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  #41  
Old 29.08.2016, 13:04
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

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I definitely agree with the language part - some German (not necessarily Swiss German) would definitely help.

I originally lived in North Germany and I find the mentality, when it comes to making friends, quite similar. Very friendly and polite to each other but also quite guarded - I find this to be quite similar to Britain - but I'm from Devon and as someone already pointed out - you'll never become a local in Devon....

We've just moved into our apartment and we have some very delightful Swiss neighbours who have offered to help us with anything and I work with a lot of Swiss People and I've found them very open and accepting - I think they really appreciate an English woman speaking near fluent German though...
I'm nowhere near fluent, and it still helps. Trying gets you a lot of goodwill, especially if you have a sense of humour and can laugh at your own mistakes.

I don't know, maybe it comes from having moved to Norway in the 90s, before most of the Western foreigners who came to work for the oil industry, but I find Switzerland a surprisingly easy place to be. I would definitely like to retire here if we can afford it, while I would never retire in Norway.

But I can definitely understand the "caged" feeling some people get, especially women if they've had to give up work to follow the husband and can't speak the local language. Small children can also make it worse, as they limit your activities. You get lonely, you start thinking about everything you gave up. But honestly, you can feel caged everywhere for that matter, depending on your circumstances.

A lot of things in my life suck at the moment, but none of them have to do with living here or would be improved significantly by being elsewhere. But then again I'm lucky, I can get by in German, I've plenty of activities to keep myself busy and I'm not dependent on a big network to be content.
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  #42  
Old 29.08.2016, 14:09
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

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Take up hiking.
Hear hear! Although we hike because we love it, rather than to actively look for friends, I agree that people engage more when you have some hobby in common.

This reminds me of the one Swiss neighbour who did not speak to me in English, when we just moved in. In the beginning I thought she could not speak English at all, so I carried on chatting with her from time to time in my broken German. Somehow one day I mentioned we recently visited the alpine museum in Bern, and we were looking forward to spring to get a good dose of hiking. That was the day her (good) English came out, as she finally found something that we had in common! Ever since, she speaks to me in English!

Yes, take up hiking: it really opens door (and the airways).
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  #43  
Old 29.08.2016, 16:18
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

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Take up hiking. You'll meet plenty of friendly people. Plus the locals really appreciate when you show interest for the country, and walking around the Alps in a wonderful way to do so. Not only am I amazed by the number of people who want to chit chat with me while I'm up un the mountains, it's also a great way to break the ice once you're back in the valley. Being able to place Sumvigt on the map or having been to well know metropolises such as Rosswald or Quinten gives you plenty of cred, and people are always oddly proud that you know of these places. They take it very personal.

I've just started staying in SAC huts when I go off, haven't made friends yet but have improved my German a lot during dinner time and have had lots of fun. You don't sleep well, but it's socially interesting. I'll probably join the SAC next summer, then I can take courses and get to meet people on a more regular basis.
It could be argued that those who hike regularly are made of a different cloth than those who DON'T hike regularly. Being Swiss does not mean you have a default lifestyle of granola and walking up mountains. Like-minded people tend to have at least some things in common. If you are somewhere unique, chances are you will encounter people who are MORE like you than not.

I know many Swiss who do not visit SAC huts but only rarely. Again, if that rare visit does occur, encountering that person in that setting will be a false meeting as it would be statistically artificial.

But this is the universal key to meeting and befriending Swiss...do something they like. Goodness knows these are the most organized culture I've ever encountered. As such...if there is an interest in ANYTHING then there is most certainly a club for it. Clubs are indeed a great way to meet people, as long as the language is not an issue.
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  #44  
Old 29.08.2016, 16:43
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

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It could be argued that those who hike regularly are made of a different cloth than those who DON'T hike regularly. Being Swiss does not mean you have a default lifestyle of granola and walking up mountains. Like-minded people tend to have at least some things in common. If you are somewhere unique, chances are you will encounter people who are MORE like you than not.

I know many Swiss who do not visit SAC huts but only rarely. Again, if that rare visit does occur, encountering that person in that setting will be a false meeting as it would be statistically artificial.

