report

Characteristics of Swedes and Tips About How to Behave in Sweden

The Swedes, weird people?
The Swedes, weird people? | Source

During my time writing and from my life experience, I have found that there are differences in how people behave and their views on different things. The difference is, to some extent, due to the country they are born and raised in. The differences are quite small but, yet, significant and can create both wonder and misunderstandings.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could have access to manuals about behavior and thoughts of people from other nationalities? It would make interactions between people from different nationalities easier, and it would certainly make it easier for me, as a Swede. But because such a manual isn’t available or so easy to find, I will instead describe the characteristics of a stereotypical Swede and typical Swedish behavior.

A markerSweden -
Sverige
get directions

The Swedish Mentality

Ake Daun, a professor of ethnology at Stockholm University, wrote a book called the Swedish Mentality (1989), which is a gold mine for someone interested in this issue. He examined how the Swedes are perceived by other nationalities and came up with the following:

Swedes are perceived as chilly and distancing. Many of those who responded to the survey say that they have great difficulties to understand the Swedish temperament. The Swedes are also perceived as “socially closed” and “spiritually empty”. And because they are often quiet they are also perceived as smug!

In another study done by the Swedish National Board, immigrants to Sweden from Chile, Iran, Turkey, and Poland expressed laudatory words about equality, solidarity, freedom, and sound regulatory. The only thing they had trouble with was the Swedes! Their opinions about the Swedes was: “heart is missing," "sluggish mind," "cowardly, cold, shy people, and lack of close encounters”.

So, in summery, the typical Swede is socially closed, spiritually empty, missing a heart, sluggish in the mind, cowardly, cold and shy, and holds a distance.

Wonderful people, the Swedes, don’t you think? Who wouldn't want to meet such a person? And why am I pointing this out for you? When I read this it struck me as very interesting. Being Swedish, at first I couldn't see this at all. But, slowly, it began to make some sense to me why they responded this way and I will try to explain.

The traits aforementioned mainly concern situations wherein a Swede meets a stranger. I do believe that we have a much more open and warmer connection with people whom we know.

Is your view of the Swedes consistent with the description above?

See results

An Attempt to Explain Swedish Behavior

Socially closed

In Sweden we have a proverb that every Swede knows: “Talking is silver, silence is gold.” We believe it is polite to listen, and it is a way to show respect. We do not like to interrupt the one who speaks, and it is also true that we probably unconsciously seek consensus in a conversation. Although we may disagree with some of the things the other person says, we avoid open confrontation with strangers. But I can understand that to have a conversation with somebody who just nods and says yes isn’t much of a conversation! For two Swedes, this isn’t a problem because we just take turns talking, and we also understand that silence is a possible message that the other person disagrees.

We are also very private and “want to be left alone” by strangers. We have an invisible “private zone” of about a one meter radius, and if a stranger steps over those invisible lines without a need, we feel very uncomfortable and even threatened. This doesn’t apply when there is limited space. In that case, it is OK to step over the invisible line. In the company of strangers most of us feel inclined to talk, so maybe that is why Swedes are considered to be socially closed.

There are some unwritten laws that apply to this.


How to Behave in Sweden

Don’t look directly at another person in an elevator or on the subway. It is better to look at anything else. Most people look down at their shoes or read the ads on the wall. This is even more important if you have to stand within someone's private zone. To look directly at a person you stand close to is considered to be cheeky, rude, and suggests an aggressive or sexual approach from you.

Do not say “hi” to a stranger unless you have a good reason. If you do, speak about the weather, mention that the bus is late, or something similar. The typical Swede doesn’t normally start conversations with strangers and will not just ramble on about things with someone they don't know.

Do not take a seat in a location next to a Swedish on the bus, theatre, or subway if there are plenty of seats available anywhere else. If you do, a Swedish will feel uncomfortable and become suspicious. They will be convinced that you are up to something bad! Remember, there is the “private zone.”

Learn how to stand in line properly. The Swedes are the masters of standing in line and we wait for our turn with great patience. Do not try to squeeze in or stand to close to the person in front of you. Standing too close to the person in front of you leads to body contact and you will cause a very unpleasant experience for a Swede. You will certainly get an angry look, and the Swede will also try to move further away from you by taking a step in some available direction. But, the Swede will almost certainly hold his/her place in line. Remember, we are very patient and we will keep our place in line!

Some Facts About Sweden

-Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe

-Sweden is the third largest country in Western Europe

-The forest area in Sweden is 53%

Additional Facts About Swedish Culture

Showing Feelings

I am afraid that it is the same when it comes to showing feelings. The Swedes do not show their feelings in front of strangers if it can be avoided. If we for some reason don’t like a person, we show our dislike by simply avoiding that person. We show our dislike by not saying "hi", and we will look down or, if possible, just avoid meeting that person. Being the other person, you will never know why because there isn’t going to be an explanation or a confrontation, unless you have really made the Swede angry!

To show aggression in a Swedish group is such a taboo. Getting really angry in public will lead to many puzzled and condescending glances. You must know how to behave and restrain yourself, or you will be regarded as a man/woman without self control.

Also, we usually do not cry in public. If we do, we try to stop crying, or hide the fact that we are crying. Crying is mostly seen as a sign of weakness or lack of self-control. But, laughing in public is okay, and it is very common. I can’t really tell if we laugh more or less than other nationalities, but we are not so good at showing warm feelings to people whom we don’t know very well. Swedes tend to only show their feelings among friends and family.

We have No Problem Talking Bbout Feelings or Sex

Although Swedes don't like to display their feelings, they have no problem with public discussions about feelings or sex. In these cases we are very open-minded, and it takes a lot to make a Swede embarrassed.

We believe That the Society Should Provide Safety For Us

This can be seen as a dependence on government, and some may think that we blindly obey the government. But I see it more as we have confidence in something that actually works. We respect our authorities not because we fear someone above us, but because we feel content that both authorities and those below have made a collective agreement as a community. Democracy is very important and deeply rooted in Sweden.

Sporadic Contact with Relatives

Compared to other nations, we have a more sporadic contact with parents, which is something many immigrants interpret as callousness.

Feminism and Equality

Feminism is strong in Sweden, and equality has come a long way. Some argue that gender equality has gone a little bit too far, and if men and women become too alike, it will kill the eroticism between the genders.

The Jante Law or the Law of Jante

One can’t forget to mention the Law of Jante or, as we say, the Jante Law. The writer Aksel Sandemose lived in Denmark and wrote the book in which Jante Law is described in Norwegian. Jante Law is actually a fictional law and has had a great impact in Sweden. It formulated into words the unwritten law that says you should not be different or think that you are better than anyone else, in any way. Jante Law was of greater importance in the past when most people lived in rural areas. Today, Law of Jante has increasingly lost its importance. Jante Law may be on its way out, but it has influenced the Swedish style of today and is the bases for the Swede’s restraint. The law has been very negative on Swedish culture because it restrained people by making them think that they should not be unique, and that they should rather conform with everyone around them. However, some feel that the decline in popularity of the Law of Jante will cause Swedes to hold a mentality that advocates looking out for only for oneself, without caring about others, which is the opposite of Jante.

Personally, I like the Swedish way of being polite and to not seek trouble if it isn’t necessary. I also like their view of equality, and the great care they have for others. The thing we may lack is the ability to show our feelings and our warm hearts more easily.

More facts about Sweden!

 
 
Capital
Stockholm
Currency
Swedish Krona SEK
Population
9,4 million
Government
Constitutional monarchy, Parliamentary democracy
Parliament
The Riksdag 349 seats
National Day
6 June
Area
174,000 square miles
Highest point
Kebnekaise

My Experience as a Swede

Writing in another language than your own is a challenge that I can recommend to everyone! I love to meet wonderful people from other parts of the world, and the interaction with people from other countries is a big part of the joy with writing for this site.

But, writing in a second language also has its drawbacks since reverse or odd sentence structure sometimes creeps into my text. It is also much harder to be funny in another language because comedy has a lot to do with sentence structure and slang. And slang isn’t included in ordinary school English! I imagine that some have been wondering about my writing, and, even more, about the topics I write. My intention is to slowly melt in more and more, while trying to keep my originality as a Swede.

Has your view of the Swedes changed after reading this article?

See results

This video says it all!

Comments 208 comments

alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 3 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

Ingmar Bergman, Ingrid Bergman, Axel Munthe, Greta Garbo, Abba, Bjorn Borg, Sven Goran Erickson ... None and all are typical Swedes that we couldn't attribute to Englishmen/women.

Christina there are traits you've raised here that you have in common with the Danes, Icelanders, Norwegians, Scots, Northumbrians etc etc. Right down to Lincolnshire and East Anglia the mix is pretty much the same and attitudes toward 'foreigners' don't vary a lot. The 'typical Englishman' - whatever that is, what with the concrete mixer of time between the Celts, Romans, Angles (Aengle), Jutes (Jyllaender), Saxons (Seaxne), Danes, Normans (a mix of West Norse, Celt and Dane) and subsequent refugees such as Huguenots, Jews, Chinese etc - is aloof, not easy to get to know... Recognise the description?

I lived in Austria for three years, by and large in the 'deep south' being more forthcoming, and in Vienna. Vienna was a 'different kettle of fish' (Old English phrase, there's bags more) altogether. More distant on the whole, but maybe that has more to do with being city dwellers. I found it harder to get to know some, where others were easily approached. I think that was a 'class' issue.

Closer to home, it's largely the same thing: class. It's like that in London and we're like that in the North (of England) as well, the more basic your origins the more approachable you are. It's a 'hangover' of the Industrial Revolution'. The Danes settled in most places between the Tees (my area) and East London (east of the River Lea). Although people in these areas are friendly in the East Midlands they're harder to get to know (I lived in Nottingham for three years in the late 60s).

As for contact with Swedes, I've got a little story: On Ibiza back in 1976 I was at Cala Bassa, standing by the bar waiting for a young fellow to finish negotiations for credit on his booze. The barman wasn't going to give in and smiled to reinforce his 'regret'. The young fellow turned to me and said something I took to be Danish (there were masses of both at San Antonio). I said, "I don't speak Danish". His eyes nearly popped out of his head and he blurted, "DANISH?! Danish?!" Saying no more he stamped away back to his mates on the beach, who were already far out of cheap Spanish champagne. The barman grinned and went back to cleaning the counter. I've never met any others to speak to.


LY 6 months ago

Thank you for your article. It's helped me a lot.


dric123 12 months ago

I think Swedish people are quite different out of Sweden. Swedish society is very conformist and quite strictly, although discretely, governed by a fairly rigid set of social codes and rules. I lived there for a few years, and in the North, which may be more like the Sweden discussed in this article than the South. I left about 18 months ago and it has taken me some time to re-adjust. Its not a very easy country to get yourself established. The bureaucracy is mindblowing and it makes you understand why most Swedes don't step far from very tried and tested paths - they stick with the same friends, mostly in the same towns, with the same jobs. Finding a job is almost impossible because Swedish society can often seem like a secret club that you are not and never going to be part of. I am amazed how easy it is to come to the UK as a foreigner and establish yourself within a few months. Not so in Sweden. I just found Swedish people hard work. They like to kick you when you are down 'enacting the lagom rule' and kick you when you are up 'enacting the Jante law'. Everyday social interaction is a constant series of being ignored, customer service that implies that you should be grateful that they are serving you and generally being told that you're behaviour is unacceptable (and like the article says, that could be people you have met not saying hello to you). If people welcome you into their fold then that is high honour indeed but it won't take you doing much wrong in order have failed some lengthy initiation period. Swedish society is fine for Swedish people although I think many of them bemoan its uptightedness. If you are born into it you will understand well the rules and you are very much part of something bigger than yourself. Trying to get into it as an adult is very difficult without having, by chance, developed a Swedish style personality.


Udog8 12 months ago

Very interesting. Their culture will be challenged strongly over the next decade. Let hope we don't loose their wonderful traditions.


shaz khan 13 months ago

i have a swede friend i love her but she never expressed her feeling for me although she talks to me but does,nt shows her intentions about this ,,,will anybody tell me about this why she is behaving like this ,,,,


Ryan 14 months ago

So, Swedes don't say, "Hi" to people they don't know, and if they don't say, "Hi", it means they don't like you for some reason. In other words, they basically hate strangers. Sounds like hell to me.


valentina 14 months ago

hi! i an asian pilipina have swedish bf... all i can say..he is the sweetest guy i ever met!


lars 15 months ago

Well I'm from Northern Germany (Kiel) and a very big part of the mentality just sounds so much like ours. It's really interesting how big the difference gets already in Germany. The looking at each other part is just more like "try to avoid being noticed when staring". Even tho space and rules like queues are followed pretty strictly here.


Sanjukta 18 months ago

Something I'd like to add, how humanitarian is their moral culture! The Jante Law. :)


Sanjukta 18 months ago

I liked most of their personality traits except few. I would like be among them someday. I'm an Indian.


SaraKeiju 18 months ago

Although born in America, my family is Swedish. I am never able to understand why people have this perception of Swedes because I find their behavior to be indicative of sincerity and respect for others, amongst other things. In contrast, I feel isolated yet [paradoxically, perhaps] targeted by the attempts at "friendliness" so common here. I can never tell what these others are actually thinking because their words insist one thing, and this makes me terribly uncomfortable (I only ever say something if I mean it). The taciturn one, however (who almost always turns out to be Scandinavian, interestingly), is very easy for me to read. I always seem to know what they going to say next if they say something. Communication is so much easier. This makes life in America very difficult.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 19 months ago from Sweden Author

poetryman6969, That will do:) To see some reasons can make us more understandable and isn't that what it is all about? Trying to understand one another and accept that we have different ways and customs. We don't have to like or agree but if we understand and are tolerant towards each other, than we have come a long way towards understanding. Thanks for your comment and for reading!

