One Weird Thing About Swedish Culture

Publicerades den 3 maj 2021
Here's one interesting thing about Swedish culture that I find a bit weird and one potential cause which I had never considered before.
Instagram: stefanthyron

Kommentarer

  • Great observation. Very interesting. I really think we should learn from the "US concept" and try to have more interchange with more people in School since I am sure this is very healthy and will develop better social skills to bond and get a long with new and different people and to make new friends. At the same time I think that it is much more important for Swedish people to have really close and deep friend-ships than to have lots of friends,.I am very busy and fit in that category.

  • I think a lot of swedes feel socially awkward, because as you said we stay with the same group of people all the time. Like just talking with a stranger is so foreign to me, and personally when living abroad it was very easy for me to become close and have meaningful relationship with those I lived with, but actually talking to people outside my home and getting new friends.... Felt impossible

  • Det kan nog finnas en hel del sanning i det. Men jag tycker att det är en bra sak. Att ha riktig anknytning till ett fåtal människor som man faktiskt kan lita på och som man ställer upp för när det behövs snarare än en massa kontakter man hänger med, men som man inte kan förvänta sig väldigt mycket av. Jag tror också att det faktum att nästan alla barn börjar förskola mellan ett och två års ålder innebär att de vänner man har i förskola och skola blir nästan viktigare för många än den egna familjen. Att vara vänner i Sverige innebär ofta nästan samma lojalitet som man har till syskon. Det där med att familjen är ganska obetydande i Sverige tycker jag däremot är riktigt tråkigt. Men det är väl det som är baksidan av det individualistiska samhälle vi lever i där alla ska vara så självständiga som möjligt.

  • My cousin was in the same classroom from 1-9 class and in high school they started dating and got married and have 4 kids and are now 45 years 🥰😃

  • Jag hatar att prata med nya människor och jag tänker hålla mig kvar vid mina vänner jag har. En har jag vart vän med i 10 år nu, en jag på något sätt träffade nyligen som har vart 2 månader nu och en i 7 år. Förresten så är jag 15 år.

  • I min klass blandas vi ihop varje år, och jag avskyr det. Jag kanske äntligen lyckades skaffa en vän i en klass, men sedan nästa år börjar de i en ny klass. Jag hatar att prata med människor och på rasterna letar jag alltid efter mina vänner som jag har. Jag vill inte flyytas runt hela tiden asså jag verkligen hatar det.

  • i like the Amerikan way more

  • no Swede would ever call a Stockholmer a countryman

  • Den svenska livscykeln. När ursprungligen vågadar ut på en utflykt och skyddade sig i en isbjörns tarmar från en överhängande arktisk frost. De framträder som en svensk och går omedelbart till närmaste isolerade bombskydd och isolerar sig resten av deras existens. Det finns inga vänner i denne situationen.

  • I lived in Sweden for over 12 years now. I went to high school and university here. And I managed to find close friends during those years. I would like to clarify that things do change up a bit like when you start a senior high school or a university and people get new friends or change them. It's not like everything in Sweden is set in stone from elementary school xD. But it is true that people here value a smaller group of friends, and I'm happy they do. I do totally understand Lin because to have a friend is very rewording but it also requires a lot of energy and work from you to keep the friendship blossoming. If I'm totally honest I really don't think I can keep more then 10 meaningful friendships at the same time especially if the friends are on the other side of Sweden. ^^'

  • Very accurate. As a Swede, if you get left out of your friend group, or if you change city as an adult, it’s very VERY hard to make new Swedish friends! If you ask a Swede, many of us even don’t know how to get new friends as adults when the school don’t provide you with new people. Crazy.

    • I agree that many Swedes prefer to have a few close friends to many acquaintances, but not with the rest. I don't hang out with anyone of my old classmates, only a few from my university. And many of my friends I got to know around the age of 25. Also, looking at my parents and friends' parents and such, many of them have gotten friends as adults through hobbies (like choir singing and such) and becoming friends with their childrens' friends' parents etc.

  • I was a volunteer at the Ski World Cup about 10 years ago. When I was eating my free dinner at the hotel where the skiers stayed, this American skier just sits down at my table and starts chatting. This was my first encounter with an American and I find it really fascinating how you guys find it so easy to talk to complete strangers! It is like the polar opposite to the cultures (Sweden/Japan) that I'm used to!

