Manners and Politeness in Switzerland
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The Swiss are extremely polite. Expressions like “thank you very much” or “my pleasure” are used all the time. Car drivers are very courteous with pedestrians. If they notice that someone wants to cross the street, they will stop and give a hand signal to the pedestrian indicating that he or she can cross safely. The pedestrian, out of gratitude, should respond by a hand signal or a quick glance accompanied by a nod of the head. In small cities, villages, and on mountain trails, it is customary to greet people you pass (even if you do not know them) with a cordial Gruezi (hello) or Bonjour (good day). In cities, this gesture is still used when entering stores or small cafés.

It is considered equally civil to give your seat to senior citizens and pregnant women on public transportation. Even if it is true that women appreciate good manners, you should not try too hard to impress them. It is up to you to judge how much chivalry a woman expects. But be careful not to make her feel childish or relegate her to a position of inferiority. Swiss women also enjoy their independence and many of them no longer appreciate the paternalistic aspect of courtesy. If a woman insists on sharing the bill or treating you to dinner, you can protest politely but go along with it. She will feel as though you see her as an equal and will feel satisfied that she does not owe you anything.

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