Dating rules in Sweden, or how and where you can meet a Swedish guy (or girl)

Young couple in love london carnaby street swedish love affair head over heels with

My international friends from university asked me today to explain how dating works in Sweden. Apparently they have trouble getting into the rules of the Swedish dating game.

One of the most common places to find a partner is at a nightclub (or a mutual friend’s party), which may seem pretty obvious. However, the way to meet someone there is more subtle. It’s not as easy as going up to someone and offer them a drink or ask them to dance. Many people see this as too forward and will get defensive if they are approached in this way. So how do people approach one another when they go out?

If you want to meet someone, you’d better make your way to the dance floor. Many people regard those who only hang out in the bar as suspicious*. The first step is eye contact. If you catch somebody’s eye, and the two of you look at each other for more than a second, then you’re good to start dancing with each other (at this point, you don’t even have to ask about the dance, you both know it’s coming).
From the moment the two of you start dancing, the rules aren’t as strict as before. Depending on your moves and all-around charm, you might just share that one dance, or you might even spend the night together. Either way, the chances are good that you’ll exchange phone numbers, which is crucial for the next step.

Assuming that things went well at the club, sometime in the next few days one of you (it might just as well be the girl as the boy) will text the other and ask them out for a fika, which means a daytime meeting at a café for a coffee. Again, you have to be careful not to seem pushy by asking the person out for a drink or dinner. It’s too soon for that at the “fika stage”.
I should note that while this fika obviously is a date of sorts, you never call it that. A fika is by definition not a date. Instead, both parties pretend that they’ve forgotten about their brief romance at the club and keep things rather platonic at the non-date fika. The fact that both of you are aware that you’re on a date while simultaneously pretending that it’s not a date can make things quite awkward, but that’s how it’s done. To keep the conversation non-datish, the subjects you talk about are usually very neutral ones such as the housing market, Stockholm versus Gothenburg, how great your iPhones are, or how much the public transportation system irritates you (actually, the Swedish public transportation system is among the best ones in the world). Girls, don’t read anything into it if the guy doesn’t pay, you’re expected to split the bill in the name of equality.

If you want to ask out someone that you already know, from work for example, you usually skip the night out and go directly to the fika. This is because the concept of a date almost doesn’t exist in Sweden. If you would have asked someone you know to go out for drinks, that would have been very difficult to say that it’s not a date, which is why fika is a better solution.

If the fika goes well, you’ll likely start texting each other a couple of times a day. I might add that texting is the preferred channel of communication with Swedish guys. It’s important to keep track of whether he ends his text messages with kram, which means “hug”, or puss, meaning ”kiss”. Eventually you’ll have another date, usually at the cinema, and if that goes well too, you’ll have what constitutes a relationship. Although it might still be a bit early to change your Facebook status.
If you’re dating a Swedish guy you should be aware that he probably won’t try to woo you in the classical ways. Try not to get offended or assume that he’s not into you if he doesn’t bring you flowers, if he doesn’t hold the door up for you, if he doesn’t pay for the movie or if he doesn’t offer to walk you home. Instead, he will always respect you and he will never assume that you are weak or bad at something just because you’re a girl. He’d never assume that you won’t be able to get over that puddle of water without his help.

Of course, this gives a generalized picture, and I’ve heard of people meeting each other in other ways (Hannes and I have a different story, I’ll tell you some other time). But from my experience, this is one of the most common scenarios.

When I lived in Italy, I often got approached by different men who wanted to ask me out. All kinds of people, too – waiters, policemen, the guards at the Vatican Museums, shop keepers. This dating culture differs a lot from Sweden’s, and it just goes to show that if you want to make it in the dating game in unknown territory, you’d do well to find out which rules apply there first.

