re: Swiss Stare

ahh I had the same experience but I never talked about it maybe because I am a foreigner??? but after a while i stopped caring about it.
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  #159  
Old 09.09.2013, 23:01
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Re: Swiss Stare

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we've let this thread get WAY off topic
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Old 09.09.2013, 23:24
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Re: Swiss Stare

Granted, I've only lived in the Romandie, but I've never noticed any staring. By my standards, people don't look at each other around here. It feels almost like New York.
I think it's only a Northern/Anglo-Saxon thing to notice the staring.

In the countries of South, such as my little part of Mediterranean, we look at each other much more than here. I've always noticed, when traveling from NYC to my home town, how already at the airport my appearance is studied in detail, judged, and assessed: I could see the eyes traveling from my head to toe, no attempts at discretion.
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