Swedes and conflicts

Source: "The Swedish Toolkit"


Swedes avoid conflict

Each culture defines what a conflictual situation is


What may be perceived as a conflict by a Swede

May be perceived as a completely peaceful situation by someone from another culture

Sometimes making it difficult to understand what Swedes are trying to avoid

A clear ”no” can often be seen as conflictual by Swedes

In order to avoid conflict

Swedes will often use indirect expressions such as the non-committal nja


A mix of ja, yes, and nej, no

Their tone of voice and subtle facial expression is important to notice here

It is the only way to work out if they mean ”yes”, ”maybe” or ”no”

In order to avoid saying ”no”

They will also often say

“well, that would be interesting”


“That wasn’t such a bad idea, let’s think about it”


“that’s a thought”



"The Swedes" and "Working with Swedes" present many of the unknown social rules in Sweden

By Julien S. Bourrelle

Book a lecture on www.juliensbourrelle.com 

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