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 19 months ago from Sweden Author

Hi Consu, and thanks for the positive comment. I agree with you, there are nice and not so nice people everywhere and with some people it just doesn't click. I took a trip to Gotland last year and I simply loved the island and especially Visby. Good to hear that you like it to. I have met many people from Gotland and I also think they are special and a bit different from the ordinary Swede, at least different from Swedes in some parts of Sweden. Even their dialect is wonderful! I appreciate that you took the time to leave a comment and for your view on this.

Tina


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 20 months ago

I don't know that my opinion changed any but I can see some reasons for some behaviors.


Consu 20 months ago

Dear Christina,

thanks for an inspiring swirl on the 'secret life' of Swedes!

I have lived for extended periods of time in several countries, from Germany (my husband is German) to the UK, to the States, Canada, Norway and Sweden. I spent a couple of years in Kiruna and I did not like the people's mentality even though most of them were nice. You know when it just does not click between you and them? Nothing personal in a way, I had the same experience in the UK. Since December I live on the beautiful island of Gotland and boy, what a change! People are warm and open here! Even too physical for me, just like the Norwegians! They are always hugging you! And strangers even smile at each other! I am really sorry to read all the other posts with bitter comments on the Swedes. Surely they are no saints, assholes are everywhere. But at the end of the day I am happy to be here and I don't want to leave. Be patient and give them some time, they are still human after all! The anthropologist has spoken... :)


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 22 months ago from Sweden Author

Hi Steve, and thanks for your view on Swedes and Sweden even if you don't like Sweden so much anymore. As a Swede, I have also had "friends" who say one thing and mean something totally different but I don't regard them as friends anymore. You will never know why or what you did wrong because they will never say it to your face, and you have no chance to understand either. I do hope you will meet some Swedes who are different and can stand up for their thoughts. But then again, it all depends on which country you compare us with. I do hope there is a Viking hidden inside us somewhere!


Steve 22 months ago

I have lived in Sweden for the last 12 years and I can say that at first I liked Swedes and Sweden. Now not so much. The men I find to be cowardly and 'pussy whipped' by the women. A lot of the men in Sweden have no opinion on anything and are so fearful of saying anything that will upset anyone that they'd rather die than say something wrong. Its embarrassing!

Swedes will also smile at you and shake your hand and say nice things to your face only then, stab you in the back. They pretend to be your friend and 'on your side' then you find out they're not. Its just cowardice and the fact that they have no 'balls' to stand up and be counted when necessary.

The women have more balls than their male counterparts and you will get a lot of 'attitude' from many of them, more from them than their men probably because most of the men have been mentally castrated.

Sweden as a country is wonderful, clean and mostly safe. The people of Sweden.....well, they used to be Vikings.....what the f**k happened guys?


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 23 months ago from Sweden Author

Hi anticipatory! I am glad to know that you liked this article. I hope you can visit Scandinavia someday and since you feel at home with the Swedish characteristic I might find myself at home if I visit your country too. Thanks for the comment!

Tina


anticipatory profile image

anticipatory 23 months ago

Hi, enjoyed reading your article. Am trying to absorb myself in all things Swedish... Having read your article, the character description sounds just like me! And I'm Welsh!... Maybe that's why I've developed a liking for all things Scandinavian. Hope to visit some day soon. Keep up the writing :)


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 2 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Not a Swede, Oh, your experiences in Sweden sound really depressing. And I am sorry to hear that your relationship didn't work out. It is awful to waste many years and end up not knowing why it ended.

I disagree with you about women's bodies being public property. Our bodies may be public but our bodies are our own, never the property of someone else.

I don't know the percent rate of divorced couples in Sweden but divorces are rather common. Even though a divorce is a tragedy for everyone involved, and especially for the children, I don't think a divorce is only negative. Older generations in Sweden stayed as married more often even if the marriage was bad. And that was because the women usually didn't have any income and practically didn't had any choose but to stay in a bad marriage. They paid a very high price for the "family". With that in mind I am all for women's independence which give us a possibility to choose. Why stay in a marriage where there is no passion for each other? I see so many married couple who really struggle and even seek professional help in order to improve their relation so they can continue to live together and there are few who don't care or try. And I must add, if the men used the women just for sex as you wrote, I am not surprised the women where dissatisfied! Thanks for your comment, it is interesting to see how difficult it is to understand each other. We all have the same need for love, care and security but we have different views on how to get it,

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 2 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Svanen, I am glad to know that you liked this hub! I can imagine there are many "Swedes" in America since so many Swedes emigrated from Sweden during the years. Thanks for letting me know and for your comment,

Tina


Not a Swede 2 years ago

@European - you make an excellent point. I must agree. As a woman, also of Southeastern European origin, I am disappointed that "feminism" has been used to enforce resentment between the sexes when that is not what it is supposed to be about.


Not a Swede 2 years ago

Where do I begin... they are horrible people to try to get close to. No emotion whatsoever. I am a foreigner that was in a 4-year relationship with a Swede. He spent that time telling me he loved me more than anyone else, proposed to me and said he would never give up on me because he never thought he would be so lucky to find someone like me. I was about to finish my PhD when I bought my wedding dress and he told me he was confused and done with me because he wasn't sure if he loved me. He said he just wants to care about himself and his career rather than put our relationship first. He took about 10 minutes to answer my questions about why he changed his mind with just a bunch of "I dunno"s. He emailed me once since to just say he doesn't know why I don't understand him and goodbye. That's all, after professing his love everyday for 4 years. It's like he died.

At least I don't have to see his family picture albums with pictures of his naked family again. Swedes don't actually have respect for their bodies, especially women's bodies. Their bodies are public property. His parents and brother almost never engaged in a conversation for more than 2 minutes at a time with me. Swedes just know how to smile and go about their business. The worst part is that they don't care that they are this way.

I find the women to be very dissatisfied and constantly complaining in relationships while the men are so turned off by them that they are quietly judging and resenting (but NEVER arguing). So the men mostly use them for sex. Each of their attitudes reinforces the others'. It's an unhealthy cycle. Instead of telling the truth, the women say they are "independent", but it's just a symptom of a lack of passion for each other. "Self" and "independence" comes before "family" and "togetherness" for them. In the 4 years I spent with the Swedish man, I never came across parents under 60 years of age that weren't divorced or never married or co-habitating but not wanting to marry. Except one of his friends.. they were married with children but were keeping it a secret....


Svanen 2 years ago

Thanks for writing this. I am American but you described me perfectly. I am just like my father and his father was the same. I only learned last year that this paternal line goes back to Sweden. It's nice to know that I could be considered "normal" somewhere. LOL. My Cuban wife thinks I am abnormally quiet, but now I tell her proudly that I am just a normal Swede.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 2 years ago from Sweden Author

Thanks for your thoughts about us Swedes. I don't agree but it might seem as if we don't care. Maybe it is because we haven't experienced any real threats as a nation for so long. But if I saw someone burn the Swedish flag I would indeed look down on him/her.


Mikael 2 years ago

The funny thing is that swedes are among the most unationalistic peoples of all.

Hating swedes must be the most frustrating experience ever! They just don't give a fck what you say about them. YOu can say whatever you want, even burn their flag, they just don't care. They will just continue to look down on you as a subhuman nomatter what you do. :D


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 2 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi European, I am sorry to hear that your relationship didn't work out and thanks for your comment. But I don't agree with you about feminism being something negative.


European 2 years ago

Swedes are very rude and very ignorrant people. Vast majority of them are exaclty like that. The problem is that Swedes literally think they are "God's people" and everybody else is just sub-human. They will not tell you this in the face, but watch their body language and non-verbal expressions. I'm from southern Europe and had relationship with one beautiful Swedish girl. She was really amazingly beautiful and smart, but had way too high opinion about herself. She literally tought she is superior in everything and that she never makes mistakes. This is not just my own example, but many people share exactly the same opinions. So as far as for Swedish girls goes - yes, they are beautiful, but overly-rigid with waaaaaaay too high opinions about themselves. My advice, stay away from them, it will save you a lot of nerves and effort. Feminism destroyed Sweden.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 2 years ago from Sweden Author

Thank you Khaled, I am glad to hear!

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 2 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Starluna, I don't know how to explain this since we obviously look upon women and a women's right to her own body so differently. But it is an interesting question and I will try:) Your girlfriend is right, we do undress in front of our own family if we need to, and if it feels comfortable. And we should be able too! Just like men can undress in front of their family. There is no difference at all. I believe that every human has the right to her/his own body and my body is mine, not my husbands. The fact that I have chosen to live with my husband doesn't give him the right to decide how I should behave or what I can do or can't do. I decide, just like he decides about his body. If I feel comfortable enough to undress in front of my family and friends I will do it. But if some of the male friends or family make me uneasy by looking too obviously or in a way I don't like I will think twice before I do it again or be more cautious. Even though I have the right to do as I please, I am sorry to say that women must be a bit cautious since not all men can be trusted, even if I don't think it should be that way. No one has the right to do anything to another human without permission, it must be a fundamental human right. I hope you can trust your girlfriend enough to let her make her own decisions and see that undressing in front of her family has nothing to do with disrespect for you. It is her right and has nothing to do with your relationships if it feels normal for her. And in a bath house or at the beach it is totally normal and accepted in all the Nordic countries. I hope this makes sense to you, and the way I see it, it is more of a male problem that can't be solved by forcing women to be fully clothed all the time.

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 2 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Anne, and thanks for your view about the Swedes! I am glad to hear that you don't agree entirely since I don't see it either. I am trying to see why people look upon us in this way and to some degree I can understand why. But I also think we are funny, as well as kind and warmhearted people. Humor is very important and without it, we get nowhere! Thanks for the comment!

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 2 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Frank, everything you say do sounds very familiar, even though it is not so flattering. I can imagine that it will take a while to understand the Swedish people. To say; "I will call you" is the Swedish way of being polite and is something we often say without meaning to. To talk behind other peoples back is something I never do, simply because it does not interest me but I know some people find it very interesting. I don't think that is especially typical for Swedish people though, it has more to do with humans in general.

Thanks for your view of Swedish people, and for the comment!

Tina


Khaled 2 years ago

Swedes are the best nation in the world and the best system the best government and they are the best human beings :)...Thank you swedes from Palestine


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 2 years ago from Sweden Author

Kev, I love your pros and cons about Swedes! And I especially like your con; Swedes have a strange combination of arrogance and low self-esteem because it is a very good description of the influence of the Jante law. I don't feel unhappy, but then again, I don't know what you compare with. I am very happy to live in a country where equality between male and female have come a long way, even though there are still work to be done in that area. Thanks for your comment, Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 2 years ago from Sweden Author

Abdalrahman, I know it can take a while to make friends with us Swedes but I think we are very good friends once you get to know us. Thanks for your comment, Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 2 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Ricardo, I guess there are good and bad in all cultures and we see things a bit different. I appreciate your comment! Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 2 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi AnnaBrita, I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed your time here in Sweden. I have seen some episodes of the show "Allt för Sweden" and liked it but I guess it isn't the real thing really:) The way you describe Sweden and us Swedes are very interesting for me since I have spent my whole life here and have nothing to compare with. I hope you can have a good fika where you are now and also hope you will come back here again. Thanks for your comment! Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 2 years ago from Sweden Author

Thanks for your thoughts Olof, and I agree with you. Both climate and distance may had, and still have, a big influence on the Swedish character and have forced us to be rational and reason-oriented.


STARluna 2 years ago

Is it true that scandinavians undress in front of anyone as long as their underwear, bra is in place. They trust those people enough to undress? My girlfriend has changed in front of her family (including step dad, male cousin), friends (boys and girls), coworkers (mostly old men), and strangers (but that's in a bath house). She claims all Swedes and even Norwegians do this. It makes me uneasy, uncomfortable, disrespected, and of course jealous. I do try really hard to understand, but I come from a family that doesn't believe in such things.


Anne 2 years ago

I find this article extremely amusing only because I have a Swede friend and I imagined her while reading the summary: "...here is the typical Swede: socially closed, spiritually empty, their hearts are missing, they have a sluggish mind, they are cowards, cold, shy and hold a distance!!" I wouldn't say it's entirely true because my friend is extremely pleasant and funny. Perhaps I'm lucky that our humor met first before anything else [or reading the stereotypes] because I'd definitely have second thoughts befriending a Swede knowing the stereotypes. Anyway, I personally think humor goes an extra mile. Though it might not be learned in class, it can be easily adapted with the right people around you.


Frank 3 years ago

You can take the same bus/train everyday and meet the same Swedish person for years.

The most he/she will say is: Hej.

But if the bus or train is late he or she starts to talk like they known you for years. Same goes if the weather is really bad.

Swedish talk allot though, when in bars after some beers, they can be your best pal.

They say very often: Lets have a coffee some time. Trust me, that time will never come. The same goes with: I will call you... mostly just small talk and not to be trusted.

Swedish neighbors often talk about other neighbors.. behind their back.

Welcome to Sweden.. its a great nature.. the people? Well.. I call you some time.


Kev 3 years ago

After living in Sweden on two separate occasions for more than six months each, here is my personal analysis:

10 Pros

Swedes tend to be non-judgemental

Swedes make an effort to give you a positive impression

Swedes are good at innovation, details, and marketing

Swedes are honest and humble

Swedes have a good sense of style and / or fashion

Swedes are, for the most part, very attractive people

Swedes are good listeners and pay attention

Swedes generally keep their promises (trustworthy)

Swedes are curious and interested in learning

Swedes are sexually open and liberal

10 Cons

Swedes are the most extreme politically correct people I've ever met

Swedes think having a disagreement is some form of "confrontation"

Swedes can be so incredibly self-righteous - "We know best"

Swedes have a strange combination of arrogance and low self-esteem

Swedes are passive-aggressive and emotionally immature

Swedes are quite cowardly - and they were once vikings??

