Swedes and eye-contact

Source: "The Swedish Toolkit"

In many places around the world

When you enter a room

You will try to get eye contact with others 

acknowledging their presence

You may also use eye contact to flirt with the opposite sex

You smile 

People will acknowledge you back 

It does not mean that they want to speak with you

But they acknowledge that you are there

In Sweden, looking at unknown people is just weird


Swedes will wonder what you are after

And may easily feel uncomfortable

It is usually not a mean to flirt

Except if it is late at night in a bar

While looking at others is a way to acknowledge their presence in many places around the world

Swedes will prefer to respect "other people's privacy"

And try not to look at others unless they have a reason to

While Swedes are polite doing so

It may easily be interpreted as cold or rejecting by foreigners not used to Scandinavian politeness

Swedes can often be seen in on vacation in warmer countries entering coffee shops and restaurants without looking at anyone nor acknowledging the other guests in the room

This is surprising for people of many cultures


Learn more about your own Swedish social culture and how it may be perceived in "The Swedes" and "Working with Swedes".

By Julien S. Bourrelle

Book a lecture on www.juliensbourrelle.com 

Watch him on TED