*A couple of years ago there was a hit hip-hop song that played on this. The chorus goes:
Alla som inte dansar är våldtäktsmän, which translates into: ”Everyone who doesn’t dance is a rapist”

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118 Responses to Dating rules in Sweden, or how and where you can meet a Swedish guy (or girl)

  1. Anastasia says:

    You’ve done a great job, Antonia! Austrians’ dating culture is very similar, but instead of “fika” they say “coffee”. However, it’s common that the guy pays the bill (if he thinks it’s a date) and that’s also how you can see what his intentions are. ;)

  2. Susie says:

    Ha! Where was this when I needed it Antonia?! I’ve dated two Swedish guys and both were complete disasters. We’ll blame that on the guys though, not on Sweden. :)

  3. Maria says:

    What an interesting read :) I’ll try to remember this, who knows when it’ll come in handy? :)

  4. jill says:

    Thanks a million, very fun to read! Now I know to be on the constant lookout for eye-contact if I ever get to a Swedish club :)
    I was intrigued by the sound of the non-date fika. What a versatile and interesting concept! Really good post, Antonia! Thanks

  5. Leia says:

    This is so very interesting! I want to hear your story with Hannes :)

  6. Carolina says:

    I once went on a date with a Swedish guy and he didn’t even pay for my coffee!!! I got really offended, but now that I’ve read this post I understand it more. Thank you! I’m going to show it to my friends.

  7. keri says:

    I’m just glad I’m happily married (17 years!) and don’t have to worry about dating ;)

  8. Kate says:

    It’s so funny – I have been dating a Danish man for about a year, but the cultural difference was hard work in the beginning! We met in Korea, so I had no one to help me with these Scandinavian ways, and he thought I was very pushy indeed. And I thought he was cheap because he never paid the check. Oops!

    • Antonia says:

      Kate, I’m not surprised! Although, I do think think that people should try to adjust to the culture they are in a little more (in this case I mean the Danish guy). How did this whole thing end? Did you find a “common ground” in the dating game?:)

  9. Ilona Opengeim-Cherkas says:

    WOW! I might sound politically incorrect, and perhaps in a horrible way–but man I had to react… this fika/fake pretending game is awful…and the fact that the guy doesn’t even pay for your coffee at the end of the date, what kind of act of courtesy is that??? Wow, thank GOD my hubby only looks Swedish…lol…I mean seriously, the guy feels brave enough to hit on a girl in a night club, sending her obvious sexual messages, dancing with her, even spending the rest of the evening with her, and the next day he’s acting totally crappy about paying for her coffee…I mean, yes I understand it’s a cultural thing and that is how everyone is supposed to behave in Sweden…but my gosh this is not right.

    • Antonia says:

      I hear what you’re saying, Ilona, but you’re not seeing the whole picture here. For starters, in Sweden it’s just as likely that the girl was the one who hit on the guy in the first place, and most likely it was a completely mutual move to start dancing, kissing or what have you. It’s not the guys who chase after the girls; there’s not much of a hunt like that going on at clubs at all. A guy who makes an obvious attempt to hook up with a girl will seldom succeed, no matter how hot or otherwise attractive he is. The same goes for girls, for that matter. Such “aggression” in the dating scene is seen as a turn-off for both sexes.
      If they do end up spending the night together, it’s not the guy who got to sleep with the girl, the act is completely mutual.
      As a consequence, there is nothing that suggests that the guy is the one who should pay for the girl’s coffee. They are both there because they both want to, it’s in no way the girl who “lets” him have a coffee with her. Again, their intentions are 100% mutual. In fact, most Swedish girls will refuse to let the guy pay for her coffee even if he insists on paying for both of them, and many will even get offended. In exactly the same way that nobody would think you’re worse at something just because you’re a girl, nobody would ever assume that the guy should pay just because he’s a guy.
      In Sweden people try to avoid those kinds of distinctions between what’s expected from a man and what’s expected from a woman. There are big differences in how dating works in different places. Many of my readers have had problems with getting into the dating scene in Sweden, which is why I wrote this post.

      • Somesh Das says:

        Hi Antonia,I am a Indian guy living in India.I must say I am very impressed with the info you’ve given here.I seems from your article that Swedish people are highly independent and individualistic which I believe other nations should learn from you guys.I mean seriously,why should a guy pay the bills to “be with a woman”?If the girl has any interest in the guy she would pay for her half.I for one prefer dutch dates.I do not like women who like to find a man who could “provide” for her.I am sick of this responsibility of a provider.I think Indian girls over here should learn a few lessons from their Swedish counterparts. Everyone has got the right to exist for their own sake.Please do not pay attention to what other readers are saying.Your article is fantastic and I would request you to urge all your fellow Swedes to retain this VIRTUE.Yes you heard it right,Its a VIRTUE not a VICE!

