How can I avoid a nosy neighbor

Inquisitive neighbors: the "spy" next door

Teaser image source: adriagarcia (CC BY-SA 2.0)

One in five Swiss people has spied on their neighbors on the Internet. Google, Facebook, and Xing are popular - and abundant - sources of information if you know what you're looking for.

Source: adriagarcia (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Watching your neighbors leaving through the peephole was yesterday. Today you can find out more about what he's up to after leaving the house on social media.

Where is the family next door on vacation right now? Is the couple above me married? And where does the woman on the first floor work? The private life of the neighbors is extremely exciting for many. But personal contacts, for example in apartment blocks, are becoming rarer. So the internet comes in handy.

Search engines and social media

One in five Swiss people is so curious that they scour the World Wide Web for information on their neighbors. This is shown by a study by the real estate portal For comparison: In Austria, for example, it is only 15 percent.

Classic search engines are particularly popular for research. Most of the gwundige Swiss (83 percent) said they looked for their neighbors via Google, Bing or Yahoo!

In addition, social networks are mainly used. On Facebook (56 percent) and Instagram (16 percent), curious people can find private data such as date of birth, relationship status or vacation photos - provided that the neighbor's profile is public.

No dating platforms

In professional networks such as LinkedIn or Xing (29 percent), seekers come across information about their career or their current job. Only dating apps like Tinder are not used by the Swiss for research. These offer little research opportunities - and the interest in neighbors doesn't seem to go that far.

Most respect privacy

However, the majority of Swiss people do not believe in spying in their neighborhood. 60 percent are of the opinion that the lives of their neighbors are none of their business and therefore refrain from searching the Internet. Another 20 percent are simply not interested in the life of the person next to them.

Owners are more curious

There are big differences in the comparison between those who own their own property and those who live to rent. Owners are more interested in the life of their neighbors than tenants. While 24 percent of property owners look for information about their neighbors, the figure is only 17 percent among those surveyed who rent.

Since home buyers are often looking for a property for life or at least with long-term plans, the neighborhood is more important to them. In contrast, many tenants only spend a short period of life in the same apartment and move frequently.

Are empires bigger "wonder noses"?

Your own financial circumstances also seem to have an influence on your curiosity. After all, in addition to the owners, high earners in particular want to know who their neighbors really are. 25 percent of the respondents with high incomes have already looked for information about other residents. For the low-wage earners, it was only 13 percent. Here, too, it should play a role that higher earners tend to live in property and want to know which neighbors they have gotten into. (sda / nsi)

An overview of the answers

Have you ever looked for information about your neighbor on the Internet?

  • No, the lives of my neighbors are none of my business: 60 percent
  • No, I'm not interested in my neighbors: 20 percent
  • Yes, I want to know who I live next door to: 20 percent

Which pages / platforms did you use for this? (Subset: only those who have already looked for information about their neighbors; multiple answers possible)

  • Search engine (e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo): 83 percent
  • Facebook: 56 percent
  • Professional network (e.g. LinkedIn, Xing): 29 percent
  • Instagram: 16 percent
  • Special people search engine: 16 percent
  • Dating apps (e.g. Tinder): 0 percent