German neighbour etiquette

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Just curious about this one...we moved to our house last summer. It's one of 4 Doppelhaushälfte built 5 years ago in the middle of a 1960's development. We moved from across the road in the older area and know and get on well with our former neighbours. We have tried to speak with our new neighbours though felt we were being blanked. We posted Christmas cards though nothing was reciprocated. I've just heard neighbour 1 talking loudly to neighbour 2 complaining that our cats shit in her garden. This is despite several other cats being in the neighborhood who are all free roaming. My sarcastic streak made me want to shout back that we would get CSI over to identify the poop. I didn't of course.

 

Quite a few of our German friends have suggested that its usually up to the existing neighbours to welcome the new neighbours. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

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It's usually up to the new neighbour to introduce themselves to the existing neighbours. People who don't have cats are usually not that good at telling them apart. I had a cat with black and white spots, and there were several free roaming cats which I thought looked completely different (black and white, too, though). My cat never left the apartment, but neighbours saw him sitting in the window and complained about "him" shitting in their gardens. If your cats really do, and the neighbours are pissed, not much you can do about it except apologizing (or not letting them out anymore).

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It's usually up to the new neighbour to introduce themselves to the existing neighbours.

 

Yep. Took us ages to figure that out when we moved into our house. There we were, waiting for someone to bring over a tuna casserole.

 

But I wouldn't worry about it, emkay. We have neighbours we're very friendly with and others who couldn't be bothered to give us the time of day. That's just the way it is and we don't take it personally.

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I don't think you could expect existing neighbours to introduce themselves to you, but they might. I don't think there is a clear rule for that. You did your job introducing yourself - and that is it. If they aren't keen on keeping contact rather don't try to maintain it - you might run the risk of being regarded a nuisance. Sending Christmas cards to someone you don't really know is already too much - at least in Franconia, where I am living. If I had received it I would feel uncomfortable as I would be too lazy to reciprocate but would probably feel obligated to do so.

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Yes, sending Christmas cards to neighbours would be considered "weird" around here. It's a lovely gesture, but I think some would read too much into it.

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@Westvan: Depends, though. If it's a building with a lot of appartments (10+) no one would bother to introduce themselves except to the next door neighbours.

 

@Emkay: I wouldn't worry too much, unless they are openly hostile they are probably just the kind of German neighbours that are not interested in friendly contact and keep to themselves. Just keep greeting them, keep your front lawn tidy and don't think too much about it.

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Just curious about this one...we moved to our house last summer. It's one of 4 Doppelhaushälfte built 5 years ago in the middle of a 1960's development. We moved from across the road in the older area and know and get on well with our former neighbours. We have tried to speak with our new neighbours though felt we were being blanked. We posted Christmas cards though nothing was reciprocated. I've just heard neighbour 1 talking loudly to neighbour 2 complaining that our cats shit in her garden. This is despite several other cats being in the neighborhood who are all free roaming. My sarcastic streak made me want to shout back that we would get CSI over to identify the poop. I didn't of course.

 

Quite a few of our German friends have suggested that its usually up to the existing neighbours to welcome the new neighbours. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

 

I've been here for 17 years and I've introduced myself to my new neighbors only when I see them in the building or outside of their house and I'm in close proximity to them. I don't make an effort to go and ring their bells as I would think that's an imposition. I certainly wouldn't want them to come over and ring my bell either.

 

Regarding the Christmas card, perhaps it just me, but I would never gave anyone anything and expect them to reciprocate or even draw any conclusion about why they didn't.

 

Regarding her thinking your cat shit in her yard, to quell any brewing animosity you might want to consider going over there and introduce yourself and perhaps a discussion about the concerns about the cat will ensue so you can put this to rest. I wouldn't bother discussing the cat problem with any other neighbor if you're approached by them.

 

Regarding her giving you "the blank" when you encounter her. She may be a neighbor who just wants to keep her distance. I would respect that and just say hallo, guten tag, or guten abend after you go over and introduce yourself and talk with her the cat.

 

I've had a neighbor whose cat marked his territory in my yard and would shit all the time making me furious so I know how that goes. I remember once I made the neighbor come over and clean it up as I watched the cat do it. He had 4 outdoor cats and the cats won because I moved from the house on the countryside into an apartment in the city as I'd had enough.