        • Antonia says:

          Thank you so much for your input! Very interesting reading your opinion on this subject. I tend to agree with you, however, we have to remember that it takes a lot of time for this kind of things to change, generations even.

          • Somesh Das says:

            Hi Antonia,
            I’ve always wondered why the things which are obviously clear to us evade others. From my personal experience I must confess here that there was a time when I used to hold the same mindset which is held by most of the responders who have commented against your article.I was 18-19 years old back then.I don’t blame the media/hollywood/bollywood flicks for putting B.S in my mind,I blame myself for not using my mind before planting the B.S in my mind.But one thing I’ve never practiced is APATHY towards this world including me (coz I am a part of this world). Let me explain here, you see, storing an idea or a data in mind without making an effort to understand the concept or context of the data or idea is always dangerous.In a similar way having a desire without making an effort to understand the concept or context of the desire which is created in your mind would earn you a one way ticket to mental asylum (nuthouse!!!). You would find many examples in your day to life of people who exhibit such form of method of cognition. For example:-
            1.If you ask a person who wishes to be a rich person three questions viz., WHAT is money?They might tell you “I don’t know money is money,money can’t be defined” (See the vibe people usually give here, they are practicing humility,they are trying to tell you that the entity which their mind can’t perceive that entity doesn’t exists in this world);HOW do you want to achieve wealth?They might tell you “I will work hard and achieve money” (See they are trying to evade the responsibility to acquire the knowledge of the conditions required to achieve wealth);WHY do you think you can achieve wealth? They might tell you “What are trying to imply here,that I don’t deserve wealth” (You see the vibe they are giving here is presumptuousness)

            2.In a similar way if you ask a person who wishes to be loved my their boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/parents/son/daughter the same three questions about the desire they have (LOVE). You would notice the similar answers,vibes,implications.You would always be able to equate these three basic questions which explain reality with the three vibes.WHAT=Humility,HOW=Evasiveness,WHY=Presumptuousness.

            You must notice here that all these three vibes are actually three different magnitude of the same attribute i.e.,APATHY. And they practice these three attributes consciously or unconsciously to make unreasonable demands(specially demand of self sacrifice) from people around them without leaving them with any choice or reward or admiration or respect.They want to live of those people who exist by their own productive efforts.And this behavior is not gender specific,both men and women do it equally.

            I am not saying buying gifts or paying bills or providing for you wife/husband/girlfriend/children/parents is a bad thing.In fact its a very good gesture which shows that you love and value the person.But such gestures should be shown only when the other person makes an effort to become valuable for you,by earning your love,respect and admiration.But unfortunately people expect to be loved/respected/admired AUTOMATICALLY.People believe just coz they are born Homo Sapiens they automatically they are AUTOMATICALLY entitled to love/wealth/admiration/respect without making any effort.That is why people really make a mess of their own love life and sexual life and hurt innocent disarmed people around them.

            I hope my input over here would help you defend your article and the moral implications behind the words you have written from potential (NAIVE) attackers.

            Have a great day.

        • Helga says:

          I’d never be able to respect a man who thinks this way. I consider it avoiding responsibility and taking advantage of women. My Swedish man pays for everything, carries my bags, and opens doors. It’s all about talking things over and communicating your preferences.

          • Darius says:

            Well that just shows how much of a sexist bitch you are. You don’t deserve free things just because you are a different sex. Grow the fuck up.

            • Monica says:

              That is not sexism. Are you okay? That is just a way in which every guy can express his feelings. All those gestures make the relationship sweet and romantic for a girl. It is about the emotions a girl feels and making her feel special but not just the following one. You Swedish act very much like narrow-minded people. What is there in carring a girl’s bag so that her back doesn’t hurt afterwards or opening a door just to make her feel like a princess, like the one You like?

              • Darius says:

                She said she can’t respect a man who doesn’t pay for a woman just because she is a woman. She thinks women are entitled to a man’s money simply because they are a man and she is a woman. That is classic sexism.

    • Sanna Silverek says:

      Yes to me that is very incorrect. As a matter of fact I(as a swedish girl) am dating an american guy. If he ever would offer to pay or do everything for me, I would be very offended as to in Sweden it insinuates he thinks less of me.