  • Many Swedes are like this, but not all of us. I have very few friends from my school years, only one actually. I never liked being around a very limited group of people year after year in school. I had not much in common with most of them. All of my friends (except that one I’ve known since I was 10 yo) now are people I got to know at university, at work or through common interests.

  • This all rings very true. Makes it harder for people like me who (for whatever reason) never got to form those close relationships early on. When you're in your 20s and friendless, it's hard to reintegrate.

  • grade 1-6 hung out with local kids, non in my actual class really (convenience). 7-9 made some new friends in the "punk/alt/skaters" crowd at the new school that pooled kids from a larger area non of them really in my class.(commonality) "10"-"13" trade school, never really hung out with any class mates but moved out to the country side where i made some of my first proper close friends that didn't even go to the same school as me, at this time i had several socials pools to pick from in terms of making actual friends so could pick outside of geographical limitations or surface level commonality.

  • I agree it's hard to become friends with people who already have a group of friends! And I definitely think the school system affects this (I actually thought a lot about this when I was an exchange student in the US). But personally, I think it has more positive effects (closer friendships) than negative. As someone else said in the comments, to truly be someone's friend in Sweden means a lot.

  • People from Stockholm is not common Swedes! You livlig in the wrong town. Go down to Gothenburg and you canl tell the differens in 10 minutes.

  • Linn is totally right and I’d say we’re better off the way we are in Sweden 😊 Sure, we might have fewer friends but we’re also tighter with the ones we have. To me it seems like you Americans have a lot of friends, basically everyone you meet is a friend and you love everyone and everything (at least that’s what you say, you throw around the “I love you” way too easily). But when it really matters, when something really happens, how many of those shallow friends are really there for you in the end? So I’m with Linn on this one. Better to have fewer friends with deeper relationships than many friends with shallow relationships. And no matter how you spin it, the math is simply. You become deeper connected with people you spend a lot of time with. More people to spend your time with = less time for each individual friend 😊

  • I would rather have 2 good friends than calling everyone your friend. But you find out who they are when you really need them. If you have 100 friends, chances are than nobody bothers to help you, because everyone will think that your best friends should help. Try asking all your friends to come help you move, and then get rid of everyone not showing up. There will be many.

  • I think you are right! The scoolsystem are designed as a base of society to form people in one certain way for the particular experimental culture (not really a natural culture). Up here the plan is to have us closed of and separated... etc.. While when we travel abroad to warmer culture I believe we come in more contact with our natural selves with a little distans to our societal conditioning. :)

  • Thats not only Sweden but the whole Europe

  • Americans are more extroverted and maybe have many friends but they can't all be deep connections surely? More is less vs less is more

  • Spot on, Stefan! I believe you're completely right regarding the swedish school system being the reason to why swedes are way more limiting our bunch of buddies. Make sense. Thanks for reminding us, old swedes. Many of us have never thought of this.

  • Not alll swedes are the same, maybe it's like this, the people that are more open travel more outside sweden.

  • I'm one of those swedes who switched city's when I was in school and moved to sthlm 7 years ago. I don't have these longterm friendships and my social life are co-workers. I have been somewhat longing for that kind of friendship but accepted being alone most of the time.

  • The schoolsystem does have a part in this. But it's different over time and in diff parts of Sweden. Probably our very rapid urbanisation also plays a part here. We are still bound to our "villages" although we live in cities. And add to that our general skeöticism towards new people, we are polite but not friends. Also the words friend and love have diffefent "value" in Swedish compared to American English. Just ask yourself, do you love someone? Would you tell them Jag älskar dig in Swedish?

  • Good observation.

  • Don't you follow your classmates from years 1 through 9 in the US?

  • Good reflection! I changed after 6th grade , and have not thought about this. I did not know that you changed the classes as you describe

  • Maybe, if you're an ex-pat American or Canadian, and you live in Sweden, but you want to be in the close circle of friends of someone you want to be closer with, it might work best if you allow that person to very gradually bring you in (over a period of perhaps years) without you ever even hinting that you really want that. Problem being, however, that nobody has an abundance of time in their life to invest in something that might not work out in the end -- because then you wake up, years later, still relatively lonely and unconnected, and realize you're now a senior citizen.