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I've never had a Christmas card from a German, not even our German family who live far away. Birthday cards are pretty rare, but Christmas cards non-existent. When I've described card culture in the UK, Germans have expressed amazement at the idea that you might go up to someone and give them a card rather than just saying 'Happy birthday', while you are there.

 

We live in a 'terrace' of three houses with detached houses and semis all around, and the neighbours show differing degrees of friendliness. Some invite us over for boozy parties, some don't, but say hello, and some whinge about the kids accidentally kicking a ball against their fence twice in four years.

 

When we had recently moved in, my husband bumped into one neighbour on the street and reported to me that he had said 'if that cat comes in our garden we'll drown him in the pond'. My husband said this with a laugh, as he has the skin of an elephant, and said the neighbour was doubtless just joking, but I was dubious. However, this turned out to be one of the boozy-party type neighbours, and we now know is just given to making big sweeping, un-PC comments, but it's all part of his larger-than-life persona and worth ignoring. So don't be too quick to take offence; maybe you'll feel differently about them if/when you get to know them. And now the weather's improving maybe try throwing a boozy barbecue and inviting them round.

 

Incidentally, the neighbours might actually be legally entitled to complain if you have more than one cat going out.

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Thank you all for your posts. It was all a bit mad when we moved in last summer. A day after the big move, my husband had 2 heart attacks and was in hospital and reha for almost 6 weeks. During that time, I pretty much kept myself to myself though had a lot to deal with regarding my monster in law! Thank goodness my husband recovered. I think we'll just choose to not think about the neighbour thing too much. We'll wave when we see them, if they ignore us as usual, so what. I just talked to some other neighbours who live near our old flat and they reckon that when the 4 houses were built, the new comers were quite rude and ignorant towards the existing neighborhood. I think there was some kind of animosity over how the building land was obtained. Nothing to do with us though.

 

I know the uk card giving is almost extreme but as we had one or two from other indirect neighbours, we thought we would do the same. Nothing over the top, just season's greetings.

 

My biggest problem today is that our king cat, Louie has gone missing. I've just exhausted all search options and about to spring into action to do some flyers. The neighbours in question aren't in though I guess I will have to go round later.

 

 

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Thanks again

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Unfortunately our neighbour doesn't like cats but that's tough and I've told him so. There's a barn about 400 mtrs from our house and there's at least 8 cats in residence and they've been there longer than us and the rest of the neighbours.

 

He complained to me a few weeks ago that one of our cats has sat on his car and left dirty paw prints on the roof. OK I said, which one of our 4 black and white cars was that then?

 

He's a grumpy bastard at the best of times and the rest of the neighbours avoid him like the plague.

 

I don't take shit off neighbours particularly old men that have fuck all else to do.

 

He hasn't spoken to me since which suits me fine.

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I gave my neighbours a christmas card, and next thing I know they've moved out... without a boo or a bah. So maybe that's the way to get rid of nasty neighbours...

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...I've just heard neighbour 1 talking loudly to neighbour 2 complaining that our cats shit in her garden...

You could pop round, excuse the delay in introducing yourself, and proffer some home-baked chocolate brownies! :)

 

 

My biggest problem today is that our king cat, Louie has gone missing. I've just exhausted all search options and about to spring into action to do some flyers. The neighbours in question aren't in though I guess I will have to go round later.

I hope he turns up. Perhaps you could seriously bring round some cookies. It might not only soothe ruffled feathers but also possibly guilt them into helping you find him, in case they have anything to do with his disappearance. Hopefully he's just on the prowl.

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Sounds like you've acclimated well to the unfriendliness that we have all somehow come to expect in Germany.

 

I just moved a month ago, and decided to try the Japanese approach: I put together little gift bags of a few cheap, useful household things - hand soap, plastic wrap, dish towel, candles, etc. I rang my neighbors' doorbells, introduced myself, and handed them the bags explaining that it's a custom from where I lived for so long. I also took the opportunity to tell them that if I am ever too loud or anything, they shouldn't hesitate to knock on my door and tell me. Positive responses every single time, with a couple invitations for beer. Actually, everyone invited me in, though I think they were just practicing good form so I always declined (except for one couple who strongly insisted I come in for a beer). Most importantly, they all know I am approachable.

 

Really, the slightest effort, a smile, and a humble introduction go a long, long way in any culture.