      Also on another point in Sweden it could just as well have been the girl asking the guy out for a “fika” and then how would it be fair for him to pay? Usually it’s a mutual understanding that both people wanted to meet, and therefore should pay their own part, partially out of respect for the other person. Also keep in mind the “fika” is not a date :P

      So to sum it up in swedish culture the girls doesn’t “get flirted upon” or “brought out”. In the end both genders are equal n therefore does equal parts, if a girl demanded the guy to pay for her she would be seen as stuck up and spoiled.

      I guess it’s a huge difference. At least my american guy is a real gentleman ^^

    • Cavalli says:

      I met a swedish guy at club not in Sweden. We dance and we spend the night together. He paid for everything he didn’t let me to pay. In morning he didn’t ask my number and i lost him forever.

  10. Laura C says:

    Great article! Will def. come in handy for a lot of girls and guys. :)

    I had a weird time adapting to dating in the U.S. (versus Puerto Rico, where Im from)….
    Here people turn anything into a date! Back home you usually have a REALLY LONG friendship before anything happens!

    • Antonia says:

      Haha, interesting! I wonder what that is like, I mean, when they turn “anything into a date”:))))) Would love to hear more about the differences between Puerto Rico and the U.S. when it comes to dating:)

  11. Layla_White says:

    Splitting the bill tradition has a term “going dutch”, that indicates that each person participating in a group/”date” activity pays for himself ))) so it’s not just Swedish. I read that in Germany, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Canada, Norway and Australia, the practice of splitting the bill in restaurants is common. Funny enough my Dutch boyfriend never lets me pay.

    • Antonia says:

      Thank you for your comment, Layla!
      I wasn’t saying that it’s unique to Sweden for people to split the restaurant bill, I know of more countries than the ones you list here where it’s customary.
      Rather, I was trying to explain how dating works as a whole in Sweden. I know people from Finland, Germany and Canada that have had trouble getting into the dating scene, even though they, as you point out, are used to splitting the bill. So, while splitting the fika bill is a part of dating, it’s hardly the key issue.

      • Chiara says:

        I don’t know why it is called “going Dutch”, because i think most Dutch man would pay on a (first) date. Maybe because later on in dating people tend to split the bills.

        • Shannon says:

          I’ve heard that “going Dutch” has it’s roots in an old (no longer held) English stereotype of the Dutch – namely, that they’re cheap. Expecting the woman to pay half the bill would be a “cheap” thing to do, hence, “going Dutch.” Some other phrases about the Dutch convey the same sentiment:

  12. Layla_White says:

    I know, it’s was more informative comment then post related ))), dating and “who’s paying” is not the same term, just reading the comments realised that this “split the bill” part got some indignation! Great post! Thank you )))

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  14. Marion says:

    It’s interesting, I never really thought that there are such rules, like you have to dance or people think you’re suspicious (I’d probably stay all night in corner, haha, so thanks for the tip!) and a bit funny. I like the fact that Swedish guys treat you as equal (even though it strays a lot from the “Hollywood movies ideal”) but the whole dating process feels a bit…cold and calculated. Anyway, it’s a great post!

  15. Cora says:

    Thanks for shedding some light onto my boyfriend’s habits! He is Swedish and I’m American, but we met in New Zealand…it was definitely an interesting start to our relationship (a lot different than US boys) and we drank lots of coffees and (still) always split the bill! On the whole, I really like how egalitarian dating is in Sweden, it’s a lot more my ‘type’ than American-style dating!

    • Anton says:

      You don’t have to dance. In fact, you don’t even need to go to the club!
      As a Swedish guy myself, the article is very true and that is a common way to go about it.
      However, most Swedish girls would really appreciate being asked out or complimented in any given situation, especially by a foreigner. This is simply because Swedish guys don’t really dare being that straight forward with strangers. Now, naturally one would have to be a bit cautious about just how straight forward to be, some initial chitchat would likely be a good idea.

      Good luck mate

  16. Katrina says:

    Interesting! I have not been in the dating game for a long time. I am not even sure what the “rules” are here! But it is very interesting to read about.

