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Old 25.07.2020, 11:49
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Getting to know neighbours in my apartment block

Hello I have moved into an apartment block in Geneva and want to get to try to get to know my neighbours. So far I just get to say the occasional Bonjour and bonsoir in the stairs. I knocked on doors on my floor to say hello and introduce myself but it seems odd to do that on other floors. A work colleague suggested holding an open house event inviting the neighbours in for a drink and cake between certain hours. Is this how it is done? Have also been thinking that Covid may make it harder for people to feel able to come.
How do you get around the problem of people going away (hold multiple time windows)? Does anyone have an example of what to put on such a poster (my French is weak)?
Thanks
Chris
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Old 25.07.2020, 12:01
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Re: Getting to know neighbours in my apartment block

Hello, Chris, and welcome to the forum. Maybe it is not the best timing - GE will make masks mandatory in shops, people might worry more..Housewarming is not a must here, tbh. People can be on hols, too. Depends on the community - but if a park is near, host it there? Some cakes/muffins and pop/beer? For 30min, just to meet and greet?
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Old 25.07.2020, 12:10
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Re: Getting to know neighbours in my apartment block

Thanks, yes we have some grass outside so I could offer that.
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Old 25.07.2020, 12:12
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Re: Getting to know neighbours in my apartment block

According to the EF gods (despite being one of the longest serving members here) I don't have sufficient privileges to view the OP's profile!

No privileges = no helping OP.
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Old 25.07.2020, 12:25
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Re: Getting to know neighbours in my apartment block

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According to the EF gods (despite being one of the longest serving members here) I don't have sufficient privileges to view the OP's profile!

No privileges = no helping OP.
Oh no worries, you will get it - when we get him through admin
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Old 26.07.2020, 10:28
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Re: Getting to know neighbours in my apartment block

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Hello I have moved into an apartment block in Geneva and want to get to try to get to know my neighbours.
Why?

It's not normal here.

Tom
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Old 26.07.2020, 10:35
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Re: Getting to know neighbours in my apartment block

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Why?

It's not normal here.

Tom
For some people it is.
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Old 26.07.2020, 10:50
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Re: Getting to know neighbours in my apartment block

Chris, try to figure out local norms.

In a ZH village, 21 years ago, I was cautioned that one should not immediately introduce oneself, that would have been seen as pushy, especially for a foreigner. Rather one waited until a natural occasion for conversation came up, such as passing on the street. As you went then from smiles and waves to a bit of small talk, one introduced oneself. A few months of small talk, then extend an invitation for a glass of wine.

Moving to a SZer village was an eye opener; 16 years ago before moving in one was expected to send around a letter of introduction to all the families in the Quartier, introducing oneself and give a short bio, photos optional. And of course, in the letter apologize upfront for any noise made and inconvenience caused during the move, leaving a number for complaints. Thereafter interaction reverted to smiles and waves, and geranium critiques.

Since then the pre-move letter seems to no longer be expected, I don't think any of the new (young) families who have moved in in the last 5 or 6 years have done so. (And now I'm the one of the few old ladies who still plant geraniums.)

Keeping yourself to yourself is really the order of the day; living in a fishbowl I think people need some psychological distance; not knowing neighbors compensates for the lack of privacy.

Of course and as always, YMMV. If you have already introduced yourself to your immediate neighbors, would you feel comfortable asking them about local expections?
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Old 26.07.2020, 13:49
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Re: Getting to know neighbours in my apartment block

I was a flat-dweller in Geneva (Carouge) for over twenty years, in neither of the two blocks of flats did I really know my neighbours; in the first I eventually struck up a friendship with my upstairs neighbour... that took five years and only happened after I realised she was american so spoke english (my french is fine, but it was nice to slip into english occasionally). In the second it was easier, again language was the original opener as was the fact that my immediate neighbours were also artists; collectively we were known to the other inhabitants as 'les spéciaux du sixième' (the special ones on the sixth floor).
In both cases those were the only people in the buildings I could ever claim to more having than a nodding acquaintance with, although I did come to know other neighbours better over time it's quite rare and most people prefer to keep their neighbours at arm's length.
Normally you greet your neighbours with a quick nod and possibly bonjour or bonsoir as you pass by... maybe an inquiring comment ça va if you're feeling particularly cheerful (the correct reply is ça va, nothing more).
If they want more it'll come, but takes time, lots of time!
The one thing I would suggest is be very, very polite to the concierge, get on the wrong side of the person who controls the keys to the laundry room and the central heating and you're in trouble!

I suspect the introductory letters meloncollie refers to are a swiss-german custom, in forty years I've not heard of an instance of that being expected in Swiss Romande when moving to a village, certainly never in canton Geneva. This bizarre obsession with geraniums seems to be swiss-german too!
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Old 26.07.2020, 14:04
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Re: Getting to know neighbours in my apartment block

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For some people it is.
Not around here, nor in New England.

Tom
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Old 26.07.2020, 14:35
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Re: Getting to know neighbours in my apartment block

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Thanks, yes we have some grass outside so I could offer that.
And when you do, post it here as well. Not many people from the EF live in Geneva but some do and we might be neighbours!
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Old 26.07.2020, 18:02
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Re: Getting to know neighbours in my apartment block

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Why?

It's not normal here.

Tom
Agree, still dont know the names of the people on the other side of the building, even the old guy who always greets politely... no clue which mailbox is his.... only lived here for 16 years now...
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Old 26.07.2020, 18:27
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Re: Getting to know neighbours in my apartment block

How very sad.
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Old 26.07.2020, 20:54
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Re: Getting to know neighbours in my apartment block

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Hello I have moved into an apartment block in Geneva and want to get to try to get to know my neighbours. So far I just get to say the occasional Bonjour and bonsoir in the stairs. I knocked on doors on my floor to say hello and introduce myself but it seems odd to do that on other floors. A work colleague suggested holding an open house event inviting the neighbours in for a drink and cake between certain hours. Is this how it is done? Have also been thinking that Covid may make it harder for people to feel able to come.
How do you get around the problem of people going away (hold multiple time windows)? Does anyone have an example of what to put on such a poster (my French is weak)?
Thanks
Chris
Yes, but I live in one of the German speaking cantons. I have also seen people (Swiss) who only knocked on doors on each floor and introduced themselves. It's not really necessary to organise an apero if you don't feel like. Being a foreigner you'll get away with a lot of things in my experience..
I also believe it is more common in smaller towns, Geneva seems the kind of big city where people living in the same building aren't expected to know each other. Except for those living on the same floor, but I'm not sure. I don't think you should stress out too much....given the pandemic and all that.
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