Tips for getting in contact with Austrians for the first time:

  • Austrians sometimes need a warming-up phase. Even if two Austrians meet for the first time, they do not open up to each other immediately. They will need to see each other a few more times before inviting each other for a coffee or doing something together.
  • Make sure you have something in common before starting to talk to an Austrian. For example, you both live in the same house or your children are friends or you are in the same sports club. Watch out – sitting on the same bus or walking in the same park are not enough common ground to start talking to each other. You can try but please do not be surprised if people react in a strange or unfriendly way.
  • When speaking to someone for the first time, watch out for the following:
    • Start by saying why you are starting a conversation. “I am new in this house…” (when meeting your neighbours), “Our children are in the same class…” (when meeting the parents of other pupils), “I am new in Austria and wish to improve my German…” (when meeting a stranger).
    • It is best if you speak of the things that the two of you have in common.
    • Your questions should not be too personal!
      • Questions that are too personal would be: How many children do you have? Are you married? Of what religion are you? In Austria, these topics are much too personal to be asked by a stranger.
      • Typical questions at the first encounter are: How are you? Where are you from? What is your job?

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