But this is the universal key to meeting and befriending Swiss...do something they like. Goodness knows these are the most organized culture I've ever encountered. As such...if there is an interest in ANYTHING then there is most certainly a club for it. Clubs are indeed a great way to meet people, as long as the language is not an issue.
Agreed. But I'd never hike before coming here, it came to me as a result of being here, so for a newcomer it cam be worth a try. I thought I was hopeless city person only fit for places like Paris or Singapore, I'm now spending as many days as possible above 2000 and wondering if I should try proper mountain climbing. And I definitely want to try paragliding.

I started slow and easy 3 summers ago like the complete amateur I was, doing easy hikes with Junior and his dad. Last summer I started hiking alone, again starting easy and increasing gradually. This year it's a completely different ball game, I've been doing harder and harder hikes and I'm contemplating trying out the blue and white routes next summer (but maybe not alone).

Compared to earlier years, and since my German also has improved, I find it a lot easier to talk to people. I mean, now I know what they are talking about and I can hold my own in an outdoorsy conversation. SAC huts aren't a must unless you're like me and you like it a bit painful. There are loads of really nice mountain hotels/guesthouses. But I think the huts are fun, even though I seem to always end up in a dorm with the worst snorer in the country.

As an added bonus I've lost 10 kg and gained 2 kg of muscle mass. Plus I'll be top shape for the ski season. And more importantly I've discovered some really cool places in the country and met really nice people.
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  #45  
Old 29.08.2016, 17:23
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

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Agreed. But I'd never hike before coming here, it came to me as a result of being here, so for a newcomer it cam be worth a try. I thought I was hopeless city person only fit for places like Paris or Singapore, I'm now spending as many days as possible above 2000 and wondering if I should try proper mountain climbing. And I definitely want to try paragliding.
It would sound as if you are in the country solo. This does help facilitate meeting people as you don't have to worry about a spouse and the like.

The city to country transition is not hard to do...if you still live in a city. Try living in the Sauliamt. Life in CH certainly allows you to get lost in mountains and be back in the comfort of a city all too easy. I know that im a city-boy now having lived in the countryside of CH. Even though it was only 45 minutes by train, the inability to be somewhere useful in 5 minutes became a nuisance.

Before the season ends, check out the Pizol 5 lakes hike and/or Vilan. And, have you topped Grosser Mythen yet?

As for paragliding: try here, http://www.paraworld.ch/ Good outfit.
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  #46  
Old 29.08.2016, 17:55
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

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It would sound as if you are in the country solo. This does help facilitate meeting people as you don't have to worry about a spouse and the like.

The city to country transition is not hard to do...if you still live in a city. Try living in the Sauliamt. Life in CH certainly allows you to get lost in mountains and be back in the comfort of a city all too easy. I know that im a city-boy now having lived in the countryside of CH. Even though it was only 45 minutes by train, the inability to be somewhere useful in 5 minutes became a nuisance.

Before the season ends, check out the Pizol 5 lakes hike and/or Vilan. And, have you topped Grosser Mythen yet?

As for paragliding: try here, http://www.paraworld.ch/ Good outfit.
Nope, I'm here with a husband who's never there and a very independent 7-year old. Free as a bird, as long as the housework is done and I'm back in time to do my motherly duties.

I fully agree with you on the advantages of living in a Swiss city vs the countryside. To top it all, we basically live above a train station and I have a GA. If I ever move to the mountain, it will be because I've found a job there.

Haven't done Grosser Mythen because I don't like to hike where there are lots of people. But on Friday I hiked from Oberalp Pass to Capanna Cadlimo via Pazolastock, it was a good challenge. Went on to Airolo Saturday and we had an easy family hike on Sunday.

The Pizol 5 lake, can you do it on a day-trip basis from Zürich? Also hoping to do the Scaletta Pass before the snow sets in. And the list goes on...

Thanks for the tip on paragliding. Will have to wait for next summer though, due to schedule and money constraints (have a mountain related project end October that's eating at my savings ).
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  #47  
Old 29.08.2016, 20:49
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

Pizol is possible for a day trip. You might only have a few weeks left to do it this year. Take the train to Sargans, then the 429/430 bus to the Pizolbahn.
you take the funiculars up then a series of (i think if memory serves correctly) four ski lifts that deposits you at around 2300m.
Then you hike...a lot. The vertical is not so bad...only 200m or so at the very beginning. Then you go down...then back up.

one of the best day hikes ive been on.