  • I’ve never had many friends. Now I’m so disconnected from reality that I don’t even know how to text properly. I have some friends, but I don’t feel like I’m close to anyone. I’m quite lonely actually

  • If you some time say forgot the name of one friend, then you have too many friends, and just for you know someone doesn't make you friends, it just someone you know and meet sometimes.

  • yea I did that....

  • Have noticed this, but it also depends on the part of Sweden I'd say. Some areas of Sweden is more closed off that other parts, Southern Sweden/Skåne for life, is a bit more open I've noticed

  • Relationships in Sweden/Denmark are less shallow than most relationships in the US because of the time we spend together, often since preschool 🤷🏼‍♀️

  • But like your ex said it's hard to find the time and if you already have great friends it might not be a priority to make new ones unless you find them really special and click. And in sweden most people value quality over quantity just like having alot of money or the biggest house etc etc aren't seen as good as a life where you have a good quality of life but not necessarily the finest things. And also like with romantic relationships, most just have one and want to get as much time as possible with that person even though there isn't a limit that make it so you can only be in love with and attracted to one person at the time.

  • Hi, im living in Sweden but im born on Balkan. People here are too much reserved, scared, they have too many rules and they not so friendly.I would say they are kind. I don't belive it a school system, it's a culture.Anywere in Europa people are much more open and they have the same school system, like Balkans countrys.

  • I have 3 friends in my city and 4 friends in all of Sweden, I have more friends outside of Sweden than in Sweden and I grew up here hahah

  • A lot of us take this into consideration when applying to university! In Stockholm it's harder to make new friends because after school your new classmates already have their friends from before to hang out with. Where as if you study in Lund, you get the oppurtunity to make new friends without having to "compete" for the time otherwise dedicated to old friends.

  • Är själv från Finland men älskar att se på dina videon, eftersom en stor del av den svenska kulturen är likadan som i Finland. Det här med att huvudsakligen ha en mindre grupp med väldigt nära vänner gäller också här, hade inte tänkt på det förrut!

  • Det är lite svårt att få nya nära vänner här, det är så vi svenskar är. Mina svenska vänner är oftast folk jag gick i skolan med, som jag är uppväxt med och jag är född på 60 talet. Svenskar kan gå i samma klass i 11 år eller mer så vi känner varandra mycket väl. Från grundskolan till gymnasiet och mera. But when you got to know us, we are super friendly.

  • Hey, just stumbled into your channel and started binge watching it, not sure why lol. Never been to Sweden, but I am super interested in differences in cultures and countries. I am originally from Russia and living in the US, in the state of WA 😊 So, on the topic of this video, the same thing happens in Russia. Russians do make friends pretty easily, but... when we go to school, we literally stay with the same 30 or so people in the same class. During the intial 3 years of elementary school, we have the same teacher for all the subjects and the same classroom. Usually this is a separate wing of school and the higher grades students don’t go there. They are not prohibited per se, but they have no business going there so the little kids are sort of isolated in that little bubble. Then in fourth grade we move to the “big kids” part of school and even though now we have a diff teachers for every subject, we have what’s called a class teacher, and our own classroom, sort of like a home base. This teacher would teach one of the subjects, like Russian lit or chemistry or Wtvr, but she is sort of like a school mom to us. She / he organizes all extra curricular activities, and depending on how dedicated this teacher is (mine was fresh out of college and was very eager :), you can have amazing outings as a class. Our class had a trip across the country by train that she organized. It was awesome. So as I said, depending on how much the class teacher decides to get involved, it greatly contributes to the bonding and unity between students. I was very fortunate in that respect. And yes, people smts move away and new students may join the class along the way, but the main core group of about 20 students stays the same pretty much all through the 10 years of schooling. It maybe 11 or 12 years right now, I’m not sure, it’s been awhile since I graduated. But still, we went hiking together in the summer and even camping , so even though not everyone is kumbaya with everybody in class, friendships you forge during your school years last a lifetime. And then in college it’s a similar story. In Russia, you don’t get choose your classes. You pick a major, and then all the classes are organized into a sequential program for you. You go from class to class with the same group of people. For me, I was an English major with a French minor, we had 12 students in my group and it stayed the same year after year. For 5 years. I feel like college life would have an even bigger impact on your friendships bc you are sort of adulting and your prefrontal cortex is getting more developed and your personality is stabilizing more and more. I made friends in college just as easily and come to think of it, after over 20 yrs after graduating from grade school and moving to the US, I have not kept in touch with anyone 😥 So there, a little insight into a Russian culture 😂😂