Swedes must be drunk to be socially "normal", unlike other Europeans

Swedes are very, very naïve, believing so much bullsh*t in the world

Swedish women are some of the unhappiest women I've ever met

Swedish men are some of the most emasculated men I've ever met


Abdalrahman faruk profile image

Abdalrahman faruk 3 years ago from Cairo, Egypt

It seem difficult to deal with aren't good in showing their feelings,it will be difficult to make friends, you will feel lonely I think.


Ricardo 3 years ago

Ok.. After read this I confirmed, not only the swedish, but all nordic people are a pain in the aZZ.... real people are in South Europe, if I could, I had taken away all their money and just send it to South... To GOOD people who knows how to live and smile to life... Not to those robots, weirdos nordic people...


AnnaBrita 3 years ago

I'm an American who spent some time in Sweden last year, albeit on a TV show (Allt för Sverige) which is probably not the most realistic way of experiencing the country... however, I found the Swedes to be very much as described above: quiet, stand-offish, etc. AND YET they also were absolutely wonderful people! In particular, my family members have been so kind and welcoming. But even the random people we'd meet along the way were gracious and smacked of quiet intelligence. The whole country seemed dignified, educated, and rational. I loved it. I think of it every single day still. I think of having a fika on my cousin's boat in lake Malaren in Stockholm while sunbathers politely jumped from rocks under the gentle Swedish sun... that peaceful, refined milieu is lacking over here in the US, and I miss it. Even way up North or out in the rural areas, the cleanliness and intelligence of the people were evident. There are goods and bads to all cultures, but Sweden - at least to me - is overflowing with subtle goods!


Olof 3 years ago

I think people from other countries have a hard time to understand exactly how sparsley populated Sweden have been (And is still today) and how that has formed our mentality.

Just to arrange a meeting with someone in the old days was perhaps a very intimate thing. That is to say; nothing you normally do.

I also think swedes are a very rational-loving people and that may seem "heartless/soulless" to other people, but who cares really. Sweden has one of the most stable economys in the world, one of the best social wellfare systems (even though by no means perfect) and I really thing there is a good reason to be a "Reason-oriented" people. And you really have to be in a low populated country with freezing climate.

What is the option then for those who dislike scandinavian mentality? Mediterranian? Maybe spaniors, italians and greeks are so full of talking about passion, their hearts and souls that they forget to actually make their societys work.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 3 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi gent. I am sorry to hear about your experience about us Swedes. I can't take the credit for the initial description of the Sweses though, since it comes from Ake Dauns book. I hope some of our behavior became more understandable from reading this hub which I hope explains why I think people from other nationalities describe Swedes in this way. It just shows that it isn't easy to understand other nationalities and that it takes time. I wish that you will meet some Swedes who doesn't appear to be zombies without souls. I know we are much more than that, but it takes time to get to know us properly. Thanks for the comment!

Tina


gent 3 years ago

I m impressed! you just described them in a perfect way! i lived in sweden more than 5 years And i couldn't find words to describe it , you wrote it ! Gj ... when they asked me about Swedish i just say a zombie without a soul . only open their mouth when they are drunk or to talk about sex or to hit on any religion or to discriminate people by talking about war and such subjects that no one is intressted of! you can't chat with anyone without having a beer in their hand . they drink beer but if u buy vodka they throw the beer because there is a free vodka bottle


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 3 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi lesjar! Yes, it is very difficult to describe the mentality of a nation and one have to read a hub like this with some humor. But then again, I believe nationality matters and influence us on a wide scale. Someone said that the fact that we live so far north do something to people and that the cold and dark winters influence us and mold us to typical behavior. Honesty, I really don't know what to say about Swedes and honesty. It all depends on how you interpret honesty I suppose. If we talk about honesty when it comes to ethic and business I think we are very honest, but when it comes to how we behave towards one another I am more reluctant to say that we are honest. My experience is that we are more interested in what others will say or how it looks on the outside.

A direct and straightforward behavior isn't something a typical Swede appreciate since most Swedes are the opposite. Again, there are many straightforward Swedes that will disagree with me but straightforward people is not characteristic for a Swede so we will immediately blame such behavior on the fact that they are not a Swede:)

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about this subject and for adding information from Russia. I hope you do write a hub with hints about Russian and Adyghe mentalities, it would be very interesting to read.

Tina


lesjar profile image

lesjar 3 years ago from Russia

Hi Tina and all!

Thanks for a very interesting and informative hub. I'm Russian, though not very 'typical' one. Confusingly, we have the same saying 'Talking is silver, silence is gold' but with a different meaning. It means 'Sometimes it's wiser to keep silent' in Russia.

I like very much to read about different nations' mentalities too and I found a series of books on this subject. It's called Xenophobe's Guides. I've read several of them (there are e-books in Russian translation on the Internet). These books have a lot of (though not near full) information but one have to catch the authors' sense of humour to get them right. Besides, I found that while some statements about Russians were true, some were not and some were even offensive. I can't judge books about other nations but I think that some criticism is needed while reading this series.

I'm very interested in such a trait as honesty. And I've read that this trait is very typical to Swedes. Could you please elaborate on this subject?

Another thing which interests me is how do Swedes regard a very direct and straightforward behaviour, for example such as the Dutch people are said to have.

I think I could give some hints about Russian and Adyghe mentalities in my turn if you are interested. Though sometimes I find it very difficult to generalize such things as a nation's mentality.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 3 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi A Seattle Guy! I found your comment very interesting and it make sense since many Swedes immigrated to America. I guess the reserved characteristic from northern Europe is hard to beat:) But I think that the characteristic of people also has have something to do with the weather, rainy or cold weather tend to make people stay more indoors and maybe that is why we are interpreted as cold and hard to get to know. It isn't so easy to connect with people who live behind closed doors even if they are friendly. I know for a fact that I am much more social during our summer season when we spend more time outdoors. I talk to my neighbors more and spend more time on cafes, beaches and restaurants where I meet more people than during the other seasons. Good to know that The Jante law isn't so typical where you live though. In my opinion the Jante Law has given more bad influences than good to the Swedish people.

I hope you will visit Sweden sometime and if I ever get a chance to visit America I will plan for a visit in Seattle. Thanks for this interesting comment,

Tina


A Seattle Guy 3 years ago

Very interesting article. A few of the things I can relate to, as the Seattle area was pioneered by a lot of Scandinavians.

We are typically pretty reserved here; at least people who were born and raised here are that way -- and people from other parts of the U.S. find us very cold. But we don't have the Jante thing, or remnants of it here; I don't think that part of the Scandinavian culture survived long here.

Every now and then one of the local papers will have an article about it, usually pertaining to Seattle area dating culture, especially from the perspective of people who move here from other parts of the U.S.. They'll always say the same thing: "it's hard to meet people here", "people are cold here." Often they will blame our insular character on the rainy, bleak weather.

So when I read similar things about Sweden it's kind of like reading about home. Except that nearly everything else I read about 'Swedish behavior' seems very different!

The most interesting thing I have found in reading about Sweden is that people over there appear to have solid family ties, and your holiday traditions haven't been cast off like many of ours.

Thanks for posting this thought provoking and informative article. I think it is one of the best articles I've read on the Swedish psyche. If I ever get the chance to visit I think it will help me understand the country and people there better.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 3 years ago from Sweden Author

Thanks for reading and for the comment!


Bryan 3 years ago

Swedes like to talk about their feelings... pull the other leg.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 3 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi birolilu! I hope you will have a pleasant experience when you arrive to Sweden but I can imagine the struggle in trying to take care of practical things from a distance. Body language is important and I hope you will find it easier when you can talk directly to people and see the Swedes you talk to. Bear in mind that the stereotypic Swede with all these behaviors mentioned above hardly doesn't exist. At least, you will not find all these characteristic in one person. But when you recognize a characteristic like the one mentioned above you will at least be pre warned and know why:) I really think it will be fine and I am so glad to know you found my writing helpful! Please come back and tell about your experience once you are here, it would be so interesting to hear.

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 3 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi keznik, I am sorry to say that I really don't know but according to my husband who isn't born here on the Swedish west coast the bigger cities are probably a good assumption of places where people are more open and "warmer" than more sparsely populated areas here. I hope it makes sense for you! I don't want to scare people away from the west coast of Sweden because we have a wonderful nature and coastline and I personally think we are friendly towards people from other countries in our own way. It is a two way communication and it may take a while.


birolilu 3 years ago

Hi thoughthforce, thank you so much for the post -- this makes very interesting reading for me and puts some of the experiences I have had with Swedish estate agents, schools etc into context: I will be relocating from France to Sweden in the summer and have a feeling I might be in for a massive culture shock. I'll keep reading your blog hoping it will buffer the impact on arrival :) ... it Thank you!


keznik@aol.com 3 years ago

Hi again. You mentioned that the west cost is bad for distant behaviour. Where are the more open areas outside of stockholm assuming that if one area is known for being cold that there is an area for being warmer?


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 3 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Colomba, Yes, I have also noticed that we behave different when we are abroad and the only reason I can think of is that we are on holiday without the everyday stuff around us. It is our time to relax and enjoy the new destination. Swedes love to travel to other countries and most of us travel at least once a year. I guess we need it! Being a Swede myself I don't found it difficult to behave like a Swede and I do it without thinking. So to us it isn't artificial since we are born with it. I blame it on the Jante Law, which have had a huge affect on people here and I am happy to say that it is fading nowadays. Maybe with more influence from abroad and from people from other countries we will slowly change into more open people. In my opinion we are warm-hearted but it takes some time to get to know us. I have also heard that Japanese citizens and Swedes have similar behavior and that is really interesting since I don't think we have so much else in common! Thanks for coming back, I appreciate the input from someone who can study Swedes from another point of view!

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 3 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Colomba! Yes, I think you hit the nail there! It has much to do with the feeling of something familiar, something to connect people with, as a way to know how people really are. Even if how people are has nothing to do with which school we went to or where we live but it creates a feeling of security I guess. It makes me sad to hear about your experience but It sounds as if you have figured us out and find it easier now! Thanks for reading and for the thoughtful comment!

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 3 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi John, I am sorry to hear that you and your wife have found the Swedes to be so reserved. And I am even more sorry to say that I am not so surprised either. It is just the Swedish way and as you say it gets more obvious outside the big cities. It also depends where in Sweden you live. The part where I live, on the Swedish west coast is probably one of the worst, at least that is what my husband think. He is originally from Stockholm and has also lived in other parts of Sweden and he still struggle with the cold ways of the people living here. It really is a shame and I do not have an answer for you. I have lived on the Swedish west coast all my life so I guess I am part of it too. I hope it will fade away and become easier, at least for younger generations. As you say; the difficult part is to get past that initial hard -wall! Once that is done, I think we are warm and caring people. Thanks for the interesting comment, you got me thinking about my own behavior as well as my friends behavior.

Tina


Colomba 3 years ago

Another thing comes to mind: Swedes are very friendly and open when they are abroad. It's like away from home they dare to be themselves but when at home, they switch into a totally different person. They put on a mask and behave according to some strange invisible norm. It feels like their society have forced and shaped the swedish citizen to comply to some very stricts artificial rules.

In a way it's just like the Japanese society. These two have a huge lot in common. I have a japanese friend who immediately adapted to life in Sweden; me on the contrary still struggling although I'm european .

I will never comply with rules and norms that prevent me to be myself. And I only hope Swedes will one day wake up from their lethargy and see their society for what it is: a very coercive and narrow-minded one. Either you behave as expected or you're simply frozen out.


Colomba 3 years ago

Pretty accurate portrait of the Swedes. After 12 years spent in this country, Im just starting to learn to know them a bit. I feel they are among the most difficult people on earth to deal with as they are very reserved( cold?). Unless you grow up in same town and went to same school, takes ages to make Swedish friends. Looking forward to a mediterranean destination in my next life. Hälsningar//C.


John 3 years ago

Not sure that I agree with your reasoning and rationale behind the Swedish 'coldness' to be honest. I come from the UK and have lived here 5 years now. I have Swedish friends but none that I could call close. The Swedes are extremely cliquey when socialising and do not like to expand beyond their social circle. Also, outside of Stockholm the social life is based solely around alcohol, much of which is drunk at home.

The Swedish coldness may have its roots in historical culture based way of life but modern Swedes take this to an extreme. It is not just me who experiences this but other Swedes too. My wife (Swedish) moved back to her hometown and tried to touch base with her old friends only to be rebuffed by either ignoring phone calls or making excuses as to why they couldn't meet for a coffee. We even invited our new neighbors over for dinner and drinks when we moved in and have yet to receive an invite back.... and in some cases the same neighbors will completely 'blank' you on the street if you pass them. '

This 'cold' culture is not just something that immigrants such as myself experience, the Swedes experience it too and when I bring it up in conversation they freely admit to acting this way and do it out of fear of being different.

It is a shame as once you get to know the Swedes they are generally very nice and warm people, it is just getting past that initial hard-wall that is very difficult....


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi danish, Yes the Jantelaw is danish and the writer Aksel Sandemose lived in Denmark but wrote in Norwegian! But it seems as the Jantelaw has had more impact on the Swedish people than the Danish and the Norwegian. Thanks for pointing this out, I will add it to the text so there is no confusion. I think I could write a separate hub about the Jantelaw since it is a bit complicated!

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Kerry Grant and thank you for the interesting comment! I can imagine that it is a massive step moving to another country and I would have the same concern as you have if I would move to England! But I don't think you will have so much trouble if you moved here. I have been working with an English man during some years and although he isn't talking so much about what he thinks about Sweden I do think he likes it here. But there is one thing I know he is missing and that is the English politeness, especially in traffic where he find Swedes to be very rude! And we do give praise to each other since we all want to know that we are appreciated. But maybe we give praise more silent and perhaps more subtile depending on which part of the world we compare with. The language is vital, especially when it comes to working life even if almost every Swede can speak and understand English. But it sounds as if you and your husband are on top of that too since you are already learning Swedish. I hope you will find a house here and I say welcome in advance! I would love to hear how it all goes!