Now for an SAC experience that you would otherwise never know about...check out the Windgallenhutte. TO date...that was my favorite and that says a lot as I made it to Monte Rosa hut as well.
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Old 29.08.2016, 20:53
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

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Pizol is possible for a day trip. You might only have a few weeks left to do it this year. Take the train to Sargans, then the 429/430 bus to the Pizolbahn.
you take the funiculars up then a series of (i think if memory serves correctly) four ski lifts that deposits you at around 2300m.
Then you hike...a lot. The vertical is not so bad...only 200m or so at the very beginning. Then you go down...then back up.

one of the best day hikes ive been on.

Now for an SAC experience that you would otherwise never know about...check out the Windgallenhutte. TO date...that was my favorite and that says a lot as I made it to Monte Rosa hut as well.
Thanks! Will try to make it before t's too late and will definitely check out the Windgallenhütte. Loved Cadlimo even though the climb up there was hellish (the last part is more climbing than hiking), it's my favourite so far.
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  #49  
Old 29.08.2016, 21:03
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

Buy a motorcycle.

I showed up here 30 years ago with a computer, an electic guitar, and a motorcycle. Met Swiss firends, which I still have, within days.

Computer is long gone (8MHz AT clone), but I added a few more motorcycles, and brought over the rest of my guitars in the meantime.

Tom
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Old 29.08.2016, 21:03
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

If you want another type of adventure (weekend) I have a friend that has a cottage in ticino that is absolutely one of my favorite places on earth. She has it as an airbnb of sorts and its worth every bit of effort to get there. And, the hiking is off the charts. If curious, let me know.
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Old 29.08.2016, 21:59
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

Those darn Swiss are resistant to being influenced. They are not in EU. Hardly got them to join the UN. How exactly does one influence a Swiss? Why don't you share your own experience?
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Old 29.08.2016, 22:06
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Those darn Swiss are resistant to being influenced. They are not in EU. Hardly got them to join the UN. How exactly does one influence a Swiss? Why don't you share your own experience?
Several times I have introduced a few bands to some swiss friends. They then bought every album in existence and became the biggest fans. That was influence i guess.

I used to have some great neighbors. But one family was swiss/american and had lived in the states 10 years together prior to returning to CH. The other neighbors were from Hungary. Now that I think about it...all of the neighbors that were friendly...were not swiss with exception to one. The remainder would sort of just spy through the windows wondering why we used a yellow planter box or why we would grill after 9pm.
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Old 29.08.2016, 22:10
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Several times I have introduced a few bands to some swiss friends. They then bought every album in existence and became the biggest fans. That was influence i guess.

I used to have some great neighbors. But one family was swiss/american and had lived in the states 10 years together prior to returning to CH. The other neighbors were from Hungary. Now that I think about it...all of the neighbors that were friendly...were not swiss with exception to one. The remainder would sort of just spy through the windows wondering why we used a yellow planter box or why we would grill after 9pm.
I meant influencing with intention to influence. How I deduced that from the title of this thread beats me.
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Old 29.08.2016, 22:14
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

True, they do spy on neighbors but hey, I find it quite fun and sometimes comical
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Old 29.08.2016, 22:45
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True, they do spy on neighbors but hey, I find it quite fun and sometimes comical
I used to do a few passive aggressive things to make it fun:

Deliberately walk around naked in the apartment.
Smoke pork with wood long after 5pm.
Carry shovels around for no reason.
Sometimes park in the visitor spots for 20 minutes.

The amount of things you can do to make it a game are countless.
In the end this only does one thing...it makes expats seem really out there.

In my country, you would make an effort to talk to a new neighbor just to know where you can go for a cup of sugar when you need it.
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Old 29.08.2016, 22:47
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

http://www.20min.ch/ro/economie/news...tique-27816555


Published in 20 minutes today. I assume same article in the German version. Basically, expats praise Switzerland for its landscapes, transports, organisation... but Switzerland falls right down the league of best places to live when it comes to hospitality, how easy (or rather not) it is to make friends...


