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Old 24.11.2020, 18:40
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Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

Okay, so here‘s a fun one!

We moved into our new apartment 3 weeks ago.
Today I got a phone call from the Hauswart Agency to be asked if we had introduced ourselves to the neighbours, as the people living there like to know who is living there. There were also some questions relating to our dog so clearly someone had briefed them. There are a lot of oldtimers that live here and the apartments are generally owned not rented, if that makes a difference.

Now I know that yes, it’s nice to go and bring muffins to the neighbours and I certainly applaud people that do this but personally I’m not generally a chummy person with neighbours, I’m also a busy full-time employed person that just moved house and in the time of COVID I think it’s the worst idea imaginable to go door to door. As icing on the cake - please note it’s an EIGHT story building with 2 to 3 apartments PER floor EXCEPT for our floor where it’s only us (so no neighbours on our floor). We would have made more of an effort with someone I no our floor or if there were only 3 floors.

We are both nice and friendly people generally so we definitely smile and greet everyone we see on the premises but no, I have no interest in sharing life histories with 40 strangers. Does that make us baaaaad people? I’m in my mid-30s not 6 years old and I‘m now feeling obstinate! Above all I find this sort of telling-off phone call bossy and unfriendly, far more than someone that hasn’t introduced themselves going door to door. I mean so much for ‚welcome to the neighborhood‘ from their side.

What do others think?
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Old 24.11.2020, 18:44
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Re: Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

When I moved into an apartment in Zurich - no. One neighbor came to introduce herself and tell me that my laundry was hanging outside on a Sunday which was a "nono". She was nice about it, and suggested I hide it inside so that I wouldn't get fined.

When I moved into a house, my neighbor came to introduce herself even before I moved (was sorting out the garden). In fact, "introduce" is a misnomer - she didn't say hello, and started with "what are you doing?" (in German). The day after, she found my partner (while I was at work) and asked her where I was from... Same neighbor complained a few months later that our blinds were "closed too often", so she didn't know if we were home or not...

Gotta love neighbors...

M.
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Old 24.11.2020, 18:47
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Re: Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

Nothing wrong with the occasional obstinacy. CH isn't immune, anyways.

I did introduced us. I also baked them cookies for xmas. But our place is small. If I were you, I'd make sure your dog doesn't make much noice when home alone and bake some cookies to offer to a floor above and under you. Knock on the door and say hi? You might need them one day. I am a private person, too, but we help eachother out with my neighbors.
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Old 24.11.2020, 19:00
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Re: Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

When we had an apartment in Zug, I did, but only to the neighbours who lived on our floor AND to the neighbours who were either side of our parking space. Just on the basis of being polite and asking them to come to us directly if any problems with our furniture moving plans/noise/etc. In each instance I gave them my cell number and email address. No wine, no baking, no fuss and definitely no forced socialising or "getting to know you" time.

And when we purchased our house, definitely yes - to all 4 other houses that bordered our property. Again, no wine, no baking, no fuss. But it turns out that they've all become great friends, and outside of covid we would regularly socialise and help each other out for gardening/car breakdowns/illness etc, but that's just been a bonus. However, we're also mindful in our little community that attempting to integrate goes down well with the germeinde, and its an odd coincidence that every time we've had a hassle with government process, and mentioned it to our neighbours, the problem seems to disappear....spooky!
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Old 24.11.2020, 19:59
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Re: Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

I never did any kind of formal introduction when we moved into our apartment building, and none of our neighbors who moved in after we did have ever formally introduced themselves to us. It was more of a brief "Hello" or "Welcome to the building," etc. if we happened to pass one another in the hallway. Personally, I always felt that it was more up to the current neighbors to be friendly and welcoming to the new neighbors -- not the other way around.

I definitely agree... Especially during a pandemic, it is NOT a good idea to go around knocking on your neighbors' doors to introduce yourself, and I find it bizarre that your landlord would expect you to (let alone try to demand it). I actually even try to avoid having to walk too closely to my neighbors in the hallway of our building right now, just to be respectful of social distancing.
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Old 24.11.2020, 20:37
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Re: Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

Hell noooooo
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Old 24.11.2020, 20:59
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Re: Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

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What do others think?
You have a lot of neighbours. Even if you were a chatty sort of person, you'd probably have had enough before you got through half your neighbours.