Thanks for reading and for the votes!

Tina


danish 4 years ago

The jantelaw is Danish btw.


Kerry Grant profile image

Kerry Grant 4 years ago from Battle, East Sussex

My husband and I are from England and are quiet and fairly reserved (shy). We saw an advert for a beautiful house in Southern Sweden that was a third of the price of my tiny terraced house in Southeast UK. We started to do a bit of research and found some lovely houses all over with stunning scenery. My husband came over for a week a couple of months ago and stayed in Karlstad where we were told that we couldn't afford a house there lol but we still check out the property websites. We are both learning Swedish and so far everything I have read warms me to the culture. Pete found them to be friendly and helpful but Pete would not stand out too much apart from when he spoke (in English). He loved the direct plain speaking attitude and absolutely loved the countryside.

The only concern I have is when we do find a house to buy we wont be able to move over completely until I have found a job as I am the main bread winner. Pete is a tree surgeon and I am in Finance. I am worried about the cultural and professional differences as although I am shy I do work very hard and like to be told when I have done a good job. Where in I blush and skitter away but it boosts my confidence massively being praised. Professional my qualifications would mean nothing in Sweden either so the fact of re-training is daunting. Your schools seems very good and I believe my little boy would certainly benefit.

Your article was very interesting especially the video clips and I intend to read your other articles as soon as possible. Have voted it up.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi dereksmalls, I can imagine that it is difficult to move to a new country. There are so many things to learn and it must be frustrating at times to experience the difficulty in melting into the Swedish community. It should get easier though, considering that you have been here for more than a year. Don't give in, the Swedes generally are kind and caring but in our own way. Thanks for telling me about your experiences, it is so interesting. It is a bit sad though, that we make life so difficult for us by having these differences between countries.

Tina


dereksmalls 4 years ago

Its funny when you move to a new country and you have to learn how to act. Its hard psychologically and its not for the faint hearted hence why lots of people just stay put. Ive had my ups and downs with Sweden - mostly downs as Im just past one year. Anyone who has been on holiday somewhere will generally tell you what a wonderful place it is because of how they are and when you smile the whole world smiles with you. Expatriation is a total different ball game and you find yourself like a toddler screaming at the frustration and confusion that has been thrust upon you. Whenever I am filled with these negative notions of Swedish people that you outlined at the beginning - and I can fully understand how people get this impression - someone will do something kind and warm. I often think of my homeland and the frustrations of life there. When you are at home its just that life and people are frustrating, when you are in Sweden - or anywhere else for that matter - its ALL the fault of the natives and their confounding ways. I am learning to walk, its been hard but when you understand what you should and shouldn't do and forget about how things would be if you could organise the world about yourself, then life gets a hell of a lot easier. Mention sörstromming and you will always break the ice...a little bit.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi JLOlson, I am thrilled to hear about the Scandinavian influences in Minnesota and I like the description "Minnesota-nice", it really says it all. It must have been both fun and interesting to visit Sweden and your relatives, I know that I have relatives in America on my fathers side who´s name was Olsson and I would love to search for them someday. I was about ten years old the last time our relatives from America visited and I only remember them vaguely. And sadly, there is no one left here to ask who they are or where they live. Great to hear that you had a pleasant visit here and thank you so much for the comment, it was interesting!

Tina


JLOlson 4 years ago

(continued from earlier post)...how my Grandma Olson acted.

Long story short, my relatives were wonderful, warm, and very loving. They were soooo excited to welcome us back and tried to get us to move "back home." I could tell that I needed to not be so touchy-feely (like Italians), and I needed to stop saying "hi" to everyone; but as soon as I started to talking to the Swedes, they were enamoured by my American accent (said my Uncle Tor) and kept asking me questions...mostly political...about America and what we thought. :)


JLOlson 4 years ago

Hi, Tina. I really enjoyed your article! I am of Swedish descent (half) and live in Minnesota, MN...where we have the second largest Swedish/Swedish-descent population to Sweden. I know that many of the cultural traits of MN come from Scandinavia (the Jante Law), but just known as "Minnesota-nice" here.

Last summer, we went to Sweden for the first time, to meet our relatives who hadn't had family from the U.S. in over 30 years. We were all nervous. Besides being 50% Swedish, I am also 25% French-Canadian and 25% Italian...and a 100% American; so, I wasn't sure how much of my Swedish traits had survived. And if my Swedish relatives would see me as brash, abrasive, loud, or just plain rude (I am an extrovert and warm like an Italian). I just tried to remember how my


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Anna! It feels good for me to know that Swedes are not so strange and that there are similar persons in other parts of the world too. Good that you are learning some Swedish before your stay here! It will be an advantage for you even though most Swedes speak English. I wish you all the best with your studies and hope you will enjoy your time in Sweden and Norway! Thank you for reading and for the interesting comment!

Tina


Anna 4 years ago

It was very interesting to read this article, bacause I read so much new! But it kind of felt, like I was reading about myself, not Swedes. :) Feels like I have some Swedish genes and I'm really happy about it! I live in Georgia, but still I have so many genes, apart from Georgian (Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, Jewish and now Swedish!) Trying to learn Swedish right now and study in Sweden or Norway. It is to know what this people are like and I think, that I will feel very good in Sweden! :)


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Milli Thornton, Oh, I am glad I wrote this article then! It is so easy to misjudge since we interpret the behavior of others from our own point of view. And we do it without thinking although we might have an open mind to other cultures. I do it myself also. I wish there was a manual to read about every country where facts about the people and how to behave was included and not only where to go and what to see! It is so nice to meet you and thank you for the interesting comment!

Tina


Milli Thornton 4 years ago

I haven't had much exposure to Swedes, so some of the details in this article surprised me. I voted "Yes" that it changed my views of Swedes. But at least with your explanations (especially of The Jante Law), I understand why they are this way. However, if I had encountered some of these behaviors without the benefit of your article, I might have agreed with some of the less flattering labels applied to Swedes.

I can relate best to the part about the personal space. I really treasure mine (as well as my privacy) and I detest ignorant people--for instance in the queue at the post office--who insist on standing in my space.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Terence! It isn't so long ago when gay people had a difficult time in Sweden either, but I guess it depends on what we compare with. Nowadays gay people are more accepted and most Swedes have no problem with a persons sexual orientation. Homosexual couples can be wed in church and there is a law against sexual discrimination. But there are always people who have a different view so there are still a minority who think homosexuality is wrong. I don't think you will have any special problems coming from Asia to Sweden and I hope you will enjoy your visit here! Thanks for the comment!

Tina


Terence 4 years ago

Hi! My name is Terence and I'm from the Philippines. I heard Sweden has a long history of tolerance for the gay community as they would for anyone else too. I'm just wondering how it is nowadays? And how are Swedes whenever they meet people from Asia? I'm planning to visit Stockholm someday and meet some Swedish people too :) Excellent read! Keep it up!


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Kent, Thanks for reading and I appreciate the comment!

Tina


Kent 4 years ago

Really good article. I enjoyed reading it.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Joe, I understand how you mean and it is never wrong to get new influences from another country. Either from a distance or by living in another country for a while. I love my country and everything it stands for but of course we have problems here too. All countries are affected by each other these days and a change in one part of the world will inevitable have an impact of the rest. It is difficult and sometimes I don't understand the motives for an action, or the opposite, when nothing is being done to stop the cruelty towards people in other countries. Thank you so much for your thoughts,

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Dimitri, I think you will be just fine. I don't think we will give people a hard time no matter the ethnicity. We have many greeks here and Greece is one of the most popular places for Swedes when we travel. I have been to Greece and I would love to go there again.

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi A.A! Haha, that sounds just like a Swede to me so maybe you have some Swedish genes! I am sure that you would feel at home here and that you would blend in nicely:) I hope you will visit my country but if you do, you better make sure you know the woman before you start talking about sex with her otherwise she will only look angrily at you in response! It is great to know that there are people with Swedish behavior in US too, since it means that I will feel at home if or when I visit the US. Thank you so much for reading and for this funny comment A.A.! I hope you have a great weekend,

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Emma, and thank you for your comment! I am glad to know that you could use this article and I hope your Filipino boyfriend understand you better from this! Good point about hugs and I agree with you that hugs are not suitable in every situation

Tina


Joe 4 years ago

Thank you for the reply. Yes of course, it's a game of averages, every nation is very diverse; it's just about how the culture evolves to form some kind of average. I was also being quite playful because I have very blonde hair, blue eyes and people always think I'm either Swedish/German/Dutch.

I never really identify is being that British, probably more as European in the general way of seeing things. All this royal family stuff and that we invade every country (along with America) makes me a bit embarrassed to be from here.

I guess it's the green grass on the other side but seems like a nicer place to be right now.


Dimitri 4 years ago

Will I experience a hard time from swedes if I am visiting sweden and i have an ethnicity such as greek??


A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 4 years ago from Texas

OMG, I THINK I'M SWEDISH. I'VE ALWAYS WONDERED WHY I PREFERRED SITTING ON MY OWN SEAT ON THE BUS AND EASILY TALKING TO EUROPEAN WOMEN ABOUT SEXUALITY. NOW I KNOW WHY...

All kidding aside, all the attributes you spoke of about Swedes, are the attributes I have right now. I think I would feel at home there, and would love to visit one day. Thank you for sharing!


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Joe! I think you are right about the Northern European way to be and for some reason we are more reserved compared to people from Southern Europe. Maybe it is the climate with cold winters that makes us behave this way!

I can also sense a change in how people behave as a society and everyone seem to be fully occupied with themselves these days. Everything goes so fast and no one has time for humanity. The only thing that matters seem to be to get more money, make a career, and buying things. But even so, I like the Swedish way, the society and the security for people living here.

It sounds like English and Swedish people have many things in common from the way you describe English working places and how English people behave. I don't know if Scandinavian people are more cold than others from Northern Europe and maybe I am not the right person to judge:) I have met Swedes that are fantastic and warm people who embrace everyone into their family and as friends and I know people who are much more reserved or even impossible to socialise with. So I guess there is all types of people in our countries.

Thank you so much for your comment, it is so interesting to hear the views from someone living outside Sweden!

I appreciate your input on this subject

Tina


Emma Setterman 4 years ago

(I found this article doing a search to better explain to my Filipino boyfriend my nature) as very much an american descendant of Swedes, I find this article to be acurate. The one thing I have not found in other articles (or perhaps I have just had too much snaps...) is that: Folks! Isn't this just out of respect for other people??? Why should I bother someone with my need to say 'hi' or desire to hug them??


Joe 4 years ago

Hi, this was very interesting. I like learning about other cultures.

I'm in England (and I'm English) and I think there is a broad Northern European way which means we're all a bit more steady and reserved than those from Southern Europe.

I think the English can be very superficial. I work in a shop and everybody talks about the weather or what's on the papers. We spend a lot of time talking about work and being negative about work and other things which might be good really.

We have a severe problem with drink because we don't know how to talk about our feelings. I think our niceness (in general) goes so far. We hold the doors and sometimes greet strangers (in closer knit communities; I'm from Plymouth which is different to London).

I do wonder whether we are really that compassionate as a society these days. I worry that we're becoming more like a selfish society of winners and losers, I don't like that.

I have to say that I feel very connected to the way you act as a society. That sense that society should provide safety whilst being liberal/open minded sums up my politics. I am also seen by others as cold (even for a Brit) but I am very warm when I know people and listen very well. Is this Swedish/Scandinavian? Maybe I'm adopted :P


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi aethelthryth! It sounds like there may be a genetic component also and it is so interesting to hear about your experience concerning this. I know what you mean about the hugging:) Some people hug everyone from a habit and it can be difficult for others who don't have that behavior. I usually don't hug people except for close friends and family. I would love to visit the Scandinavian part of America as well as many other places in America. Thank you so much for reading and for the interesting comment!

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Larry! There are so many things to consider when it comes to how and why it happened as it did and why the Swedish government made the choices they did. Maybe they didn't have so much choice as it seems! You have many valid points here Larry and I thank you for adding them here!

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Roger, We all have those views about how people from other countries are and behave and I find it very interesting because it isn't just a myth or a tale, it is real and there are so much that make us who we are, history, climate, traditions, religion and so on. Thanks for adding your thoughts, I appreciate it!

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Roger! There are all types of Swedes and this decription is a very stereotypic description of a Swede so I don't claim that this goes for all Swedes. A country's history does form the people and there are far more Swedish history than the WWII. A deeper analysis about historical politics in Sweden isn't possible to do in a comment so I leave it for now. Maybe I write another hub about the historical Sweden! Thanks for the comment and for reading!

Tina


aethelthryth profile image

aethelthryth 4 years ago from American Southwest

I agree with catatonia that there is a genetic component. My maiden name was Swedish, but the previous 3 generations were born in America. It is interesting comparing what you say about Sweden with my relatives in Wisconsin, and then comparing both to my generation which was not raised in a Scandinavian part of America. I really like your description of personal space. Growing up, everyone around me seemed to want to hug everyone all the time and I did NOT.


Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 4 years ago from Northern California

Hi Roger,

Like you, I'm an American. But I see WW II a bit differently. Swedish neutrality was more complex than Swiss neutrality, for example.

Sweden has a relatively small population, currently just under 10 million. On the other hand, Hitler did not want to waste scarce resources fighting even a small population of pissed-off Vikings.

All things considered, official neutrality was a reasonable compromise. Sweden managed to avoid getting their cities reduced to rubble, again. And there was one real Swedish hero of WW II, Raoul Wallenberg, who saved the lives of thousands of Hungarian Jews, by issuing fake travel documents.

