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Old 25.12.2011, 09:29
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something I can't get used to / have trouble understanding, is people saying "good morning" or "hello" to total strangers.

Examples: Person A is walking down a hallway, saying "good morning" to people sitting at their desks, even though he doesn't know any of them.

Entering a waiting room in the doctor's office, a lady says "hello everyone" to those already seated.

and if one does not exhibit such behaviors, it's considered rude I take it. I still can't get used to it, as it seems intrusive to my American sensibilities.
I know! In the US we ignore people we don't know, if someone you don't know says hello, you wonder what they want, and that's a little sad, I think. I like saying hello to people now though...you may find it less strange as time goes on.
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Old 25.12.2011, 09:34
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

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I know! In the US we ignore people we don't know, if someone you don't know says hello, you wonder what they want...
Exactly!!! What do they want, what are they selling, what psychological problem do they have, are they drunk, oh dear lord please don't let them ask me for directions to the Wal-Mart.... etc.

I think it is also pleasant that people exchange pleasantries in Switzerland the way they do. I just can't get used to it, and making it a habit is a hard one to develop. I'm getting really good at disapproving stares though.
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Old 25.12.2011, 10:28
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something I can't get used to / have trouble understanding, is people saying "good morning" or "hello" to total strangers.

Examples: Person A is walking down a hallway, saying "good morning" to people sitting at their desks, even though he doesn't know any of them.

Entering a waiting room in the doctor's office, a lady says "hello everyone" to those already seated.

and if one does not exhibit such behaviors, it's considered rude I take it. I still can't get used to it, as it seems intrusive to my American sensibilities.
I started doing this! I said en guete mitenand to a couple of strangers eating pizza on the stairs as I walked past them on the street
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Old 25.12.2011, 17:51
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

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I know! In the US we ignore people we don't know, if someone you don't know says hello, you wonder what they want, and that's a little sad, I think. I like saying hello to people now though...you may find it less strange as time goes on.
It's interesting you say that, because when I visited my uncle living in Ohio, I was very charmed by how people greeted us with a 'good morning/afternoon etc as they passed us on the sidewalk. It was a smaller city, though.

The funny thing is I've completely assimilated this habit into my behaviour, so people are often surprised during my visits abroad!

I think it's actually a highly-civilised thing to do, acknowledging the people you share a space with.
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Old 25.12.2011, 18:20
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Re: Best tip you ever received about social etiquette with the Swiss?

This thread is meandering off topic, but I do need to stress that in America in the south and, especially, in small towns, one DOES greet or wave to people one meets on the streets or in shops or whatever. To not do so is considered rude, just like here.

I think it's only those nasty ol' Yankees that don't acknowledge other people.

Back on topic, the best tip I ever received about the Swiss is to treat them exactly like how you, yourself, want to be treated and to completely ignore the rigid/humorless/regimented stereotypes. The Swiss that I've become close to are just as fun and outgoing as everybody else.
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