  17. Lisa says:

    Am dating a Swedish man now and am so confused by what he is doing….

    I read that most Swedes take it slow but after our fika, he kept messaging me and is quite vocal about liking me.

    He just seem to be coming too strong. We will be going on our 3rd date and he is already joking about marriage and all.

    Am a bit freaked out but I like him.

    Any comments? Thanks.

    • Antonia says:

      Lisa, I’ve been thinking about your question. Two explanations seem possible to me. The first one is that he tries to adjust to what he thinks is “normal” for your culture. He might be aware that Swedes are often considered to be too shy and passive when it comes to dating, so he’s trying to be the opposite and is simply overdoing it. The other explanation could be that he actually is very shy and that’s why he makes all these jokes to hide that fact and to disarm a potentially difficult subject. Do you think any of this seems likely? Either way, I think he’s probably very into you, otherwise he just wouldn’t bother.
      Of course, there’s also the third option, where he actually is very pushy. However, something tells me this is not the case.

  18. Lisa says:

    Thanks Antonia :) What you’ve said made a lot of sense.

    I was just a bit worried that he is into no good… Given the fact that we’ve met on an online dating site I was a bit skeptical of what he was doing.

    His promises is just a bit unusual for my culture… He promised to make me a cake for my next birthday (next year)…

    Keep you posted ;) thanks again and have a great day.

    • Jenny says:

      oh, but as a Swede I would consider “baking a cake for my next birthday” as a very sweet thing. If a guy promised be that I would go “aaaw”. (but then, if you’re still dating/in a relationship/whatever at that point and he doesn’t do it, then I would kick his balls and teach him that empty promises are extremely unsexy)

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  21. Sarah says:

    Jätteroligt att läsa din “relationsserie”! Än bättre av alla intressanta kommentarer. Dessa skillnader är inget faktiskt inget jag reflekterat över tidigare.

  22. Natalie says:

    I was recently in Stockholm. One day in the morning a very cute guy caught my eye in the train station. But I was too busy talking with a friend (we were lost, oops) and this guy appeared again from nowhere by our side, he looked at me and got out of the station. I was like “ok, probably he is waiting for someone”, and then, five minutes later, he did the same; walked inside the station, looking at me, and went away. Three times. Haha!

    Anyway, I still remember his face and I just find it so sweet and funny. I don’t even know what am I doing here, I should go to Sweden right now, don’t you think? :-)

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  24. Marcus says:

    My experience in Sweden is that these people are very uptight, much different than Danish. I lived in Denmark for 2 years and all I had to do was say hello, and ask for directions, and the next thing I would know they would be asking all kinds of questions like what are you doing in Denmark, but they are genuinely interested in hearing what you have to say, and then they want to teach you Danish, because if they like you, they want you to stay in Denmark. Unlike some of the immigrants that dont want to integrate into Danish society, but still take full advantage of all of the services available. I dont get these Swedish girls at all, but now that you have given me a little information, I will see if I can put it to use. I don’t even like coffe.

  25. Ramirez says:

    Well,Russian girls first ask you to take them on a dinner or to by a drink no matter on her social status.They are always nervous for two years now i stll dont know why,i just cant adjust to Russian girls,i am to slavic but totaly different world for me.

  26. Ann says:

    hi i just met this guy tru online, at first he just saw a pic of me, after that he asked me out, and then there it goes. its not within a day, i guess it took a week for us to be lovers. So, then we met on cam and i dont feel any changes since we already seen each other(cam). He is 15 that time and im 16 and im asian, and there’s a part of me asking myself if this guy really likes me because hes from west part of the world and im from the east part(philippines) so i decided to broke up with him (too bad on the x-mas day) *i know its sounds stupid* then we saw each other again in the new years eve via cam and he was like crying seeing me. But the thing that really bothers me is : why he didn’t asked for us to be together again? . The following months, communication is still goin on, and it looks like we’re still together, we did the things we used to do which should not becoz were not together anymore. Is it just he is flirting with me? are swedish guys are loyal? or?

  27. Marc says:

    I’m glad I found this site. I’m a man from the Netherlands and I’ve always been interested in Swedish ladies. Simply because they are very intelligent, beautiful and honest.

