Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why making friends in Stockholm is difficult for foreigners

Foreigners in Stockholm often say it is difficult for them to make friends with Swedes. Oft-mentioned reasons include the shyness of Swedish people and the closed nature of their community (e.g. they hang out with their high-school friends only).

My view is different. It's probably more about the difference in views of the world between the two sets of people. Whenever the survey on people's happiness is conducted across the world, Sweden is always one of the happiest countries. This seems particularly true in Stockholm: 96 percent of the city population like Stockholm. Grown up in such an environment, one would acquire an optimistic view of the world.

Foreigners coming to Stockholm are more or less those who aren't satisfied with their own country. Otherwise why do they live abroad? Grown up in such an environment, they would acquire a rather cynical view of the world.

People become friends because they enjoy being together. They enjoy each other's company because they feel relaxed in the presence of each other. They feel relaxed because they share their views of the world.

So foreigners moving to Stockholm and Swedes grown up in Stockholm won't feel comfortable with each other and thus don't become friends.

That is my scientifically-unproved conclusion.


joanne said...

hey there, i found your site through a google search for stockholm housing... after reading some of your posts i'm getting more worried! i'm moving to stockholm (preferrably hägersten or södermalm) for a year starting august 1. which sites should i be looking at? i've already been relentlessly stalking blocket.se and sending emails, but i'm situated in canada right now and can't actually go to see the apartments in real life. that, plus i haven't really gotten any replies from anybody... any suggestions would be very much appreciated!!! my email is salondaome@gmail.com

Nóra said...

Uh, totally agree, I cannot find anyone I can get well along with, everyone is annoyingly optimistic.

BTW, your blog is awesome, I've just moved to Sweden as well, and it is a great help sometimes :)