With many of them, as you wrote, being elderly and with your concerns about COVID, I think you're right not to visit them.

How about writing a one sheet, or card introduction just saying hello and (very) briefly who you are and explaining that, due to COVID, much as you would like to visit them all in person, you feel it would be the wrong thing to do.

Make a few copies of the sheet and put one in each post box. Job done without too much effort on your part.
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Old 24.11.2020, 21:13
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Re: Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

After our move, when I went to introduce myself, one woman clapped her hands together and said: "Oh, now we're complete, again! It's nice to know someone's moved in and the place isn't empty, and we can now put a face to the name."

I was told by others that this was definitely the tradition, that the new people go to introduce themselves to the existing people, and not the other way round (= no welcome committee). However, they also said that this much-esteemed tradition was slowly falling away, and how nice it was that I was doing things The Swiss Way.

For you, though, OP, since it we're in Covid times, and since the building has so many apartments, I wouldn't recommend it. An alternative might be a brief, friendly note in each letterboxes, saying that you're happy to have moved in, that you work full-time so might not see much of them, but thought it polite to introduce yourselves.
EDIT: Only after I posted did I see that Tom1234 had already suggested the same thing.

When I needed to go to hospital in the night, I was very glad that a neighbour knew who I was when I knocked on her door.

I like this very much:
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When we had an apartment in Zug, I did, but only to the neighbours who lived on our floor AND to the neighbours who were either side of our parking space. Just on the basis of being polite and asking them to come to us directly if any problems with our furniture moving plans/noise/etc. In each instance I gave them my cell number and email address. No wine, no baking, no fuss and definitely no forced socialising or "getting to know you" time.
When a family moved in more recently (and remember that some people see children, and dogs, as a nuisance per se and not as a normal part of life, and there are lots of rules about them), they did just that: gave everyone their contact details and asked that if they ever disturbed us we should please call immediately, so they'd know, right then and there, which activity was producing which noise, and could modify things. This has worked very well, effectively taking the wind out of the sails of the most moany of the bunch.

Last edited by doropfiz; 24.11.2020 at 21:31. Reason: Acknowledging that Tom had already posted the same suggestion.
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Old 24.11.2020, 22:22
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Re: Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

Thank you everyone.

Spinal - your story made my day . Unfortunately that’s exactly the vibe I’m getting, on the few times my husband was drawn into a conversation (he‘s the chummier one), it always ended with a few tips of what to do and what not to do.

Island monkey - thank you, it’s good to know there are others like me I like to hide behind my growling dog.

To everyone else, thanks for the tips, I will cool down and write a note or something. To those that bake cookies and stuff, good on you, really!!
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Old 24.11.2020, 23:00
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Re: Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

Quote:
I like to hide behind my growling dog.
Me too! My dog is super friendly actually, but people are scared of him because he looks like a big scary wolf
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Old 24.11.2020, 23:10
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Re: Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

How to make friends- Shane Dardon


https://youtu.be/pubHVLrbWb0
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Old 24.11.2020, 23:33
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Re: Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

Short answer - no, both times. First house we rented was a corner plot so only a small apartment block on one side, street on the other. Second time when we bought have a house behind us and another to the side. We wave and say hi, how are you when we see each other, but our French limits us to that and not much else.
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Old 25.11.2020, 01:20
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Re: Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

I didn't, and neither did any of my new neighbours when they moved in. There are about 20 units.



I suspect it's a heads-up that someone has complained about the dog or is just being nosey.
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Old 25.11.2020, 08:17
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Re: Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

Just print out your Tinder/FB/Twitter profile and stick it on all the doors in your building
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Old 25.11.2020, 08:46
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Re: Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

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We are both nice and friendly people generally so we definitely smile and greet everyone we see on the premises but no, I have no interest in sharing life histories with 40 strangers. Does that make us baaaaad people? I’m in my mid-30s not 6 years old and I‘m now feeling obstinate! Above all I find this sort of telling-off phone call bossy and unfriendly, far more than someone that hasn’t introduced themselves going door to door. I mean so much for ‚welcome to the neighborhood‘ from their side.

What do others think?
When we moved to Switzerland it was in a place where some people were living for over 30 years..For some reason, almost at the same time with us two other apartments had new tenants (Swiss tenants, we were the only foreigners lol). The seniors of the building, a lovely elderly couple whose son-in-law coincidentally worked for the same company as my OH, had organised an apero for all of us. Yes, we shared life stories but it was pleasant.
I found them genuinely welcoming and nice.

