I spent this past weekend in New York with two Swedish girlfriends. I flew from middle of nowhere/Alberta, Canada, and they came from middle of Sweden. New York seemed like half way and way more exciting than any of the places we all normally live in.
What hit me the most was my girlfriends reflections of the people we met everywhere. “Wow, they are so polite!” “So many people are talking to us!”
What they meant by “talking” was maybe the phrase “There you go!” or “How are you today?” or “Have a nice day!”
This makes me wonder: How do the tourists and new immigrants to Sweden see the Swedes? Propably totally rude! The most Swedes would say to a stranger is: “Hej!” or “Tack!” (Swedes do know how to say thank you).
This little blog is to warn anyone going to Sweden. Don’t expect an overwhelming welcoming! Swedes don’t mean to be rude. Being quiet when seeing a stranger is just the way we are! We are maybe shy. Most of us simply don’t think it’s necessary, or meaningful to talk to strangers, asking for example how they are doing. We wouldn’t get an honest answer anyway!
Take Swedes for what they are, and enjoy Sweden as it is! You will hopefully find our positive sides eventually, even if it may take time.