When you move to Sweden one if the first things you will miss is your network of friends, family, neighbors and colleagues. New ones will replace old ones. One of the fantastic things about the move is to discover new people in your life and also discover new things about yourself in the company of your new friends. You will change the topics that may have become a bit of a broken record at home for new ones.
Swedes are non-intrusive as people which can be mistaken for unfriendliness. They don’t mean to be, they just don’t want to disturb you.
That means you will have to take the initiative, more than once and sometimes to the point of it not being terribly comfortable. Take baby steps and allow time.
1. If you live in an apartment building – have a moving in gathering – put a note in your neighbor’s mailboxes or even on the front door (inside) and invite them to a French wine tasting if you are from France or something typical for your home country. I have a friend that lives in the same house as one of our clients, a coincidence, and he told us of a lovely party for the building that he set up. Don’t forget that Swedes are very punctual so they will come on the time stated.
2. In the US you often have block partys, they are not common here so why not bring a new tradition to Sweden? After a big move perhaps you want to make it a bit easier, a bring your own picnic gathering also works. You can bring the music?
3. Knock on your neighbour’s door /s and introduce yourself. Try to meet one or two per week.
4. Ask questions! They will gladly help you find your way, recommend the best grocery store or their favorite restaurant. After a while invite them to come along for a drink or quick dinner.
5. Suggest small things like a walk, run, something that doesn’t require a lot of time – Swedes are short of time as you will soon notice.
6. Learn a few words of Swedish and use them. Minimum HEJ, hur är det?
7. Get a puppy, before you know it you will know your entire neighborhood as everyone will stop and talk to a puppy even if they have walked right past you without saying hello for the past 10 years.
8. Sign up for a class of something you like to do, ceramics, sailing, swimming, gym, mountain climbing. A common interest or passion is a god place to start a friendship.
9. General consideration to neighbors is of course a good way to stay on their good side, being quiet after 10 AM, keeping the garden in somewhat good shape.
Be fun, bored people are boring, happy people are fun! Fake it until you make it, all clichés, but there’s something to it.
If you can’t befriend the ones that live nearby try to have a good time and check out the Customer support pages and fill your life with joy!