I don't think you're bad people...just a bit intimidated, maybe? You have nothing to worry about. Btw, as you can use covid-19 as a pretext, you can introduce yourself very briefly. It's also done here, no need to bake cookies or something like this. You can bake cookies some other time.
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Old 28.11.2020, 01:46
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Re: Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

Never introduced myself to neighbours when moving in. And it's definitely not something the landlord can demand newbies to do.

Moving here the landlord told me we're all "per Du", meaning on first name basis. That was okay as I can simply use "hoi", "sali" instead of remembering their names

In 13 years here I made friends with two neighbours, it kind of grew naturally. Apart from that I prefer to be able to walks straight and unbothered from my garage to my flat when I come home tired.
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Old 28.11.2020, 08:38
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Re: Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

Like everything it depends! If you’re sticking around for a while and plan to put down roots and want permits etc then integration is viewed favorably by the authorities. Treat others how you wish to be treated....
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Old 29.11.2020, 03:10
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Re: Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

I think that it really depends on the number of apartments in the building. In a building with 40 parties that would just seem absurd.

I do know that if you live in a smaller house with about 5 -10 apartments, then it is expected to introduce yourself - horrifically through an aperitif or so in your apartment �� and this especially if many of the residents are owning their apartment. In times of COVID though, I think you can get a free pass, and just introduce yourself if you bump into each other (at least 1.5m apart and wearing a mask) in the stairwell.

In my building of 5 parties, the first Swiss family moved in a few years ago (we’re mostly German/Anglo/American otherwise). And to everyone’s horror, they hosted a “getting to know each other” event. The great neighborhood has never felt the same since...

So I would use the COVID free-pass card, and just be friendly if you happen to meet someone on the stairs. As to the dog - as long as it’s not barking (but be aware that Swiss dogs generally are trained to not bark), then just ignore them if your rental contract allows dogs.
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Old 29.11.2020, 03:32
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Re: Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

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There were also some questions relating to our dog so clearly someone had briefed them.
This jumped out at me.

I wonder if the agency is 'burying the lede' in their note. That is, the primary issue is not iso much introductions or lack thereof, but rather a dog complaint.

If that's the case, do whatever is expected to make nice with the neighbors, if only to head this off.

I'd also ask the agency point blank if anyone has complained about your dog and if so who and exactly what. And then send a note (because COVID means an in person meeting is inadvisable) addressing the concerns passed on by the agency and asking to those neighbors to contact you directly should they have future concerns.
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Old 29.11.2020, 07:58
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Re: Does everyone officially introduce themselves to their neighbours?

Hi


I am an old timer and live in a block half the size of yours a long time.


I like to know who my neighbours are by name and sight.


I have no need to know someone whole life story or be invited into their home, any more than they should be invited into my home.


When you live in a block, there are various communal parts/ areas that are shared.


If I was aware of someone new moving in. If I was around when they were moving in, I would often look out for them to briefly introduce myself and suggest we swap emails in case any issues.


Usually I might ask them if they had 5 or 10 minutes to spare and I would scout around with them to explain a few of the communal area things that they may or may not have known or forgotten by viewing.


We had one new couple move in as renters during these Covid times. The landlord had let me know of their expected arrival date. The landlord lives in a different country.


It was a tad complicated to greet them with social distance, wearing a face mask. They had their family help them move in. Our first languages are different so, that does not help. I did write a card with my mobile phone number with suggestion we swap number. I got a tiny scrap of paper with both first names and a number, that I believe was written down incorrectly, as I never got a reply to my friendly greeting messages. They do not live on my floor or my side of the block, so they do not bother me and I have no need for their contact details. If there is any noise or flooding from their flat it will not affect me. If we pass each other, we say good morning etc. or give a wave, smile at Social distance.


Sometimes it appears in the news about a body being found, sometimes it is days, months or years. I do not want to be that ignorant neighbour in that situation.


Once a top floor flat had a flooding that went straight to the flats under. It happened in the night, I slept through it. The fire department were called out to get access, as the managing agents only had a landline number for the owner, resident, who was staying with a sick relative.


Awaking I found emails from a few residents. So I sent that owner an email. Oddly the flats under would have been informed that owner email at some point, but had not kept it safe.
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