Let's look at the moral issue. The draconian Treaty of Versailles set the stage for WW II. Sweden sat on the sidelines during WW I. Unlike France and the US, it bears no blame for a Right-wing psychopath coming to power in Germany. BTW, this was predicted by the famous economist, John Maynard Keynes, in his book, The Economic Consequences of the Peace.

The most important job of a government is to look out for the interests of its citizens. For nearly 200 years, the Swedish government has done an admirable job in that respect.

The history of Finland during WW II is also interesting. During the Winter War (1939 - 1940) and the Continuation War, the Finns were simply fighting for their survival. Their Faustian bargain with Hitler was a part of that.


Roger 4 years ago

That being said, I like Swedes sense of restraint and openmindedness. As an American I know we are arrogant, enthocentric; we see things as black & white- too much sometimes. Swedes are the opposite: stand for something and be ready to back it up. That's why I like Finns: they have no problem telling you to your face if your a jerk.


Roger 4 years ago

I appreciate your efforts, but once being married to a Swede I have found them to be opportunistic, self serving, disloyal, amiguous and sheepish. As a country Sweden can be relied upon politically for nothing. In WWII you provide refuge for thousands of Jews, yet you help the Nazis by letting them use your railroads and ballbarings while provding intelligence to the allies. How do you justify that? I don't trust people who will run when the wind changes. Stand for something.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi catatonia and how interesting! Maybe there is a genetic component also! Thank you so much for telling your story and I hope you found this article useful for you. I guess there are many who can have some "Swedish behavior" since so many Swedes has emigrated to America! Your comment made me think about my dad's many cousins in America, but sadly I don't know their names and there is no one to ask either.

Best wishes

Tina


catatonia 4 years ago

It is funny, I am "half-Swedish" with my father being the first American generation not to speak Swedish, and almost everything you write applies to me. It used to drive my mother, of Scott's decent, crazy that I responded so differently to stimulation, social and emotional. I think there must be a genetic component to it.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi iamaudraleigh! No, I believe mehrkart is the name of the person who uploaded the video to Youtube. I am sorry to say that I don't know the name of the musicians but I really like the music too! It is one type of Swedish music even if it isn't so common these days, it is more what we call folk music but I think it goes so well with the photos. It is great to hear that your father liked it here and I hope you will get the opportunity to visit sometime!

Thanks iamaudraleigh, I appreciate your visit and the vote very much!

Tina


iamaudraleigh 4 years ago

Is Mehrkert the name of the musicians that play in the first video? I love the music!!!

My Dad went to Stockholm several years ago on business and enjoyed it vey much.

People are people. Your descriptions did not surprise me about the people who live there. However, I would be interested in going ther :)

Great hub...voted up!


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Made! I am so glad that you liked this hub Made, it feels special to hear it from someone who have lived in Sweden! Yes, we do the best we can with this beautiful language, and at least we get a lot of practice:))

Thank you for the votes and for reading, I hope you have a great day in Finland today!

Tina


Made profile image

Made 4 years ago from Finland

Wow Tina! How could I have not been reading this hub before?! I have lived seven years in Stockholm, and because of the fact that I'm Swedish speaking, I feel much more connected to Swedes than to Finns. I can agree that it's a big challenge to write in English. Voted up and much more! :)


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Jools! I have never been to England myself but the English people I have met has been very polite and I feel that we have some similarities. The English people I have met haven't been stiff people, but I have always heard that description about the typical English behavior. It is funny how some things almost becomes a worldwide truth even if it is impossible to categorize a whole nation in that way.

Thank you for your kind words about my English, it makes me very happy to hear since it is important to get it right. I must admit that it is a bit of a struggle but I also notice that it becomes easier with time and practice!

Thanks for the wonderful comment and for your support! I always appreciate your visits,

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Thomas! Oh, that is quite good, Wallenberg and ABBA are great ambassadors for Sweden! I think personal space is important for many people even though the required length can vary a bit between nations. I think you will be just fine in Sweden and socialize well with the Swedes! I think you are a very nice person, with many intriguing thoughts so it would be so interesting to hear what you think about Sweden and the Swedes if you come here. Thank you so much for reading and for the great comment!

Best wishes to you Tomas

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Busy Designer! Interesting, and I agree with you about the differences between nations. I am so glad that you found this article useful and I really hope you will like your stay in Sweden when you visit! And I also hope that you will like the Swedes! It sounds like you will fit in nicely! And please come back and tell me what you thought of Sweden if you do visit, or move here permanently. I believe that Sweden is a great country to live in, but of course I am partial:)

Thank you so much for the wonderful comment, it is very interesting to hear other opinions on this subject!

Tina


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Wow Tina, what an interesting hub. I have never been to Sweden nor have I met any Swedes but at least now, should I visit, I will know what is considered polite behaviour etc. I am English and I think we can be pigeonholed as having that English reserve, stiff upper lip etc but like people in all countries, not everyone is the same.

Your English is excellent by the way, I think it is tremendous that you write so well in a language not your own - not many of us are capable of that. Voted up, this is a very informative, interesting hub.


ThoughtSandwiches profile image

ThoughtSandwiches 4 years ago from Reno, Nevada

Christina...

Awesome article! I am embarrassed to say that prior to reading this, my notions of Sweden were confined to Raoul Wallenberg and ABBA. I'm not Swedish but I do ascribe to the notion of personal space issues (3 feet is good)!!

When I, one day, make it to Sweden...this article will be in my pocket so I do not inadvertently makes an ass out of myself. (I like to do that advertently when ever possible!

Take care!

Thomas


Busy Designer profile image

Busy Designer 4 years ago from Northern Ireland

Hello,Tina!Im so glad I found your Hub-it was fun and pleasure to read it.I travelled across Europe few yrs back and I have to say that one can clearly see the differences between the nations.I was born and brought up in Poland but I felt some kind of yearning and was "drawn" towards Ireland so-I moved here and my yearning has wanished.Now for some reason I yearn for Sweden-hence looking for some informations about your country.Reading your article was a bliss to me-I have a mentality of a Swede-how comforting was the fact that there are actually people who behave like me:)Irish are very talkative and love to party but I was always more reserved.I will do my best to visit beautiful Sweden some time soon.Thank you so much for taking time to write that dazzling piece!You triggered my hunger to learn moore about Sweden-thank you:)


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Lukas, You have a good point there and I don't consider Swedish people as cold and closed either. But I can understand why some might see us that way, and as you say it depends on what we compare with. We all have different preferences and we look upon others from our own reality.

It is very important to have these differences in mind when we meet people from other countries and we need to have an open mind.

It seems very difficult to get people from different parts of the world to accept and understand each other but hopefully it will get better with time. The globalization is steadily growing and it might help in the long run. I really hope that our children will be more openminded than my generation is. I constantly see and hear so many remarks about people from other countries and it saddens me.

It takes some time for all of us to figure out who we are and I can understand that it was even more difficult for you, being Sweede-Greek since there are some differences between the two.

How to categorize people from different countries is a difficult subject but I think it is very interesting too.

Thanks for your comment and for adding your experience to this hub! I appreciate it

Tina


Lukas 4 years ago

I do not agree that swedes are closed and cold people. It depends on how you look at it. Someone else might think that ppl living in Mediterranean are far too much open, maybe even annoying or insulting.

All I'm saying is that there are different points of view. We can all try to understand each other and not to insult, but try to live in this multicultural society. Fear and inability to understand and accept different people leads to racism and such.

I have experienced a lot of contradiction within me being swede-greek. I have tried to understand who I am by trying to see what other ppl think of me, but ppl are not ready or they are unable to judge so they only make things worse. The best thing for me was to adapt and move smartly within my boundaries...the ones I set.

There is so much fear out there that I am seriously concerned with what set of values our kids are gonna grow up. Of course, we will try to prepare them for the world our there, but it is only natural that one influences another...


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Farj, I do agree with you and it is a big generalizations of a Swede or the Swedish people. But some of this behavior is still there and it does influence how many of us behave even if we don't want it to. You have a good point there, when you say that it is a common pattern that we often think about what others may think about us. How I have struggled to get rid of that kind of thoughts and I still do. Even though I know that it doesn't matter and nobody than myself can know how I feel or why I behave the way I do.

When I read your comment I see that you went over all this in your thoughts at almost exactly the way that I did when I first read that article by Ake Dunn. At first I thought, no why are they saying that? The people in Sweden are really nice people! But when I went through it all, it started to make some sense and I could understand why people from other countries interpreted us this way. It really is a bit funny that we behave like this, more or less, without even thinking about it. But I still think we are really great and nice people and I like the typical Swedish behaviour in many ways. Thanks for this wonderful comment and for sharing your thoughts on this. I am glad you liked it!

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi EP, I am sorry to hear that you meet so many Swedes who behave like that! A characterisation of a typical Swede is indeed stereotypic and there are of course the whole spectra of different people in Sweden as rude, bossy, evil, kind and calm people. But since you have met so many in different places maybe the typical Swede is changing? I must say that I see the same behaviour in some younger people, and maybe it is because of this constant chase for time. Everything is supposed to go so fast and we have hardly time to look at each other these days. Our way of living has really changed over the 5 past decades and the typical Swede have probably changed too. Thank you, for sharing your view of the typical Swede.

Tina


Farj 4 years ago

Its interesting for sure, its big generalisations and its more of how swedes weer used to be seen. I still have someof that in me, i can interupt when people talk, but then i can feel extremly rude. We do joke alot almost to much, but then you have gained some kind of trust as we don't wak around like clows and joke with everyone all day long. We are seen as Liberal when it comes to sex, there is this video cartoon clip of sex in different countries, like in australia, the man has his nude girl as a beer table, sweden its an orgy. Not true. It started with a nude movie scene in the 50's? we were the first to show that and we were early with porn and even made humoristic porn, today we arent more liberal then anyone else, I had a greek gf and she was always like oh you talk about penis in the newspaper, so typical swedish, while they have sex adds and sex phone number on their regualr tv as commersial breaks and prostitution is legal. Jante law, i don't think we mind successful people, but i guess we don't like when people keep reminding us that they are so great all the time. True i don't think we do look at ppl still, i sure don't, unless you come up and talk to me stranger or not, then i look you straight in the eyes, its how i am brought up, but if your just somewhere near like in an elevator i don't stare at you, short glance is ok, but if you see it, i can feel abit embarrassed, mostly it feels like other people think i am checking you out, while i may not, but better to avoid looking.

Talking to strangers varies, on the airport i did for no reason at all, but here back home i don't, i don't see any reason for it unless it would brighten someones day, but they would probably think i am crazy more like it. You see the common theme, its often what others might think, we don't like to argue in public unlike the greeks for example, its more we will discuss this when we get home.

we are calm and relaxed, and laid back, but we do have the other side as well, but we don't yell unless we have good reason to, like why bother, it dosent make things better. Showing feelings i think we do, depends on what it is, but showing a dislike for someone is correct i think, again why bother, if i don't like the person then i avoid him/her, there is no reason to go up and say that and make that person feel bad, its enough that i dislike the person. but if i like someone or think someone is great, funny, good looking i can say that. i show if i am happy, mad, in love or whatever feeling i may have, but maybe in a more swedish way???

democracy and government..well today thats totally messed up, sweden were proud over having great rights for workers, those who had it the worst had it good and that it was like we all looked out for one another, today its not so, its more greedyness, step on those at the bottom to gain more yourself and yes i don't like this at all, but most swedes do tho as well its what sweden has voted for. much correct but drawn to the edge?? fun read :-)


EP 4 years ago

Interesting article. However, I must disagree with this statement: "We do not like to interrupt the one who speak and it is also true that we probably unconsciously seeks consensus in a conversation."

I have lived in Sweden for the past 6 years and I see people constantly interrupting without any regard for someone who is speaking. I maybe speaking to someone at work and along comes someone and just barges in as though I'm hardly there. And this happens everywhere, be it at work, in public places, social situation,etc.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi mikeydcarroll67, nice to meet you! I am glad to hear that the swedes you have met talks to you! There are all types of Swedes and you can probably meet many different Swedes, from silent to more talkative people. It gives a positive signal if someone is trying to learn the language and the people you meet will probably be lenient and more willing to speak to you. Most Swedes can understand and speak English, so that will work too:) Thanks for sharing your experience in this area, it is so interesting to get different views of this, I appreciate it!

Tina


mikeydcarroll67 4 years ago

My experience with Swedes primarily has been limited. Usually I state that I am learning some Swedish and they seem more likely to actually talk to me in return.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Thank you Larry Fields for the joke:)) Lol! Language is difficult and important and there can be misunderstandings in so many ways! I can really associate to this an I appreciate your comment very much,

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Samson, No I don't think I can! I know many associate Swedes with people with blond hair, and there are indeed people with blond hair here, but in my opinion there are many with ashblond and brown, darkbrown and red hair too. Apart from hair color I really don't know. I don't think that we look like the typical picture of the Vikings:) We come in many different shapes and sizes and I can not see anything typical that would differ us from others in Northern Europe. It is an interesting question though and I had to think about it for a while. Maybe someone not native from Sweden would be able to describe the typical Swede better than me! Thanks for coming back Samson,

Tina


Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 4 years ago from Northern California

Tina, I hope that you don't mind another joke.

As everyone knows, Sweden has been mostly neutral for nearly 200 years. However there was a Swedish aviator who volunteered to fly for the British. He shot down a sufficient number of German airplanes to qualify as an ace.

Many years later, he was interviewed on the radio in the US. He was asked about his 'closest call'.

Ace: I flew through a cloud over France. When I came out the other side, there was a Fokker in front of me, a Fokker to the right of me, and another Fokker to the left of me.

Interviewer: Ladies and gentlemen, a Fokker was a type of German airplane.

Ace: No, these fokkers were Messerschmidts!