The comments below the article written by Swiss are rather scathing about expats, but the dreadful spelling in French makes me think it's a social class issue from people who don't mix with expats, and vice-versa.
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Old 30.08.2016, 00:11
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

I tried to sign up for a hiking group once... That fell apart when it turned out they went hiking at 8am every Sunday.
I do that and my work week is a write off.

It sounds like there's a French/German split with the language too.
When I've lived in other countries people really like it when foreigners try with their language and praise even a few words.... here anything less than perfectly pronounced French is a grave insult that they will refuse to even acknowledge. That killed all of my early enthusiasm for trying to learn the language. I'm sticking to studying a more interesting language.
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Old 30.08.2016, 01:28
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

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When I've lived in other countries people really like it when foreigners try with their language and praise even a few words.... here anything less than perfectly pronounced French is a grave insult that they will refuse to even acknowledge. That killed all of my early enthusiasm for trying to learn the language. I'm sticking to studying a more interesting language.
They do the same with German and Swiss German. It really doesn't help to keep one motivated to learn more, or to want to interact with them...but then again, deep down, they don't want foreigners to integrate IMO.

Ive moved to new places, alone, not knowing anybody, quite a few times and have never had any problem making friends. It's never been anything I ever even thought about until I moved to CH, although my wife is Swiss and already has friends so you'd think it'd be easy, right? wrong.

I spent a few weeks in Catalunya recently and had more friendly interactions with strangers, laid more foundations for friendships, than I've been able to in 3 years in CH - and this as a tourist.

Re: 'but we Swiss make real friendships that last for life, not just superficial American-style friendships' is a condescending mentality to begin with. Im not sure I would even want to be friends with people who think this way... I find many of the Swiss I already know to be a bit boring and judgmental to begin with, even the ones that I already know and like. Others, to be downright racist, classist, or rude.

Sad but true, in my experience at least.

Maybe it's just Luzern - I've been told (and I sense) that the further from the borders with more open-minded cultures one is in this country, the more close-minded and miserable the people can be. And here I am, smack in the middle of it. Basel must be a social paradise compared to central CH.
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Old 30.08.2016, 02:13
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

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Re: 'but we Swiss make real friendships that last for life, not just superficial American-style friendships' is a condescending mentality to begin with. Im not sure I would even want to be friends with people who think this way... I find many of the Swiss I already know to be a bit boring and judgmental to begin with, even the ones that I already know and like. Others, to be downright racist, classist, or rude.
Swiss make real friendships for life with other Swiss people.

The reality it, Swiss people don't want even to make friends with people from > 10km from their home town.
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Old 30.08.2016, 05:57
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Re: Making friends and influencing (Swiss) people

I met really really open Swiss and really really closed ones I also lived in other countries, and same there. Averages may differ, but so do personal experiences, for I happened to meet more of the very open and inviting ones here than in other countries.

I believe that, apart from an average higher or lower openness that one finds, everybody's personal ability to adapt is key. There is people that feels horrible being out of their comfort zone, and they tend to remain at their birthplace and enjoy their culture, relations and traditions at their own country. There is people that adapt easily to anything, they are adventure seekers, so they fly elsewhere as soon as they can and enjoy trying, learning and contemplating difference. Both attitudes are great. Problems arise when people with a traditional profile moves out due to whatever, better work opportunity, a relationship, and they find out they can not adapt, especially to those Swiss that also have a traditional profile. But honestly, the traditional Swiss has done nothing but being at the place where they were born, it is our duty to respect that as we are the ones coming to a different place. Yes, i have heard a local going hard against some newcomers, but I have also been in the situation of hearing an expat complain about not being accepted here and how rigid the culture is towards other customs, but complain on a different conversation that at their home city there are foreigners forcing their culture onto their family

For me, and this is very personal, I can not stop feeling deeply moved by the white Alps in winter, the gorgeous lakes in summer, the million of reds at the woods in Autumn. The fresh air in the morning and the traditional houses at the small villages. The church with its tiny tower and bell, the green grass mount with its perfect tree at the top, the precise landscapes. Even if I had the bad luck of getting to know only the very closed and traditional Swiss guys, I guess I could disconnect as there would still be this awesome natural beauty to enjoy.
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