    I didn’t know about how to go about approaching a Swedish lady. Thank you so much.

    Grtz from Marc

    • Angelou says:

      Totally agree with your comment mate,I live in England and an opportunity I met a girl from Sweden, and it really was beautiful in personality and physicallyi..I look forward to visit Sweden.

  28. dillci says:

    Thank you so much for this input! :)
    I had to figure out some of these things the hard way with danish guy, but i think they apply there too.
    I just don’t know what to think, when some of them are pushy and call u some nice words or wish to pay your bill? Because I know how the things goes usually there and that confuses me :) Could you help me with opinion ? :)
    Thanks in advance !

  29. dillci says:

    oh and also it was very annoying when the other danish women were doing exactly that with my bf and pretending that is just friendly coffee. That’s how i got the essense of this dating game. They were watching him like they would ….. infront of me, so i got the rules of the game this way.

  30. Max says:

    Great place to talk about the art of dating in Sweden! I met a swedish girl a couple of months ago but she’s coming back home next month, and I’m quite confussed about her behaviuor, she’s a great girl and I wouldn’t like to screw it up if I tell her what I feel. At the very beginning we helped each other with our languages ’cause I’ve been studying Swedish for about 4 years, and she’s learning Spanish but then we started hanging out (cinema, park) she even invited me to have lunch and I met a friend of her. We use to write to each other by e-mail(once or twice a week). Anyway, I told her subtly that she’s in my mind a couple of times, and how much I’m gonna miss her when she comes back to Sweden, but she seems to be quite cold about that. In fact, I don’t know what to do :-7

    • Antonia says:

      Hi Max, thanks for your comment! I can understand that you’re anxious about this girl’s behavior. To me it seems like she might have been reserved since she knows you won’t be living in the same city for much longer. Maybe she’s confused about her own feelings. Anyway, I think you should be brave and tell her how you feel. It might turn out that she feels the same way about you, but maybe not. However, I think you’ll definitely regret it if you keep your feelings secret from her.

  31. Eric says:

    Wow, This is not good news! I’m supposed to go to Sweden sometime in the near future, and was hoping to meet a Swedish girl…but I can’t/don’t dance! What if I asked the girl if we could skip the dance, and just talk? Is there no other option but to dance your way into a Swedish Girl’s heart?

  32. Dave Olson says:

    What if you happen to be a 53-year olde widower of some nine years now? No kids, financially secure, but two cats lol. Great article and nice replies!! All the best from Chicago, IL. USA

    • Nick says:

      Dave, I came around this page, maybe to late for you..
      However, in your case you may face difficulties to find someone even to talk to in Sweden. Swedes are not that openminded they say they are. I am in the same situation but I LIVE in Sweden. I am a person that may talk to strangers spontaneously, but here in Sweden people tend to step backward and look at me like “do I know you?” attitude. I travel to the US once or twice a year and don’t get this response. A fika is a DATING, nothing else! It’s just another word for it, because Swedes don’t want drama. Good luck with your cats!

    • Nani Wijaya Nasution says:

      I love cats, I have two too.

    • Nani Wijaya Nasution says:

      Dave, I love cats, I have two too.

  33. luce says:

    thank you very much. i want to know if a asian girl fall in love with swedish man, how to know he is love you, and how will he to tell she his love. shound we believe when he say “I love you”. beacuse in europe ” I love you and Ilike you” as a we getting someone ” good morning”.
    love and like , i am confused .

  34. nena says:

    Hello Antonia!!
    I’ve read you post, it awesome to learn all of that about Swedish culture date… I’ve met a guy and that’s way I have jump into this trip in knowing Swedish culture. So, all what I have read about describes perfectly this Swedish guy, his about 35 years and single, that I think that’s normal for him.
    however, I can’t understand why he is sometimes straightforward to talk to me and others hes is totally cold and distant. I think he’s not at all interested in me… well, I hope you could help me, just to understand why sometime men are very talkative and the next day very distant.
    Great post!!!

    • dillci says:

      Dear nena,

      from my experience with them, he is not much into you. He is maybe just flirting from time to time when he is in a mood or he just being nice in their swedish/scandinavian ways. I ‘ve been through that. So this in my opinion is not a good sign. Sorry :/
      There are just like the sweetest temptations in the World, but not real ones….

