I do not have many experiences with Swedes, but when I do…

It is pretty much what the title says, I do not have many experience with Swedes since I do not have any Swedish classmates. But of course I pretty much know about the stereotypes of Swedes. As stated in sweden.se, the #1 stereotype is: 

#1 Swedes are reserved

It’s true that the Swedes aren’t the world’s most outgoing people, but I do feel their reclusiveness has been… mythified. I remember my Swedish teacher telling our class of newly arrived immigrants that Swedes living in flats often look through the peephole in their front door before stepping out into the hallway. This was out of fear of running into a neighbour and having to talk to them.

Exaggerations aside, the average Swede is less likely to talk to a stranger, unless being asked for directions. I think it could be something to do with the weather: if it’s cold and wet you’re less likely to take the time to stop and chat to people in the street, and that behaviour becomes ingrained.

A word of advice: Many Swedes think it’s rude to pry and ask personal questions, so don’t be offended if your new Swedish friend doesn’t ask for your life history. This aloofness shouldn’t be mistaken for rudeness. Once you’ve got past that ‘obstacle’, the Swede is as friendly and warm as anyone else.

And I would say that it is true. Does not really mean that it applies to everyone though. Several weeks ago, I lost my ID card. It happened that I dropped it by accident in a bus stop, and luckily, a really nice lady found it. She then tried to call me and spoke to me in Swedish, the only sentence I could said was: “Jag pratar inte Svenska.” which literally translates to: “I do not speak Swedish.”. And she was asking me if I might be Spanish (which I suppose because of my name: Eugenia) in a friendly manner. Then she explained that she found my ID card, and we tried to manage the time to pick it up. When I picked it up the next day, she gave me a warm hug the moment she saw me and she was really friendly. I gave her a chocolate as a thank you gift and she gave me another hug. It was the highlight of my day, that boost up my mood right away and I can not help but smile a lot when I am remembering the incident.

I guess, stereotypes do not really apply to everyone, right? I do not have many experience with Swedes, but when I do, I think it brings back good memory along with it. 🙂

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