 

It's not about being acclimated to being unfriendly and I've not come to expect any unfriendliness either. Everyone should do what they feel most comfortable with when it comes to the neighbors. Btw, I've been here for so long and not one German has ever come over and rang my bell to introduce themselves when they've moved in.

 

For instance, in my building it's just the young man downstairs and we have the upstairs. When I moved in when I saw him outside getting out of his car I introduced myself, instead of going down and ringing his bell. I've given him steaks and I've given his girlfriend a cheese cake for her birthday because he gives us soccer game tickets because he's a goalie for the pro soccer team in my town. I've turned him on to my putzfrau who he now uses.

 

I also tolerate him playing his video games loudly without complaining because I know that's what he enjoys doing and I know it's usually short-lived. When his girlfriend comes over she bring her dog who barks when they live the dog home alone I would never complain about that either. When I see him and my other neighbor I make small talk with them sometime they approach me and other times I approach them. I do what I'm comfortable doing and that's not ringing everyone's bell to introduce myself. I'm cordial to all the neighbors, but I'm not going over and borrowing sugar or asking them to help me. I'm quiet and private, and that's how I prefer to deal with the neighbors. I don't want to be invited over to drink their beer and eat their cakes and coffee. When I see my neighbors outside I always acknowledge them.

 

Regarding going over to introduce yourself, I was wondering just who are the neighbors? Everyone on the block or just the people who live next door or the people across the street too or everyone on the block on both sides of the street or just the people who live in your building or everyone in a certain radius of where you live? See what I'm getting at, where do you draw the line?

 

Good for you for doing what you think is best for you to get along with your neighbors, it was certainly a nice gesture.

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We've never rung anyone's doorbell to introduce ourselves - I'd be a bit uncomfortable doing that. When we lived in flats we just said Guten Tag to people, without introducing ourselves, then gradually got chattier with certain neighbours; the ones on the same floor, of course, then ones that we met in other contexts, or who just seemed chattier. When we moved to a house we introduced ourselves to neighbours when we saw them in the garden, saying who we were and having a brief chat from the start. Neighbours moving in after us did the same, except for a couple who needed to sort out some stuff about building rights with us; they were the only ones to knock on the door. We're on chatting terms with the neighbours three houses on either side, as that's kind of the edge of our little unit.

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Emkay, take a look at the Tasso website - even if you don't have your pet registered with them, they will help you search for them.

Tasso - missing animals. They have templates for making lost signs, a database for your area for listing him missing, etc. Good luck!

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He's most likely on the prowl. It's spring, after all. Even if they are neutered, some of them get really antsy this time of year.

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Strangely enough I have experienced the best and worst of neighbours;Above the neighbours are horrendous ,rude arrogant sods,but to either side they are all great.The side neighbours have help me settle in,help with translations of paperwork,cleaning snow away from my sidewalk in winter etc.We all have a chat when outdoors and enjoy helping each other out if required.

However the upstairs lot are disliked by myself and my neighbours, but before you think we are being mean to expats,I am the only expat here,the rest are German. I really think I have been lucky as even my Landlord is great and is German as well.

Lucky enough I suppose I am a dog person and many people around the neighbourhood have dogs so have made a number of fiends and contacts,and apart from the hellish mob upstairs(who I might add are being taken to court by the Landlord to get rid of them)I have thoroughly enjoyed my 2+ years here.

I guess its all about the area you live,your attitude,your neighbours attitude and pure bloody luck.Cheers.

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My 3 male cats have been on the prowl lately, and they are all neutered! Don't give up hope yet, emkay. I recommend micro-chipping outdoor cats, if you don't use collars.

 

I too was getting worried that my psychotic neighbor had something to do with Fritz's disappearance. As to how to deal with the neighbors, I'm putting in a tall wooden fence out front. I will miss the open layout [+ stunning view], but will welcome the privacy.

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He may well have got himself locked up in a garage or shed, maybe even a cellar, probably quite near. A neighbour's cat went missing for 4 days over Easter, then he turned up the Tuesday after Easter, very hungry, probably escaping when the garage owner came back after spending time away during the Easter break. Cats tend to dart into dark places to hide unnoticed. Mine have got themselves locked up in my wardrobe hundreds of times without me noticing and then stay there for hours until they start scratching to be let out again.

 

They are outdoor/indoor cats and neutered and tend to stay near.

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