Getting annoyed is 'part of being Swiss’ says psychologist
Do you grumble when a train is late? Do you moan about noisy cowbells and ferry horns? Maybe you’ve been in Switzerland so long you’re properly assimilating.
Because according to a Zurich psychologist, getting annoyed at small things is a particularly Swiss character trait.
Speaking to newspaper 20 Minutes on Thursday, Christian Fichter of the Kalaidos University of Applied Sciences, said getting annoyed “is simply part of Swiss people”.
“It has a direct link with our society values such as cleanliness, punctuality and the desire for order. When these norms are contravened, we get annoyed,” he said.
And in fact this is a positive character trait, he said, since it shows that the Swiss don’t have bigger things to worry about.
“Since our country hasn’t had any big worries in the last few years, residents like getting annoyed about small things instead,” he said.
Fichter was interviewed by the paper following a minor media storm resulting from a series of tweets sent by MP Natalie Rickli on Tuesday night expressing her dismay that her train had broken down.
Rickli says her tweets were clearly intended to be lighthearted, but they sparked a backlash from some commenters who objected to her complaints.
One suggested she had no right to complain because she receives a free first-class train pass "at taxpayers' expense" due to her role as an MP.
Rickli finally made it to her destination and expressed her amazement that her tweets had caused such a fuss.
So is it indeed a Swiss trait to sweat the small stuff?
We take a look at a few recent stories that may suggest so.
1. Zurich ferries drop horn tradition after local man complains
Last summer the Lake Zurich Navigation Company (ZSG) abandoned a 50-year tradition of boats sounding their horn on arrival and departure from the quay after a local resident complained at the noise.
2. Cowbells ordered off after noise complaints
In 2015 a court ordered a farmer in the Zurich Oberland to remove bells from his cows because of complaints from neighbours who could not sleep at night due to the noise.
3. Bern politician wants to silence church bells at night
He said the bells disturb the sleep of people who live nearby.
4. Politician fights against smoking ban on Swiss rail station platforms
The ban “goes too far” and is an affront of citizens’ personal freedom, said the politician in this recent story.
5. Police break up dispute over late-night laundry
Police in Zurich were called out after a man allegedly locked his neighbour in the laundry room for doing her washing after 10pm.
6. Court sides with chickens in dispute over noisy henhouse
In 2016 a row over a noisy cockerel led to 36,000 francs in court costs.
7. ‘Oh God – I’m coming’: noise row goes public
In 2015 a neighbour in Aargau was so annoyed by a couple's noisy love-making he went public with his discontent in a bid to embarrass them into making less of a racket at night.
READ ALSO: 43 habits you pick up living in Switzerland