So today I decided that I wanted to share some of those strange Swedish behaviors/phenomenas that makes us Swedes just Swedes. The funny thing is that I didn’t even thought that much about how we are until I started an international university with people constantly reminding me about all those strange behaviors that we have.
- We don’t talk to strangers – or sit next to them on the bus In Sweden we’re a bit private, not unsocial but most of us just doesn’t talk to strangers without a specific reason. And some Swedes actually prefer to stand up on the bus instead of sitting next to another person. I have no idea why it is like this.
- The queuing
This is something that lay in the Swedish genes. We queue for everything and the whole queuing-system is a bit holy to us. Straight lines is the key and if you don’t keep up with the one in front of you, people will move past you to fill up the gap in the perfect line. We queue at the bakery, at the shops, to go into church and as a student, to get into the lecture-halls.We also have a solution for those situations where there are no rooms for perfect lines; ticket machines. You locate a machine, press the button to get a numbered pice of paper that you hold on to (which often tells you have long you have to wait today). Then you wait for your number to get called so you can go up to the counter. If you’re not fast enough, the next number will get called and you have to repeat the whole process.
- We always talk (and complain) about the weather If you ever meet a Swedish person you will notice that the first thing we bring up is the weather. Mostly to complain about the snow, the rain, it being too cold, it being to warm. The list is endless. However, to our defense – in a year we can have between +30 degrees to -25 degrees and its not always easy to keep up with the changes.I read a hilarious tweet yesterday from a Swede that went something like this; “Its sometimes hard to imagine how far it is between the sun and the moon. Try walking to your car in -26 degrees with only a sweater on, thats how far it is”. I think it sums it up pretty good.
- The Swedish shuffle This is a phenomena that I hadn’t even noticed before someone pointed it out to me, but now I see it everywhere. The Swedish shuffle means that if you are having a conversation to someone and a third person comes up to you, you shuffle on the conversation to the new person without saying good bye to the first one. Its probably really annoying if your not used to it, but I went on for over 20 years without even noticing it.
- The Alcohol
First of all, we can’t buy alcohol anywhere else than in a special store in Sweden (but this is a whole other story, do you want to learn about it?). But we are restricted in other ways also. If you go out for a drink on other days than Fridays and Saturdays (+ Wednesday for students, we call it “Small Saturday”) you’re almost considered as an alcoholic in Sweden.Instead we wait the whole week for Friday and then things get crazy. We start with “After work” which is kind of happy hour, usually between 4-7 on Fridays. There you get good prices on drinks and often there is a cheap buffet if you want to load up before the night.
Then the party is on, but not the whole night since in most citys all the bars and nightclubs close at 2 or 3 due to the alcohol-laws of Sweden. Its only in Stockholm, Gothenburg and maybe Malmö the clubs are open for longer.
After I pre-wrote this post on Wednesday I went to school on Thursday and realized that in 3 hours I talked about the weather with 7 different people with different nationalities. Oh gosh. I’m more Swedish that I would ever thought.
(And don’t take this post too seriously – were normal people, I promise)