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Making friends as an adult in Sweden Posted by on Sep 17, 2013 in Culture, Living in Sweden

Friends are something universal right? No matter if you are American, Swedish, Danish or Japanese you have your close circle of friends and then there are the other people you enjoy spending time with now and again who you call acquaintances. But when did you actually meet your close friends? This is something that has a very deep cultural aspect to it I think.

Recently I have talked to quite a few people about just this question: making friends as adults. In Sweden it seems to be very common for people to meet their absolute closest friends they have as adults when they where in junior high school or high school, maybe even before that. Those bonds seem to be stronger than ones from later on in life, for example from university or colleagues from work. People you meet at university or work can become very close acquaintances but very rarely step into that inner circle of close friends. Now this might be common in other cultures as well, but I have a feeling that this is what a lot of people call the Swedish coldness / reservedness.

If you move to Sweden as an adult, or you even move cities within Sweden you might find it harder to get to know people beyond those polite talks when you meet at the mailboxes. Please correct me if I’m wrong, I’m sure there are very many people who are an exception to this rule, but in many other parts of the world friend making is different than in Sweden. In other cultures you can make become very good friends with people even as an adult which is something I wish could be more true for Sweden in the future.

What are your experiences of making friends in Sweden?

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Comments:

  1. Sheila Morris:

    Even without living in Sweden, I have made several good friends as an adult. I was surprised the first time I visited that people I had only “met” online readily welcomed me into their homes for several-day visits. This was not what I had been led to expect! However, I think the reason is that all of us are involved in Swedish folkmusic and dance. Not only did this give us something in common, the world-wide folk-culture community tends to be very open and accepting. I think this often transcends national patterns of behavior.

  2. Swedish learner:

    When I moved into a tiny village in Jämtland, 11 years ago, I had many visitors during the first year. People came from the surrounding area to take a look and satisfy their curiosity about me. None of these people became friends or even good neighbors. I have joined several different handcraft type groups over the years, hoping to make friends, to no avail. My ability to learn the language has suffered as you must have someone to talk to, in order to learn the language. I find myself in a very difficult position as I have a strong desire to learn Swedish and to be able to understand what is being said when I am in a public place, or on the phone or tv.

    I have found it extremely difficult to make friends as the interest is just curiosity, and not any deeper.

  3. ropan kanti nath:

    I want make friendship with swidish