  35. Nightmare on Elm Street says:

    Freddy Krueger is rather better than Swedish men.

  36. Raina says:

    hey Antonia. Your article is really well written and i had quite a laugh over “swedenizer” because i did have someone say i had a “Swedish fetish”…Nah! On a more serious note, i want to say that individuality does matter. There will be cultural differences and i believe, India is one mixed up place where every 200 kms is like a new country.

    My online friendship with two swedish men (a coincidence lol) was quite an eye-opener. That will never make up for going there for real but who knows? Someday i might and i would love to!

    The thing is, i am very close to one of them and we have been communicating for many months. He is quite shy but these days, i think indiska is rubbing off on him! A few days back, he finally told me that he may have a bit of a crush on me but he isnt sure because he has never met me. Same goes for me. I really adore him but its reality. The little changes i have noticed in him ever since we reconciled after a fight is that he blatantly tells me that he wants to talk to me instead of chatting. Earlier it was me who kept bringing up talking on skype. He writes “hugs” these days in emails and i nearly died lauging when i read your post! He now tells me to fix the day and time when i will skype with him.

    He is such a sweetheart and is so considerate of my time and feelings. I know its a long message but i have to say this:

    “i dont care if he is swedish and i can hardly roll my rr to say his name right. Both of us are unique and should just know the person without this generalized mindset of someone being boring or cheap because of their nationality!”

    I do hope i meet this sweet svenska friend someday and can say his name the swedish without turning scarlet!

  37. dillci says:

    Dear Raina,

    I just want to say something in order to help eventually :)

    In my case, when he was “so considerate of my time and feelings”, it was that he was much more considerate of his time and feelings and extremely touchy when i started living with him. When I was meeting him for 3 years, before we decided to live together, he was really the prince on white horse for me, so adorable so adorable ….. he was my dream. :/// and just when we started to live together i realized what the thruth was :)
    So we didnt live happily everafter :(

    Sorry for the sad story, but just wanted to say this, because love makes us blind, very often.

    • Maruf says:

      Dear Dilci
      This is the truth, “ove makes us blind”! It’s always difficult to find the real one as a life partner.

  38. Maruf says:

    Interesting and informative.
    I’ll try to apply to find someone ! :)

  39. cobb says:

    This comment is not intended to hurt or criticize any one *
    :) a word (word’s) of advice for people who are searching for honest relationship.

    never go to bar’s or clubs or try to find a partner over there UNLESS you are not interested in forever relationship’s.
    Even if it’s hard try to search for a vegan and a non drinker :)

  40. pilot says:

    so who wants a fika? :)

  41. Bethany says:

    Great article – learnt a lot from it! One thing though, how does a non-Swedish girl like me start talking to a Swedish guy? They seem really shy and are a bit funny about talking to strangers from what I have heard so how do I do it? Is it best to speak for the first time in person, online or what? I’m 17 and want to move to Sweden in the future so obviously I want to meet some guys as friends and potential boyfriends… help much appreciated!x

  42. Alastair M says:

    I am black and have lived my whole life in Scotland. I recently met a Swedish girl and I’ll tell you when I heard about the fika thing I laughed as on various occasions I had met with her for coffees and I had thought that it was obvious that I was interested in her. For months I texted her and spoke with her and met up frequently. But apparently it wasn’t obvious to her that I liked her till I asked her to be my girlfriend. But luckily she said that she thought that I liked her but apparently the coffee meetings and such weren’t obvious signs of my affections due to the cultural difference.

  43. David says:

    A lot of interesting reading, There’s nothing like an ‘outsiders’ view to get the true picture. For all of you I wish y’all luck with your Swedish dating. Please keep the mindset that cultural differences and misunderstandings are just more opportunities for laughters and fun memories.

    For those of you still puzzled of Swedes, please keep in mind that Swedes are a traveling people, why a lot of people pick up habits and customs from other regions, sometimes correctly understood, sometimes not(this is the category what makes the most fun to read, please share your stories!!)

