Greetings in Sweden

Source: "The Social Guidebook to Sweden"

I lived two years in Spain

In Spain when you enter a shop you say “¡Hola!”

The cashier replies “¡Hola!”

And all the other people in the shop reply “¡Hola!”

It looks a little bit like this

When I came back to Sweden

I came into grocery stores and said "hej!"

Swedes looked at me

In Silence

They wondered why I was saying hi

In Sweden greetings mean something different

You greet when you have something to talk about

When you have something purposeful to say

If you have a reason  

Greetings are more pragmatic

In many countries around the world

When you enter a party

or the office

You will go around shaking hands with everyone

And sometimes kissing the women

If you do this in Sweden

You are just weird

You greet when there is a practical reason to do so


When you leave a conference or a party

You may not say goodbye to someone you spent an hour talking with

Swedes are not rude

They simply have codes that differs from other cultures

It is often about not disturbing others

And respecting each other’s privacy


“Politeness in Sweden is much more about not disturbing others rather than following strict social rules.”



Source: "The Social Guidebook to Sweden"

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By Julien S. Bourrelle

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