Know What to Avoid
Many people in Sweden don’t like small talks, but it remains the only way to start a conversation with a stranger. Unless you are seeking out for help or have something in particular to discuss, small talks remains the surest way to start a conversation. So, don’t avoid them. However, there are things to avoid.
Avoid complimenting strangers. Yes. This may sound strange, but people in Sweden feel uneasy with compliments from strangers. No matter how nice it sounds: “You look beautiful” “You look gorgeous” “You look sweet” “You look handsome” and other forms of compliments can be your enemy in making new friends. This is not absolute, but the least you want is to make the person you are talking to feel uncomfortable or not relaxed. While some will appreciate such compliments and thank you for it, many others may find it a bit unattractive coming from a stranger.
Another thing to avoid is seeking for personal contacts or personal information on first meeting. For example, you should not ask for their phone number right away, it is truly private in Sweden. You can start by asking for their social media handle, and it is usually a comfortable first point to connect with this stranger. Also, you do not want to ask for their address or their religion or sexual orientation. These sort of questions are not welcoming and not the best way to start your conversation with a stranger.
Easiest Friends to Make
Straight to the point – the easiest friends to make are those with whom you share things in common. It could be that they are in the same department as you, or they live in the same building or from the same country as you are. Also, remember that it is easier to make friends with other international students than Swedish residents. The reason is simple: while your fellow international students are looking for new friends and making their individual efforts to meeting new people, the residents here seem to have their lives all figured out, their friends of many years settled and their trusted life partners found. Allowing a stranger in is tough, and an ice to be broken.
With those you share things in common, you could make your friends on your first week of arrival to Sweden. Let me show you how: are you aware of the orientation exercise for new students by Södertörn University? Endeavour to attend, and connect with someone or everyone. In that event, everyone is willing and ready for a connection, and that is an easy ground to build friendships. Can you cook or bake? Or do you have candies? Just buy some and knock on the door of your new neighbours at your accommodation. Introduce yourself and let them know you are their latest neighbour and new to Sweden while you share your candies with them. This is not a regular practice in Sweden, but it can be highly rewarding. You may want to join online groups too dedicated for social activities; there are many of such on Facebook.
Meanwhile, I am still your easiest friend to make. I am just a chat away! Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/amaraizugenius External link.