  • We went together in class so many years but like we were quite reserved all of us and didnt interact that much. At least in Uppland. It must have formed us. Its like japanese almost. Im still a little reserved. But there are exceptions of course. Yeah I turned inwards or its mostly me. Its hard to generalize they could be friendly and open sometimes but yeah exactly they always had their besties. Dont forget the busride from the country to town forbidden to sit next to strangers and talk. Its was like in school they knew me I knew them we didnt play much didnt talk much. Then in puberty something went wrong for me but the same people around. Same unhappy crushes. Something was wrong about the social environment Thyron for all of us. We didnt reach the potential of developement. many started drinking alot. It was not that good and friendly. Those years are formative and many still suffers consequences from the psychosocial enviroment. And turn to party with drugs and alcohol or suffer psychological conditions. Uppsala and Stockholm I think are the worst psychosocial environment. Great topic Thyron

  • Du har en bra poäng! Tror det spelar roll 👍

  • they're creeping me out bro 😂

  • In Colombia and Venezuela we have also the same system. Same group for many years. And it doesn't stop us from thinking the same way as Americans. We have a close group from school, from university, from work. I guess is like friendship multitasking?

  • By the time most Swedes have left Uni or high school they have made their circle of friends..move to Sweden as a young adult...say 30-35 y.o. I would not recommend it, speaking from personal experience. Swedes are reserved, socialist politics, but conservative social culture. Swedes can move abroad for a few years but ultimately return home. Guys who meet a Swedish girl while she´s abroad ( typically USA/Australia/UK) abroad...you´re not going to win that argument, if you´re serious, either you move home with her to Sweden or its over. But there will always be exceptions of course.

  • This most likely has to do with Swede's tendency to form deep relationships. You want to maintain the relationship with your friends if you form deep connections. You can only do that with so many people. It feels like Americans form more superficial relationships. I guess you can't have too many superficial relationships, but friends for us require substantial emotional investment.

  • Out of 66 countries Sweden rate at the bottom when it comes to integration. Not only for foreigners but also for Swedes who move between different cities and try to make knew friends. It's very hard. I once invited some neighbours- and friends- to a christmas cocktail party when I was relatively new in the neighbourhood. The neighbours- in their 30-50.years - didn't dare to come. It's like they think they are signing a life time contract of being friends- when in reality it was just an invitation to mingle and socialise and have an easy good time with new aquintances. So boring... But Swedes who have no other experiences outside their hometown tend to often be like this.

  • i' m a swede, lay it on me...

  • And this one of the reasons I miss the US so much since moving back home to Sweden. It’s just so hard to make new friends here, especially if you’re like me and move around a lot. While in America it is was the easiest thing in the world, people were always so open, friendly and inviting.

  • Adult swedes are so ambitous... most of us prefer the gym before the pub...working life, exercising, bring up children and build on and decorate their homes... I think swedes are more open to new people when we are young. The younger the more open. After college/university people not so easy.

  • I have noticed this too! I am Swedish living in Germany. Swedes has more deeper relationships compared to Germans.

  • As a Swede, I would have loved the American way here! I never made friends in my class.. :( too few to choose from 💩 / The weird girl

    • Same here, got bullied and never ever want to see any of those people again. The thought of class reunions horrifies me :p I made friends outside of school though.

  • Nah. MANY countries use the same class system, but don't cut themselves out of new relationships, whether deep or shallow. The truth is it's a cultural thing, swedes are highly reserved and don't want to be bothered unless you've proven your worth. Try saying hello to a neighbour or someone vaguely acquainted, chances are they will try to avoid you (to avoid chit chat) or just look at you strangely. The nuances of social interaction seems to be a difficult concept. You won't find this type of behaviour anywhere else in the world ( except maybe also Finland 😂 )

  • No, i don't think it's because of the school system at all, very few of my friends still keep regular contact with people from their school. I think it's because swedes are a lot more culturally reserved, we are not trained to keep may contacts, and that the population historically has been very geographically scattered. I old harsher times we needed to have allies to survive and I think it's easier to keep good standings with acquaintances than keeping a good standing with people who is closer. Emotions are good when you are allies but bad when the shit hits the fan.