Samson117 profile image

Samson117 4 years ago

i forgot to mention this in my previous comment, but i was also curious about the physical traits common among most swedes (if there are any). i don't suppose this is something that you would be able to help me with?


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Samson117, how interesting! Maybe your Swedish heritage shines through or maybe you have grown up with some Swedes who have influenced you a bit? Or maybe you are just yourself! This is a very stereotypic picture of a Swede and I guess there are Americans who are like this too. We need listeners among us, it is an important role and everyone can't take all the space and talk:) I am so glad you liked this and thanks for the interesting comment! I enjoyed to write this article and did a lot of thinking while I did!

Tina


Samson117 profile image

Samson117 4 years ago

this is an awesome article! I am part swedish although i was born in america. people think i'm very stuck up sometimes because i don't like initiating a conversation and i don't always like having conversations with strangers. even with my friends i usually like to listen to them talk


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

MJFenn! You have a good point there about the northern/southern Europe and as a Swede I feel I have more in common with people from northern Europe than the southern Europe. It all depends of what we compare with because there are also differences between a Norwegian and a Swede and a Danish and a Swede even though the differences are really small! Therefore I also think there are small differences between east and west Europe too, even though I haven't thought so much about it. Interesting topic and although we all are humans, it is useful to reflect over the differences sometime! I hope you enjoyed your stay here in Sweden. Thanks very much for your comment,

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Nell, I also see English people as polite and I feel very comfortable with those I have met. So, I think you are right about that this behavior can be regarded as a bit stiff and stuck up since I recognised it and it felt normal to me. That should mean that the English are much like us:)

I am also glad we don't have Euro here, it feels more safe to be able to control our own currency when it is needed. Our countries are not so far apart but I have never been to England either. My parents traveled there once and became totally in love with your country and the people there so I have heard many positive things about England. I think we have much in common when it comes to behavior and I still hope to visit England someday. Lets see who of us that travels first, and remember to tell me if you come here!

Thanks for your interesting comment Nell!

Tina


MJFenn profile image

MJFenn 4 years ago

Very interesting Hub. I have been to Sweden, as it happens. Maybe it's sometimes seen as a northern/southern European division of mentalities, but in a Hubpage I wrote about Gothenburg and local psychologies (how qualified I was to write, I don't know) I tried to suggest there was an east/west element also, that is often overlooked.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Tammy, Thank you for saying that! It still is a challenge to write in another language but I feel that it is getting easier with time and practice! And it is fun! But even so, I try hard to stay away from bigger spelling mistakes since I know it will totally ruin it for the readers. It was very difficult in the beginning and the first hubs took forever to write:)

I would never have meet all you lovely people if I hadn't tried. And now your comment warms my heart! Thanks Tammy,

Tina


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Fascinating! Living in England we are not that far away from you, so maybe thats why the English always have the reputation of being aloof, or stuck up in some ways, when we are really just polite and keep to ourselves like Swedish people do. I always wanted to travel to Sweden, Norway and Denmark, because I have always seen those countries as completely different from the rest of Europe. We English also didn't want to get involved with the Euro, and thank goodness for that, especially now its causing nothing but trouble. I was really interested to see just calm and nice the Swedish are, and that to me is so polite, I think I would love to live over there! It sounds like a fascinating country, nell


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

Fanatastic hub! I commend you for writing your wonderful hubs in a second language. That is admirable. This is a well written glimpse into the cutlture of Sweden. I love learning new things. Great job!


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Blaiche, I am not sure what you mean by "things like this" but I guess you mean the Swedes behavior in general? I can imagine that it takes a while to figure it all out and even longer to feel that you are a part of it, but that must be the same in many countries. Give it some more time and you have so much to win when you speak the language. And most of us are really nice people:))

Thanks for your comment and I appreciate if you come back and explain how you mean!

Tina


Blaiche 4 years ago

I learned this language and became pretty fluent with it tried to immerse myself in the culture as much as I could before I studied abroad there. Then I started talking to swedes mrore and seeing things like this and then i realiseed...I don't think I can survive this...whole thing


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Daisy, the Norwegian guy where right in that our Midsummer celebration is an ancient pagan tradition although we do not run around naked in the woods or hop over bonfires! :-)))

But Midsummer Eve is a special night which according to history was associated with both supernatural forces and magic.

You have probably seen more of our country than I have, I have not been further north than the city Umea! For some reason I am much more familiar with the south part of Sweden.

Daisy, I thank you so much for sharing your experiences from Sweden here, it is always interesting to know how people from other countries experience the things that are so familiar and natural to me. I hope you get the chance to come back here:)

Tina


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

Tina -

Here's another thing that made me laugh on Midsommardagen. They were interviewing a guy from Norway on television who was visiting Sweden. Apparently this guy associated the Midsommardagen celebrations with Sweden's ancient pagan past. The reporter asked him if he expected to take part in the celebrations. He said "I guess so, but I hope I won't be asked to run around in the woods naked and jump over bonfires."

I really enjoyed my time in Sweden. I had little idea about that country before I came there - I just imagined tall blonde people.

We took a cruise up Lake Malaren, visited some islands off the southeast coast, and visited Visby in Gotland during Medeltidsveckan. We also flew up to Kiruna to see the midnight sun, and then on a whim drove up to Treriksröset to stand at the triple point between Norway, Finland and Sweden. We felt we learned something about the country and its people, and felt sad when we had to return to the U.S.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Daisy, what a great definition of The Jante Law, and you can imagine what The Jante Law has done to the Swedish people during the years! Like i said, now days the Law has less importance then before, but it is still present and influence how peoples behave and think. I really should include your definition in the hub! It says it all and I am so glad you took the time to write it down here.

I think you did right by joining the dance around the maypole on midsommardagen! It is correct that the dance is for children but many grown ups use that as an excuse to hop around and dance the silly dances.

Most Swedes love it, and those who don't dance, enjoy the music and have fun watching the others. I have written a hub about the Midsommer celebration in Sweden since it is very traditional and an important day in Sweden. There are also videos with adults dancing "The little Frogs" so you can see that you are not the only one:))

Thanks Daisy, I loved this comment too!

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

kms360, Great, I look forward to it:) Thanks for returning and letting me know!

Tina


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

Tina - Here's a definition of Jantelagen that an American woman who lived in Sweden created to explain it to other Americans visiting Sweden:

You shall not think that you are special.

You shall not think that you are of the same standing as us.

You shall not think that you are smarter than us.

Don't fancy yourself as being better than us.

You shall not think that you know more than us.

You shall not think that you are more important than us.

You shall not think that you are good at anything.

You shall not laugh at us.

You shall not think that anyone cares about you.

You shall not think that you can teach us anything.

Here's another funny thing that happened to us in Sweden. We heard about midsommerdag on the television, and decided to join the celebration in Stockholm at Skansen. So at one place they had this large maypole, with people, adults and children dancing around it, so we joined in. Then we realized it was just for children, and a few adults were there just to help their little children. We were laughing at our mistake, and we had fun joining the celebrations.


kms360 4 years ago

I will definitely let you know about what Dayne thinks of your Hub. I hope he has an opportunity to read it soon. He's working for a short time in Scotland as we speak. I'm going to re-read your Hub myself. And I enjoyed the videos you added for affect. Kat


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi km360, sounds interesting, please tell me what he thought about the somewhat stereotypic description of a Swede! There are many Swedish students studying abroad for one or more years and I can imagine that it is a bit difficult to "melt in" when only staying there during a shorter period. Even though there are some minor differences between people from the Nordic European countries I think we have much in common too. It is no problem for a Swede to understand Norwegian, at least if they come from the southern parts of Norway, and Danish is pretty easy to understand.

I am glad you visited my hub and I appreciate your comment very much!

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Daisy Mariposa, Your comment is so accurate and describes Swedes in a perfect way:)) I can almost see you there, first in front center, all alone, while the Swedes hesitated and waited up against the wall. It is so funny to hear you describe it:)) Some of them might have been shy, but I don't think everyone was. I think the reason for their hesitation is the typical Swedish behavior that partly comes from The Law of Jante, that says that we should not think that we are better than others and we should not put ourselves first or show off in front of others. In a group of strangers we usually take some extra time to see how others do and make a move when we feel it is appropriate to do so. You didn't do anything wrong, someone has to be first but I am not surprised you was the first to move!

Thanks for this fantastic comment and for sharing your experience of Swedes:) You must have so many funny memories from your stay here!

Tina


km360 profile image

km360 4 years ago from Central Alabama

My new boyfriend is half Swedish. I'm sure we'll have something interesting to talk about after I ask him to read this interesting hub. Years ago in college, there were some students in my classes from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. they stayed mostly to themselves. It was sort of difficult to understand them but I thought they had to be bold to travel outside their countries to attend college. Good read.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

Tina -

Here is some more on the impression I got of Swedes when I lived there. They seem more shy, and less aggressive than Americans. Here's a small example. I usually take ballet classes in the U.S. Since I was working in a suburb of Stockholm for half a year, I decided to try to find a place which would give lessons to adult students. I found this studio, Balletskola, on Västmannagatan street.

In ballet classes in the U.S. (as elsewhere) the first part of the class is ballet practice while holding onto a bar which goes around the room. Then follows "center floor exercizes", where students line up in rows, and do their exercizes without the support of the bar. In the U.S., students run up immediately and try to get in the front row so that they have a better view of the teacher. So at this Swedish studio, I got up to the front center as fast as I could. Then I was surprised to notice that all the Swedish students were still up against the walls - I thought I had done something wrong! Then, the teacher (who was from Bulgaria) had to coax the Swedish students to come out on the floor - they were too shy!


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Thanks htodd! I appreciate your visit and the comment!

Best wishes

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hej Daisy, It is great to meet you! Yes we mostly say so, that we work with someone. We can work for a company but not for a person! And ”lagom” is a word that sum up both Swedes and Sweden! We are the country of lagom, everything we do is, and should be, lagom or just enough:)) I hope you enjoy your stay here in Sweden, you seem to have learned the most vital thing anyway! Thank you for reading and adding your experience of Sweden to this hub, it is so useful to hear others opinions!

Best wishes,

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Larry Fields, that is also my experience with people from some countries and it is good to be aware of the differences. It is very uncomfortable to have someone you don't know standing to close so it really can be interpreted as pushiness. Thanks for adding your thoughts on this and for reading!

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Sunshine, It is great to hear that you liked this one, and I know you will behave just right, no matter who you meet! You are so good at socialising and I am sure that you can get a smile from every Swede:)) Thanks Linda, you are a great friend,

Tina


htodd profile image

htodd 4 years ago from United States

Great insights ..I will take care of that ..Thanks


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

Hej, Tina!

Your Hub brought back many memories for me. Tack! My boyfriend and I spent six months working in Stockholm several years ago.

We learned that one doesn't work *for* someone -- one works *with* someone. We also learned the concept of lagom -- just enough. One should work hard, but not too hard; eat enough, but not too much, etc. If at a party and the snacks are in a common bowl, take enough for yourself, but not so much that others won't have their share.

I'm looking forward to reading more of your Hubs.


Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 4 years ago from Northern California

Tina, my social distance is probably about the same as yours. For people from some of the Latin American countries, social distance is considerably shorter, and I have had to make some adjustments, because of that fact.

Anyway, social distance may explain an English expression that means pushiness. Example:

He is very "in your face" when he expresses his political opinions.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Tina! What a fantastic hub! Very creative and if I'm ever in Sweden or meet someone from Sweden in the USA I'll be aware of their proper etiquette! Superb!! Voting up and pimping!:)


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Alastar! The Jante Law has really had an impact on the Scandinavian countries and parts of the Jante Law is good. It is great to hear that you found Scandinavians to be good people! The Jante Law has given us a view that people are equal and also given us a humble attitude. But for some reason it has also been used for holding people down. Many children have been brought up with the knowledge that they shouldn't think they are something special or think that they are good or better than others. To emphasize their own person or achievements have been regarded as a big sin. It is very deeply ingrained in us but it finally is about to decrease. I wish we can go on a middle way, that we can preserve our view of other people but also learn how to have better self-esteem and praise ourselves and our children a little more.

Yes, the taxes are high but I think we get value for our taxes also, it is a way of living, we provide for those unlucky people who have a hard time, are ill or unemployed. It is a savety net that I like. And the safety net is for everyone. But of course, I would want to have more of my earned money for myself now since I have a job.

I am glad you liked your time in Denmark Alastar as well as the Scandinavian people. But I know how it is, home is always number one, even though it can be tempting to emigrate!

Thank you for reading Alastar. Your comment is always very much appreciated by me and always interesting!

Tina


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

Tina as you know I spent some time in Scandinavia and the Jante law was in full effect. I've never gotten to know or been around a finer culture or people. As amatter of fact many friends wanted me to immigrate to Denmark and go to work for Rockwell Int. It was quite tempting, but in the end home called. The only thing I didn't much care for was the high tax rate and of all the friends asked if they could choose between the high rate and less social they choose the lower rate instead of the status quo. Anyway, beautiful people you are Tina, in every way.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Cagsil,nice meeting you too! It is really fun to write in another language, even though it takes a bit of time and I also need to check myself constantly, so I don't use the wrong words or bad grammar. But it gets easier with practice so I can really recommend it. It is also a great way to get to know people from other parts of the world which is so fun and gives me so much. I had never known you all here at HP otherwise and that had been a great loss!

I am glad you liked this and I appreciate your comment and up!!

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Carl, it is great to meet you! And I hope you feel familiar with some of the typical Swedish behavior too, even though it isn't the whole picture of every Swede! I am glad to know you enjoyed this and thanks for all the votes!

Tina


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Susan, I think every person has comfort zone up to where it feels comfortable. I have noticed that when I feel uncomfortable around some people, it mostly is because they want to stand to close to me. We become used to a distance between ourselves and the one we talk to and usually use that distance without we even know it. But some people have a shorter distance than I am used to in here in Sweden and it is well worth to think about. You didn't missed this hub, since you are here now:)) It is so good to see you Susan, whenever you visit! Thanks for your comment!

