Befriending Swedes – Confusion at first sight
Many months ago, I wrote a blog post about making new friends in Sweden, remember that? Now, I come here with a Swedish edition of that post. Jep, I’m going to give you tips on how to become friends with Swedes, to understand this unknown territory and help you get close to the locals. I figured out that all my close friends are Swedes now (In the photo you see Liza, Kasper, Olle and Gustav), so I got together all the tips I could to help you get a bunch of Swedish friends too.
1.Show you’re interested, but not too much
Treat your Swede as your newly found love interest (dating rules apply). Show too much desperation to hang out and be all over them all the time is dangerous. They are free independent spirits, so forcing and trying too much will backfire and make them keep a distance.
2. Read the newspaper in the morning
Swedes are very updated to what is happening in the world and news, so you will find yourself in the middle of discussions about everything that is happening in the world. Befriending Swedes requires you to keep up to date so you can avoid the smile-and-nod followed by the oh so revealing silence.
3.Make sure you’re an expert about your country before you leave
Talking about Sweden and how things happen here is not their thing (though they will answer if you ask), what Swedes really like is to know more about your home country. So learn about your country’s political scenario, culture, movements and traditions, so you have a good answer when asked about it. You are an ambassador – like it or not!
4. Look but don’t touch
Depending on which country you are coming from, touching is part of socializing but not here in Sweden. And trust me, as a Brazilian, I got to learn that in the hard way. They do appreciate eye contact and know the importance of that, but touching (while you are getting to know each other) is just weird for them, so hands off.
5. Don’t call, always text
I’m pretty sure this goes for most of young people living in the digital era, but Swedes are even more into that than everyone else. The slight introverted swede prefers to be prepared when engaging in conversation – so be aware of their sensitive state and say it with a text!
6. Don’t love, like. Don’t hate, dislike
Although Swedes loooove when you express your opinions, they expect you to keep an open mind about everything. So having really strong opinions and not compromising can be very complicated in a group of Swedes. To brefriend a Swede, have your opinion but respect what is different and always try to understand other sides.
While I was writing this, I realized that befriending Swedes is not that hard. If you stop to think about it, none likes that sticky person that cannot have a conversation about anything, that is touching all the time and that is very strict with their opinions. So just keep in mind that Swedes are normal people wanting friends that can add up something to their life, but aren’t we all?
I’m so happy that I got to meet all these Swedes and actually call them friends. And believe me, even if it takes a while, in the end, they are the best friends you can have!
PS: All the tips above were approved and written in partnership with two Swedes. Thank you Liza Youhanan and Max Eriksson.