  • I'd personally argue that Swedes just like having quality over quantity when it comes to friends. When you're abroad you need to make friends all over again so that's why Swedes are more social when abroad. Perhaps it's because I'm more introvert but I prefer having "too few" but good friends, compared to "too many" but risk some bad friends.

  • Do some reactions to the series Welcome to Sweden, at TV4

  • I have no Swedish friends. Cry, cry, cry. Bye, bye, bye. Snore

  • Stefan du har helt rätt hur vi är! Även att skolan har en stor del i detta. Uppväxt på 80-talet då Sverige i praktiken liknande en kommunistisk stat där det knappt fanns några alternativ har nog gjort ett stort intryck....Allt var statligt och när man tänker tillbaka så hölls vi i burar från 7år till 16 och man bildade då väldigt starka band till varandra. Dagens ungdommar liknar mer hur det är i andra länder och kommer få en större vännkrets

  • Too many friends is indeed a thing here. If you round robin keeping in touch with them and the circle starts to take 6 months it becomes a problem, you have to prioritate. I think that we Swedes puts a little bit more into each friend and maybe expect the same back, hence "too many". Americans seems more easy going and you call someone you actually don't really know a friend.

  • Very interesting. You might be right, but I also feel like the school thing might be because of the cultural view on friendship. So it might be a hen and egg situation here. Regardless of what it is, as a swede, I rather have quality over quantity. I mean I do have many "friends", but I only have a few "good friends". Being abroad you are usually open for new experiences so that might influence the more open mind, oh and probably the alcohol! But when you're home, you just wanna get through the day, do your thing, and much rather hang out with people you really trust rather than someone you're just being polite/friendly with. And I wouldn't say it's hard to befriend a swede in their homeland, it just takes more time. As I think "trust" might be the keyword here.

  • This makes so much sense! Jag har alltid flyttat runt under hela min barndom, och jag har aldrig förstått varför människor hänger fast sig så mycket vid sina barndomsvänner. För mig är det naturligt att lära känna nya människor, och hitta nya vänner. Har aldrig tidigare tänkt på att det skulle kunna ha att göra med min skolgång och att jag flera gånger bytt klass, att göra! Ibland behöver vi alla att någon som är objektiv tar sig en titt på oss. Älskar dina videor!

  • You must be living in Stockholm...

  • I don't think that's the case. Most friendships are formed in places you attend by free choice and according to your interests. Usually gymnasiet is the first time you go to such a place in Sweden, unless you did sports in an organisation or art/music classes or something similar. There you have a high chance of meeting people with similar temperament as you, a shared core interest or something else that makes you relate to each other.

  • the thing here is personality and some people dont like have to many friends wich i get cause if you have many people in contakt to your phone there will be moments at times that you might have to chose witch friend to be with at times. and the school part can have a small reson to being in play here but i dont thing its fundamentaly true all the time and most times old friend tend to lose contact with you so you kinda forget about them but not really so to speak cause the bond grow weaker the less you interact with them. but overal i belive we sweds grade how close friend we are with people like (close, real close, great friends, best friends, family, lover, and relative) is how i see in it but for the most time we just like to go with the code off treat others how you want to be treated

  • You're right about the school system where we hang out with a group of people for a long time. But, then you grow older (like me) and those friends, those buddies, meet someone, they marry, get kids and a dog or move, and suddenly you find yourself not having that many friends anymore. A friend-killer is time and growing out of someone's life - and it sucks. You end up quite alone and many times having it harder finding new friends.

  • That is changing in Sweden now... I mean, since I came to Sweden 20 yrs ago. A lot of people choose to change schools. Especially if the kids choose different "inriktning" on high school/gymnasiet. Also different when choosing university. My experience has been that most people close the circle depending where they live at, like neighbours... or you bond a lot with your colleges. But its not always so if course. Cultivating strong friendships takes time and energy. Its also something about the way we socialize here. In US its possible to be more spontaneous, here it can be a hit or miss. I live in Örebro by the way. 😊

  • Hope you wake up.

  • ¨Mångfald är våran styrka¨- instämmer helt, men bara för globallisterna. Det finns inget som försvagar mer en nation, samhälle eller folkgrupp än tvingad mångkultur. Det är som att blanda två myrstackar.