Tina


Cagsil profile image

Cagsil 4 years ago from USA or America

You managed to compile a comprehensive list here and did an excellent job at writing it as well. And, you're right I would recommend any individual to try to learn how to write in another language, at least one. Not that I have tried it, considering I have enough trouble dealing with the American English language with which I grew up learning. LOL! Thank you for such a wonderful article. :) Voted up! :)


CarltheCritic1291 profile image

CarltheCritic1291 4 years ago

Speaking as someone who is part Swedish, I really enjoyed this Hub :) Thanks for sharing. Voted Up and Everything Else :) Swedish culture is awesome!


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Tina, what a great hub! How did I ever miss this one?

There are quite a few similarities I found between Swede's and Canadians. I was taught as a child never to stare at strangers due to it being impolite. Not sure if comfort zone's is a cultural thing here but I know that I have a comfort zone and I'll back up if a stranger crosses that line :).

Before I take up too much space here I just wanted to say I so enjoyed reading this hub. Thank you for sharing what Swedish people are like.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi BkCreative, Oh, I think you definitely should do that! I am so glad this hub reminded you of your friend in Sweden. When you talk about an animal and fire in the square the one thing that come to my mind is the famous straw goat in the city Gavle. It is a long tradition to build a very big straw goat in the square in Gavle and for some reason there is an equal long traditon to set fire to the straw goat without becoming detected for the crime.

I am very grateful for our generous rules and it provides completely new opportunites for women to decide over their own lives. We do not need to stay in bad marriages with or without children and women can support themselves even if they are marriage. There are people who are struggling finacially or are worse off also in Sweden but the basic protection is present for all.

It sounds difficult to be a women in America and for me it also sounds a bit short sited and unfair. Children should be our number one priority and since we are normally two about it, it isn't fair that only women should carry all the responsibility.

I hope you find his address somewhere! My best wishes to you BkCreative and thanks for reading. Your vote means a lot to me!

Tina


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

In the early days of the internet when finding an epal was so easy - well I had one in Sweden and he was the absolutely best. We wrote like once a month and shared our culture and he sent so many photos especially around the Christmas holiday - I forgot the animal and then fire he showed me in the square. We both changed emails addresses a few times and in my innocence I never thought about computers crashing and eventually we lost touch. But we wrote for years. There were so many great things I loved about the culture and what I learned about gender equality - few people in the world realize that American women must take a vow of abject poverty when she becomes pregnant. This country does not believe in paying maternity benefits - there is no paid time off after birth for any length of time, nor is there such a thing as a paid child benefit, guaranteed health care, nor a village to help raise a child.

There was so much more I liked about the fairness and equity of Sweden even before I started writing my pal and he just confirmed it - but it was no big deal to him. It was just a way of life.

Hmmm, I think I will go back through my old 10 year journal I started writing in in 1996 - maybe his address is in there somewhere. Last I heard his son was part of a great music group and rumor was that they were as good as ABBA.

Thanks for a lovely hub. Rated up of course.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Enlydia Listener, it is nice to meet you! Great thought and I agree with you. We pass on much of our culture and values to our children for good and bad even if we don't intend to do it. There are changes and the culture change with small steps over time but the mood and the way to behave looked upon like a group seems to stay on. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, I appreciate your visit!

Tina


Enlydia Listener profile image

Enlydia Listener 5 years ago from trailer in the country

I know this is off topic a little, but I was thinking about our family when we were growing up. I remember hearing my dad tell my mom not to pick the baby up when it cried (every time spoil the baby. I think parenting culture has to do with the culture of the country. (or family)


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

nsauer01, I hope you get a great vacation in Stockholm and that you will enjoy Sweden and meet some friendly Swedes as well. But remember that all this don't apply when a Swede drinks too much alcohol:) But then again, that must be the case with all humans I guess!

Thanks for you visit here!

Tina


nsauer01 profile image

nsauer01 5 years ago from Near Surf City, CA

Thanks for the tips, I'll be traveling to Stockholm this fall and I'm glad to hear the Swedes dislike confrontation and eye contact as much as I do!


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Larry fields and no worries, I found the joke to be very funny! But I hope it isn't that bad though. In fact we do look at each other and others but we do it in a way that it doesn't show!

Thanks for your visit and the joke!

Tina


Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 5 years ago from Northern California

Hi Tina,

You wrote:

"Don’t look direct at another person in an elevator or on the subway."

It's my understanding that the cultures of the Scandinavian region have much in common, but with a few small differences too. Your observation about looking directing at people reminded me of a joke from your part of the world. I hope that it's not in poor taste to mention it here.

Q: How do you recognize a Finnish extrovert?

A: He looks at your shoes, rather than his own!


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Jack! I know that such tales exists about Swedish girls but I think it is a bit unfair! And I don't know about the tons of sex:) Swedish girls are just like other people and they don't like sex more than others. One difference can be that it is seen as normal to have sex before marriage for both girls and boys! But even here some old opinions still exists and girls who have sex with many partners can be regarded as bad while boys more are seen like real men. That is the ultimate injustice in my opinion! Once Swedish girls are in love with someone I think they are very loyal and true to their partner. But since girls and women can take care of themselves they will not stay in a bad relationship or stay on even if love for some reason has ended. Maybe this rumor come from our way of living, like pretty much equal, independent human beings.

I stand behind women's right to have sex if they want it and with whom they want. Everything else is just silly!

Thanks for coming by!

Tina


Jack 5 years ago

Can you give me your opinion regarding sex & loyalty/fidelity in swedish girls... it is well known that swedes tend to have tons of sex just for fun, does this changes once they are in a relationship?

Tack!! Tack!!


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Larry fields, I must admit that I have never been near nor eaten surströmming! It is more common in north Sweden where it is consider delicious. But even those who like to eat it say that it smell horrible, so they must eat it outdoors which means that they eat it mostly during summer! And I suspect it will be easier with vodka:)

Tina


Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 5 years ago from Northern California

Thanks, Tina. I have another stooopid question. What do you think of surströming? (Spelling?) I've never tried it, or been motivated to try it. Maybe it would be OK on a cold Winter night, with a large quantity of vodka. :-)


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Larry Fields! Oh, I do not mind at all, and I will be glad to tell you! Yes it is right that we watch Donald Duck cartoons, but not on New Years Eve but on Christmas Eve! It is a tradition since 1959 when Swedish television for the first time showed a variation of the Walt Disney’s Christmas Show. Back then, this cartoon where the only cartoon we could see apart from going to cinema so it was a big occasion! Donald Duck became a important part of the celebration on Christmas Eve and even Christmas dinner was adjusted to Donald Duck so that the eating occurred before or after this show. Nowadays I guess it is mostly adults that can feel the need to see this programme for traditional reasons. It was an occasion when the whole family join in watching this show. But that have changed now. It has even gone so far that the kids do something else, and the adults are watching the cartoon! The children have way better cartoons to watch every hour of the day so they do not understand why they must sit and watch this silly cartoon over and over again. So, with time I think this tradition will fade away, when all who knows why are gone. Traditions are only alive as long as many feel the need to hold on to them, and this tradition is just sentimental and doesn’t really fit in today!

But for me, Donald Duck is an important part of Christmas Celebration even if I do not watch the programme every year. I turn on the TV and listen to the special lyrics that gives me a special Christmas feeling. Tina


Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 5 years ago from Northern California

Thougtforce, I hope that you don't mind my asking a stupid question. My other Swedish online acquaintance mentioned something interesting about New Years Eve. If I've understood correctly, it's now 'traditional' for Swedes to watch Donald Duck cartoons on that night. How did that come about? Thanks.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi, Larry Fields, I am happy to meet you here! Yes you would probably fit right into the Swedish society and personally I think it is a positive thing too! I have also met some Japanese citizens and as you say they are so polite and also a bit reserved. I found this typical behaviour depending on the country one live to be very interesting and well worth knowing about.

Even though Swedes do have a somewhat liberal attitude towards sex I feel that it is more talking and not so much doing! Especially young boys talk like they never do anything else and also do it with everyone but the funny thing is that the girls do not do it all the time or with everyone! Quite the opposite really, young girls are more careful since they get a bad reputation pretty quick! So therefore I wonder how much truth there is in such statements.

The once who do have sex in a more tolerant way is maybe adult singles until they meet there partner! But to be honest I am not sure about that either:) I am sad to say that I do not know about "the Santa Clause variation" but I can guess!

Thanks for your interesting comment and for adding value to this hub! My best regards. Tina


Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 5 years ago from Northern California

Hi thougtforce. Great hub! By American standards, I'm usually a bit reserved. And here, that's considered to be a negative quality.

For part of my time in graduate school, I shared a house with some Japanese students. I was pleasantly surprised to find that by their cultural standards, that is considered to be a good thing. In that respect, I'd probably be comfortable in Swedish society too.

Over the last several years, I've learned what I can about the countries of the Scandinavian region. Some of the humor has been particularly insightful.

An online Swedish acquaintance was demonstrating his broad range of tolerance for sexuality between consenting adults. And he mentioned the Santa Clause variation, in passing. I must be too provincial; that would never have occurred to me!

Regards, Larry


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi PegCole! Yes I guess a Swede will bring some of these characteristics with them when living abroad and it is interesting to hear about your experiences with Swedes.

The tax base is quite big, where I live we pay 34% in taxes so it does add up with the benefits. Many people think it is too much but there is a big safety net for all with small or no income! And the health care is free for all citizens. It is a way we are used too and personally I like the system and it works pretty well. Thanks for your interesting comment and for the "wonderful"! Tina


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

This was wonderfully written and explains a lot about the people I worked with for many years at a telecom here. Although most of the Swedes were Americanized I recognized many characteristics of those who first transferred to our US location from Sweden. As time passed they seemed to blend in to the crowd. Loved hearing the accents up and down the hall. I was always impressed by the college educational opportunities in Sweden - thinking this is a great way to encourage development and new talent for anyone who pursues it. Having learned of the time off for motherhood (and fatherhood) it was amazing but then so is the tax base.

Very enjoyable hub.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

LeeAnn, Now you did surprise me, I thought you where just an American girl but you have many hidden talents! I think you are doing just fine!! But maybe you need to learn a few more words before you practise this in Sweden! Haha!

I wonder though, how you picked these Swedish words, when seeing them together I cant help but wonder what you have been up to when you learned those words, or on the other hand I can:)This was a great and funny comment!


Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

Okay Girlfriend you ready?

Hej. Vad heter du? Jag heter, LeeAnn nickname LeeLee. Idag eventuett ja sakta men sakert I uppfattning Swedish.

NOW a few little one liners... SHHHHH.. I hope you have a sense of humor! Gubbe, skitstovel, aj!, hjalp, jobbar du naken? imorgon, javia idioter

Adjo or Hejda.

HAHAHA!!!!!!! How did I do??????


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi David, I am happy you found the Swedes warm and friendly. That is of course my opinion also. But I can understand why people from other countries who don’t know us might see it different and why they see Swedes as these stereotypes. I also like the kindness and thoughtfulness of the Swedish people and I am use to that behavior. I like the quote by Abraham Lincoln very much, it is so tru:)

You don’t strike me as a smug and stuck up person but some people can’t stand people who don’t ramble on all the time, maybe they are afraid of silence.

From one quiet person to another, there are as you say two sides of the coin. Thank you very much for your kind and insightful comment, since you have been living here it is very interesting and I appreciate your views!

Bye for now ~ Tina!


David99999 5 years ago

I wanted to add something. I have - from time to time - been accused of being smug, "stuck-up," or, "too quiet." However, the individuals who have made these charges have had insecurity issues. If I may say so, the Swedes have a lot to be proud of.

As for your English...It is **perfect**!:)


David99999 5 years ago

This was very interesting. I recognized many of the stereotypes that you mentioned. I suspect that a number of them have come from Americans who are envious of the Swedes. As an American who lived in Sweden and immersed himself in their culture, I would have to disagree with these "impressions."

First of all, I found the people of Sweden to be very warm and friendly. Many of those whom I met during my first year in their **beautiful** county remain in close contact with me, yet today. I appreciate their thoughtfulness and kindness. The fact that they are viewed as "quiet," is, a projection of the habit of some individuals less-familiar with Swedes, to ramble on, while not actually stating much of value.

Quoting Abraham Lincoln... "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove

all doubt."

Having debated my fellow Americans...trust me...there many in my country-of-birth who would benefit immeasurably by pondering Lincoln's words, and, following the example of Swedes. As for smugness...if one is loud, rude, and derogatory - as many tourists in Sweden, from various countries have demonstrated to this American - the natives of the country they are visiting probably won't warm up to them.

This very well written.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hello Tina V. nice too meet you here! I like that video to, because it is great humor, ironic but yet true! You are so right, there are many people just talking and never mind if the reciever is interested or not! It is a skill to be able to really listen to others! I hope you will find this hub useful if you visit Sweden! Thanks for your kind comment!I appreciate it!


TINA V profile image

TINA V 5 years ago

This is an interesting write-up about your country and people. I enjoy your last video on learning how to be a Swedish. I think all countries have our own history, culture, practices, and habits. I agree with your proverb, “Talking is silver, Silence is gold” because nowadays many people love to talk but fail to listen. Listening is an important aspect in communication. This article help us better understand Swedes. I’ll bookmark this hub.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hello Izettl! I am delighted that you are back!

We have the same type of competition between families, neighbors etc, but in a more silent way! Every parent wants the best for their children and we expect them to be good and do the best they can. But to constantly tell your child that you are proud of him/her when they have done something good isn’t usual in Sweden! In fact, I have never heard it from anyone! Maybe it is the Jante Law again, that way to praise your child is too much, because it is sort of ugly too be too good! You are not supposed to be better than others, and if you are better, you don’t brag about it! But of course we praise our children when they do something good, it is just that we do not use that word, at least not around where I live. It can be different in other parts of Sweden. I live on the Swedish west coast and here it has always been important not to be different or be better than others. The awkward thing is that everybody wants to be best or better than others, but in a way as if we didn’t notice it our selves. If you are successful you are considered to be a good person if you act like you are not successful! If you are successful but yet humble and don’t show off you are a very good person! That can be tricky, and that has to be learned in early years! So, we praise our children when they are good or behave good, but more quite and with other words.

Both parents have 240 days with 90% compensation each to stay home with their children. Each parent can give away their part to the other parent, except for 60 days. Since almost all women are working it has been normal and accepted that having kids interfere with work. And it is more and more usual that dads stay home half the allowed time. Where I work it is almost expected of the men that they should stay home and take care of their children half the time or so. And since they are used to take care of their children it is no big deal to continue to do so, if the child becomes ill it is as usual that the dad is home. After the parental leave you can stay home and take care of your children with 80% compensation when they are sick until the year the child turn twelve!

But it is a struggle anyway, to be successful at work and at the same time have a family. Children do interfere at work and I know that there are employers that think twice before they employ young people or one that is expected a baby. But if they let that criteria decide who is going to get the job they can be sued so they have to do it without it become obvious!

Thank you so much for your comment and for adding to this hub with your thoughts and facts!

These little differences between people are so interesting, and mostly we are not even aware of them. But there are differences! And they do matter, when we meet people from another country. If we know about them we can be more open minded and except our differences!

Take care Izettl, and I agree with you, this is an interesting topic!


izettl profile image

izettl 5 years ago from The Great Northwest

That seems bizarre to me that Swedish parents don't say they're proud of their kids very often or at all. We here it so much in the U.S. "Make me proud son" or "you've made me proud daughter". I think it's why so many parents here try to live their unaccomplished dreams (vicariously) through their children. Parents see themselves through their children- if their child succeeds, thn they've (the parent) succeeded. This does cause a lot of competition in families and especially with siblings. But on my dad's side of the fmaily, they compare the cousins (their kids) to each other. Who had better education, more kids, better house, etc. It's so silly. The standards are high on that side of the family so I've always felt a little below. The pride thing is very much important in the U.S.

When studying the Swedish for a "Work and Family" course I took in college, it was interesting to find out that they have more time off and better policies for mothers there.It seems more geared to help out families and make life easier for them. Whereas, a constant struggle in U.S is for moms to appear at work and not let anything to do with their kids interfere. Moms who take time off to be with sick kids are frowned upon. The weight lies heavily on moms and not much on dads.

Talking about sex- sexy images are portrayed everywhere in the U.S but you won't find people talking about it in public.

Well ,that was a long comment- sorry, but I've been thinking of this topic. Great topic!


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hej Greg, your comment was very fun and interesting to read this morning. You have made the start of my day much brighter! I agree with you about the second video, I think it is very funny, it is so on the spot with great irony! Korv- sausage- is so typical for Sweden, we eat it in all possible way and shapes!

How interesting to know that Americans share much of the unwritten laws with the Swedes! Then maybe I would fit right in to the American lifestyle without make those serious mistakes:)

And the German people, I haven’t been much in Germany but we have quite many German tourists here during summer, and I can validate the things you describe. It is so unnecessary to do mistakes without knowing that your actions make the other person uncomfortable!

Thanks for your kind word about my writing:) I am so happy I start to write on HP, other wise I would never have had the opportunity to meet all you people over there! And I have no problem with your writing either, you have a wonderful way to describe your days with Elliot! Take care now Greg, my dear friend!


gg.zaino profile image

gg.zaino 5 years ago from L'America

God eftermiddag Tina, var detta skrivs mycket bra! :0

i enjoyed this very much and watched the videos. All very well done! The second video had me laughing out loud. Ha!

My impression of Swedes started at home with family members- Backstroms and Swansons. Backstroms were people of correctness- Swansons liked beer and laughing. I love Korv- my mother (Lucille Swanson) made it at home, as well as pickled herring.

My next impression of Swedes came from the people at Volvo who bent over backwards for us. The designer himself came from the building to see that all was correct with our new auto.

Funny about Sweden and the US- we also do not look others in the eye on first contact and rarely do afterward as well-

likewise we maintain about an arms length for "Personal Space" from others. We also share the seat phobia on buses and trains- HA! :)

Living in Germany for me was difficult knowing all that. Germans are always up close, right in your face -

sit down to dine with you at restaurants-

stare at you on the streets- and bore into your eyes with theirs without knowing you personally-

sit next to you on a bus with ten seats open nearby.

I can truly appreciate the Swedish lifestyle and traditions. I love seafood and share the blood, that helps.

Thank you so much Tina- oh.... and by the way, i have thought this many times before. Your writing is better than most Americans, that is the truth. I have much admiration for you and this challenge you have taken on. you do extremely well.

I do hopr that my writing doesn't confuse you....

Peace and Hugs Sister Tina :]_~~


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Izettl, to read articles from people from another country is so great! I find myself sometimes stunned and surprised when reading hubs or more often when I read comments in the forum, but then I think again and I try to see it from their point of view. We have different prerequisites, different religion, political veiws, social inheritage etc.

Interesting what you say of the Americans, that is pretty much the picture I have too! But I didn´t know about the competition within the families, that sounds a bit difficult and I can imagine that it complicates family relations! My picture of the American families is that it is important to do well and make your parents proud of you! But maybe I have seen to many American movies where the word "proud" is used in all possible situations:) That word feels a bit grandiloquent for me as a Swede, I have never heard a Swede tell his son or daughter that he/she is proud of their children! We simply say; well done, or how good you are or something like that. That is a small but yet big difference I think. So, maybe Americans need a bit of Jante Law and the Swedes needs less:) I am so glad you came by and thank you for your interesting comment!


izettl profile image

izettl 5 years ago from The Great Northwest

I admire the people on hubpages from other countries that come here and write. I probably learn the most from those in other countries on here.

On the Jante law~ sometimes I think it would be better if Americans thought more collectively, but also individuality is so important to thrive in the U.S. I think a little bit in between would be better. Americans stray so much from their family and sometimes the competition to outdo others, espceially within family, puts a strain on relationships.

Great hub by the way- really gets me thinking.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hello Tonymac, I agree whith you on this of course:) We are warm, generous, open and also funny people! That is how I se us too, and therefore it was so interesting to read that our new Swedes didn´t see this at all! I am so happy that you enjoyed your visit here and that you liked the Swedish people you met, and thanks for your great comment here!


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 5 years ago from South Africa

I really enjoyed this Hub. I have in the last ten years or so had quite a lot of contact with Swedish people and came to love them very much. I also spent two weeks in Sweden some years ago, in Orebro, Stockholm and Uppsala. I was lucky enough to experience First of May in Uppsala - so much fun!

The Swedish people I met were warm, open and generous. I loved my time there and would go back if I had the opportunity.

Thanks for sharing this interesting Hub.

Love and peace

Tony


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Silver Fish, Even if we all are humans there is some small differences between us. We grow up to be pretty much like our parents, even if we strive not to be, at least when we are teenagers. So, therefore it takes time to adapt to this new global world, and those special sterotypes remain in each country! Scotland have a interesting history and I can imagine that you have some stereotypes there too. Thanks for coming by and for your much appreciated feedback!


Silver Fish profile image

Silver Fish 5 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

I love this hub. I live in Scotland, and like Swedish people we are subject to many stereotypes, not all of them positive!

In Scotland we have national folk poet called Robert Burns born in the 18th Century, a poet and a philosopher, and he quoted " to see ourselves as others see us!"

You have a wonderful ability to be so objective about your own culture.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

AliciaC, I am glad you came to my corner and that you enjoyed reading this! It was a hub that had to be written, but one never know if anyone will find it interesting since Sweden is a small country! But I would like to read some unwritten laws of other contries too! And if you ever visit Sweden you will know how to behave:) I am so glad you came by and your visits and comments are always appreciated! Thanks!


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Martie, my dear friend, your comment is wonderful and I take your kind words to my heart! How interesting to hear about the people from South Africa, and I must admit that I somehow have felt that you were not a typical South-African! It is complicated and I guess it will take some time to unite a nation with such a troublesome history! But the typical qualities of the white South-Africans seems to be very warm and shows great qualities, and that is exactly the picture I have of you! It is funny (or not funny at all) with how the other world look upon a country. If one just get some glimses from the news or hear some bad information about a country, that may be the picture we carry with us! But most of us know that it is not so easy and that it isn´t the true picture. No people in a country is that simple to figure out!

I will love to read a hub about the South-African people. What a great idea! I know it will be so interesting!

I think you would fit in very nicely in Sweden, we slowly adapt to our many new citizens from other countries! Give us some time and the Swedes will be crying in public and dancing in the streets:))

As always, thanks for a great comment, I always smile when I see your picture! Take care and bye for now!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thank you for a very interesting hub. It was fascinating to learn about Sweden and the Swedish mentality. I would love to visit your country. Hopefully one day I will be able to.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

Wow, what a lovely, informative hub! I enjoyed every word. You, my friend, don’t lack – thank heavens – the ability to show your feelings and warm heart to us. Now that I know this is not a spontaneous Swedish characteristic, I feel more honored and proud to be regarded by you as a friend.

In my view – and English is also my second language – your English is perfect. I love your style of writing. If your sentences are odd structured – like many of mine are too – I may not even notice it. Your topics are interesting and brilliant; your thoughts are deep and wide and high – it is a pleasure to know you through your writings.

I think you will appreciate some relevant information about South-Africans. In particular white S-Aricans, who differs radically from the blacks (who have their own, unique, respectable and less respectable mentality).

Personally I don’t really have a ‘typical’ South-African mentality, neither has my fellow-countryman, Tonymac. We are ‘outsiders’ watching the crowds and realizing that it will take another few decades for them to ‘grow up’. Of course here are many like us, publishing and advocating their perceptions and interpretations of reality all over the show. The problem is that the core of the crowds – the heart of the nation – don’t read or listen to any others except to those who are like them.

Some typical qualities of white South-Africans – and here Tony and I are included – Generosity, friendliness, hospitality, too willing to forgive, courageous, stubborn but able to tolerate wrongs instead of becoming violent, unbeatable, we always make a plan to solve a problem or to reach a goal, we are tenaciously unwilling to yield to what we believe is wrong, most of the times we just do what we believe is right, never mind if our neighbors agree with us or not, a tendency to form snobbish groups/unions/cliques, but during crisis situations we unite and support each other. We, except for some odd ones, are very fond of our families, always in close contact with our parents and siblings.

And how does the world see us? As racists, cruel, selfish, arrogant...

I’ve bookmarked this very interesting hub. I can really use it to write a hub with the title ‘The difference between white South-Africans and the Swedish’, and another one – the difference between black South-Africans and the Swedish.

Personally I will be able to live in the Kingdom of Sweden in spite of the fact that I may be regarded as too friendly, spontaneous and precocious until I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut and my face straight in public. Lol!

Thanks again for a lovely, enjoyable hub, thoughtforce! See you again soon :)


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Rob Hanlon! Good question, but not so easy to answer! But no, I don´t think so! What I do know is that the Northern countries in Europe are quite alike, but there are also differences between them.

As a Swede I think that we have good quality of life and we live a relatively safe life. For example; Everyone have the same possibility to get health care, and there is a safety net if we get unemployed or if we cant work due to illness. Everyone who wants and can, can study at the University or College, without paying any charges them selves. And we have a solid democracy and free speech. Even so, there are many people complaining here too! Either they complain about the taxes, or that they dont get enough money when they recieve different types of grants from the government. I guess we take it for granted. But that is how we humans are, never satisfied:)Thanks for coming by and for your comment!I am glad you liked this Hub!


Rob Hanlon profile image

Rob Hanlon 5 years ago from Epicentre of everywhere

Would you say that Sweden enjoys a better quality of life than most other European countries, thougtforce ?

Very thought provoking Hub, well done.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

LillyGrillzit, yes, there is something Sweden have in common with those places you mention! And if I ever come to those parts of America I will certainly try crayfish there:-) Thanks for coming back with this PS. Athough there are differences we are quite alike anyway!


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

PS. We have crayfish in the Southern portion of North America. Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas have offerings. The Gulf Coast used to be the best place to get them...


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Erin LeFey, I am so glad to meet you! I would want to have this kind of information too when travel to another country, otherwise it is impossible to understand and get at picture of the people living there. I understand about the U.S, it is a waste country. It would be very many hubs on that subject:) But it would be very useful!I am so glad you came by, and thanks for your kind comment!


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

LillyGrillzit, I am happy to see you again! You are so right, it is the simple things that is important in meetings. There are so much body language and other things going on besides talking when people meet, and if we don´t know or understand each other it can lead to misunderstandings! Thanks for your great comment It is always a pleasure to see you in my corner!


Erin LeFey profile image

Erin LeFey 5 years ago from Maryland

Thanks for the insight on being a Swede and what to expect in Sweden. I do think that this is good information for people to know when they travel to other countries in order to really enjoy the culture. I would love to do a piece on the U.S. unfortunately people are different depending on which part of the country you are visiting. It would be a very long piece! Thanks again and I look forward to more of your hubs! Namaste'


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

thoughtforce, thank you for presenting this beautiful insight into the Swedish way. Forming relationships and unity depend on simple understandings, this is nice. Thanks again.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Justsilvie, I am happy to hear that! Intresting also to hear that you can see some of it in Austria too! Maybe it is part of living in another country, it takes some time to know people and understand how they think! Thanks for coming by, and for your comment!


Justsilvie 5 years ago

Interesting Hub. I see some of the same traits in Austrian's. But I have never met a Swede I did not like.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article