  • I hate this as a swede. Jantelagen. Stubbornness. Closed off. And follow the same clothing style etc are some of the things I hate about Swedes. I think we are a pretty rude community. If you don't follow the standard you are less worth in some way. And people don't even think about it. We are not a free thinking people. We are closed minded. Small minded. Ruled by the media. We need to wake up and think and accept and try more new stuff. Don't just wear black fancy clothes and don't just decorate our homes in white.

  • The friends we make are the ones we grow up with, often from year zero and beyond, that's why the number of friends decrease as older we get, some die, some move away , some get to occupied by their new married life. We rarely just make new close friends. If we loose em all we keep on alone.

  • Okay, here’s a perspective: Swedes’ lack of ‘friendliness’ and unwillingness to make friends has nothing to do with them being in classes with the same people every year in high school. It’s actually a consequence of the Germanic working ethos, which emphasises hard work, being productive and being alone (eg by focusing on self and getting ahead in your career etc, rather than community). You’ll find this ‘spirit’ or lack of friendliness and ‘coldness’ in ALL the Germanic cultures (eg Swiss, German, UK etc). It’s not specific to Sweden. Go to the UK for example and you’ll find the same ‘cold’ behaviour and lack of openness to making new friends (although Brits are very polite and would never say ‘I have all the friends I need’, they would make small talk and be ostensibly friendly). Germanic cultures emphasise being independent, constant and efficient. You’re hardly going to get that if you’re always wanting to make a ton of new friends from all over the world! It’s close-minded, but it’s what keeps people in check.

  • I might not be Swedish after all... I love meeting and making new friends in my life 🤷🏼‍♀️ Btw, I’ve never said or heard anyone saying they have enough friends... 🤔

  • I'm from New Zealand and my view of Sweden is kind of negative.There is a lot of news about things happening in your country that seem really bad. I'm thinking of the politician who dated a paedophile, the political correctness, lack of freedom of speech, all the crime (car burning, rapes, bombs, shootings). How do you reconcile what's happening in that country with actually living there? I'd be scared to have a child grow up there or always worry about my girlfriend or wife.

  • Probably mostly a language confusion. Like the word 'love' is so casually used in English to a point where it is almost meaningless. Love and like are pretty much synonymous. You love a pair of shoes, you love the colour blue.... In Swedish älska does not have the general usage of being sprinkled onto anything you and everything you do not actively hate. Same goes for 'friend' and 'friendship' in Swedish. They do not really include people you occasionally hang out with, even if you enjoy their company very much. But describe a deeper relationship with certain unspoken obligations that you are probably not quite picking up on due to crossed wires in the translation between the languages.

  • I think the connection just might go the other way. Swedish culture places a high value on close intimate committed friendships. If the schoolsystem had been set up the american way, I can see somebody objecting ”But this way the kids will only get aquaintances - how will they make real friends?” Swedes who go to USA tend to complain that after an initial honeymoon with all the open friendliness and easy chatting, they feel lonely, because all they’ve got is superficial shallow relationships. They can talk shop at work or discuss sports or make jokes with the people they know, but they can’t talk about private stuff like their mothers failing health or problems in the marriage or existential angst or whatever - with anyone! Of course 95% of my coversations with my closest friends are about everyday stuff. Games or work or music or whatever. But if I wanna get real and talk about difficult personal stuff I can. With several friends. But that kind of friendship is a bit like a marriage. It takes work, maintenance, commitment. So that might be why swedes say ”I don’t have space for more friends in my life, in fact I feel that I’m failing on the upkeep of the friends I do have.”

  • Im a swede but I actually think that you cant have too many friends. But I prefer having close relationships than shallow. BUT I also changed classes and schools a couple of times due to bullying so that may be a part of it actually. I also took individual classes at Uni and didnt have one class all 3, 5 years but rather different classes every term when I switched subject. So i really think youre on to something here ☺️ i dont like the term "too many friends".

  • The deap stat com from Sweden, fam Wallenberg.

  • that's pretty weird ngl lol

  • As a swede, moving to Italy next year I am super nervous! I have no idea how to make new friends...this is a big problem for a lot of young adults and adults. I feel like I lack a huge social skill and that I will end up alone in Italy with me, myself and a tub of delicious gelato😅

    • Be respectful and friendly and talk to the people and you'll have no problem making friends.

  • I think this is 100% accurate. /Swede

  • I wouldn't say the school system is a definitive factor, sure one way to cultivate a friendship is through having that shared past, but that shared past could be made through living in the same neighbourhood or being on a sports team together year after year. I'm not saying school cannot be a contributing factor, just it's a weak explanation. I think the main factor is that us scandinavians generally focus a lot more on the depth of our friendships. The more people you need to spend time and energy on, the less time and energy you get to spend on each person, which generally means a weaker connection overall. So we tend to prefer focusing on a select few rather than keep making new aquaintances, because to maintain a connection with a person, you need to spend time on them, otherwise the person will eventually fade into the periphery. And I think you may read a bit too much into someone saying "I've got enough friends", it just means they aren't actively seeking more friends as they are satisfied with the friends they have, not that they are opposed to making new connections. Also, something I tend to tell people who randomly message me asking if I want to be their friend (which has happened a few times, and is just really weird to me), is that friendship is something that happens between people, not something you make happen, if that makes sense. You cannot force an actual connection to a person, it has to develop naturally over time, so question is, when someone finds that people they consider close to be closed off from them - do they perhaps set the bar a bit too low for what they consider a friendship to be?

  • Stefan, do you use a US passport or Sweden passport to travel abroad?

  • +1

  • The American concept of a ”school class” was always weird to me whenever I came across it, because as you say, a Swedish school class is a group that sticks together throughout the year(s). I was with the same class mates from 1st grade all the way up to 7th grade, if our family hadn’t moved to another town I would have done 9 years of school with them.

  • Difficult to know what affects what. Is it the school system that affects our friendship patterns or our friendship patterns that affect how schools are organised? To spin this idea: friendships among American people are often viewed by Swedes as being shallow friendships. It's easy to make friends but you're really not friends friends. On the other hand, friendships in Sweden are often quite deep if you actually make a friend. There is a saying I've heard about us: "It's difficult to make friends with Swedish people but when you do you have a friend for life." When we are abroad we don't have to fit into our reserved culture so we act unSwedish. The way we really want to act always.

  • You really nailed something here. Thanks for lifting this interesting issue! Ha det så bra Stefan!

  • Intressant! Har aldrig tänkt på det, men det stämmer ju!!

  • How many Facebook friends swedish people have !

  • As a swede I think you are on to something.

  • Absolutely. 20 years in Sweden.

  • That system with people following each other from 1th class to 9th doesn't exist anymore, classes split up and puts together more often now. And the other system you are talking about with subjects with 400-500 people that comes at univercity level.

  • I agree, but don't agree. I still find new close friends, and can have a deep friendship together with. You will to in Sweden but its a little different cultures in different parts in Sweden. I had the same feeling as you when I moved to sthlm for three years.

  • You’re exactly right, this a totally the case. all my close friends are from way back in elementary school, some are from work too but that’s cause I worked at the same place for over 10 years I also agree that I have enough friends, the thought of getting to know even more people is exhausting to me

  • It is definitely all about the school system and how people spend 10+ years with same 25 other people. They have shared everything, parties, deaths, vacations, births, divorces etc.... It doesn't allow a lot of space for new people, but depending on who they are, where they live...fx: city people blend easier, then country people - but don't give up! p.s. it's the same in all the Scandi/Nordic countries

  • I am from Sweden and lived there for 30 years. I have lived on Long Island now for 30 years. We were 4 girls hanging out through school and we are still friends now. When I go home to Sweden, all 4 of us meet up, as I have not even been gone. It's hard for me to make friends here in US. I have meet a few Swedish people here, but they are more americenize than American people and they absolutely don't want to speak Swedish. It is hard to keep American friends, because the once I meet can't be transparent (honest) and I am to transparent (honest). It's ruff... and lonely 😞

  • I switched schools in 5th grade and had a very hard time fitting in, because the girls had already formed their group and so they didn't want/need me to join. And to this day they still hang out together (and went to gymnasiet together) whilst I've moved across the country to study at a university and I've found my friends (for life) here. Regarding only knowing people from your class/program at uni, I think it depends on whether you engage outside of your studies or not. I have friends from other programs since I've been active in different associations/committees.

  • It must be terrible being an introvert kid in the American school system 😶.

  • There might be something to what youre saying. But, what do you mean when you say "friend"? Is it, the one guy I usely grab a drink with at the bar. Or is it, when they call, i drop everything, take my car and pick them up ASAP, even if they are in France at the moment. Sort of, "I can be there in 2 days, hang on tight I'm on my way"