    Hmm, I might be outdated here(=no dating what so ever in over 10 years). Still I am surprised to hear that no one has mentioned “drinking tea” = one night stand OR just drinking tea after the party (don’t screw it up!..). Make sure you know your teas.. ;)

    Could kind of be good to know just as for a Swedish girl that moved to Italy and discovered the hard way what it meant to go out three times with an Italian guy, trying to kick the guy out of the doorway that was trying to understand what he done wrong..(stories please!!)

  44. Pingback: Dear readers! | Swedish love affair

  45. Pavel says:

    Swedish girls are totally racist , only 1-2 percent are open minded. Your color of skin is a big factor in Sweden. Swedish girls hates Asian guys. They like to date with white guys wherever they are form. I have been in Sweden fur 5 years , I never met any one if them, rather I dated with Russian, Japanese and Chinese girls. I don’t know why, when they see me they behave differently, on the other hand they behave nicely with white guys. Even in dating sites I found the same , me and my German friend , we said ‘hi, how r u doing’ bcz if my Asian face in the site , no reply . On the other hand German guy had his face and wrote the same words, he got reply from 9 girls out if 12. Me zero out of 12. So, they are simply damn racist. I really wanted to have a Swedish girl asy lover, but failed completely and bus gave up completely. Fuk off!! Sorry for bad words and and offensive behavior.

  46. alieninsweden says:

    Well after living in the usa for a long time I came back to europe and decided to spend the first 18 months in sweden before moving on. I had heard from an older guy that he lived here in the 90s and had a great experience.

    But times have changed…

    I have to saw it is one of the most awful social experiences of my life. My Icelandic friend really was not joking when he said the Swedes are boring. Before I came here I really thought he was just biased.

    It is even worse then he described.

    I am not saying I am some kind of Don Juan or expect women and men to just be on the look out for sex but it is like the average women in Sweden just do not even have a sexual libido or lack the ability to flirt. Then you have some that are always hunting for a foreign boyfriend but no one is actually interested in them because they have some really bizarre interpretation of reality.

    Sweden… A real disappointment! Avoid like the plague.

    • Mats says:

      I totally agree. I’m a Swedish man and I have never understood Swedish girls. I also find them boring and up thigh. Also never letting us be men because we always have to be equal the feminist way. Now I have met a filipina girl who’s friends invited me to dinner. We been married for 5 years now and we never had a bad day together. I’m the happiest man alive. And she let me be a man and so I don’t need to guess anymore what is expected from me

  47. Sol Mexicano says:

    Tjenare!!! Ok first of all ” Viva Mexico Cabrones”!!!! haha.

    well yes people , thats the art of knowing new cultures , Swedish girls are not an rare human been … ok a little.

    i love this culture , i dont have any problem here ,i am from mexico living in sweaden and i dont even need to change the way i am , i always happy showing a big smile to them, they love it we connect somehow and i understand the difficulty to live on a higher latitude whit out sun .. ( energy ) . that my friends its the reason of all that emotional disor…. ok no no disorder … emotional complexity . but anyway
    retaking the dating issue … yes you most fall a procedure to conquer those precius eyes.. its hard and if you came from a warm country my friend you must to canalize your energy ,, i am wild open whit my emotions and i have been shoked when after a nice comunnication and a beutyfull one night stand sudenly she dont respond any message .. expect that. so my advice is balance your energy show it pregressivly , do the fika ritual , and all that protocol that they are used too thats how they roll .. no problem i can be flexible ,, be flexible .

    the question is … completing this requirements will unchaing 100% that thouhg heart that sometimes dominate this awsome girls?…

    ha det bra !!

  48. Gaurav says:

    Hey , gr8 post … I am planning to do my masters in Stockholm at SSE, could u explain me my chances of dating a Swedish ? I am an Indian and is it true dat Indians r looked down upon and r ignored by Swedish girls ? Honestly I haven’t found a conclusive answer yet ….

  49. HeMo says:

    Swedish are jealous about good foreign people and they are extreme discriminators. They are under skin racist. except individual exceptions, this is a general culture of this weird country and that’s a reason only cheap people will immigrate to sweden.
    there is no culture, if swedes are behaving like this, it doesn’t mean it’s a correct way. many of them are depressed and they kill themselves because of depression. so nothing to copy really!!!

  50. HeMo says:

    and also as much as they saw cheap people who degrade themselves and their country for some benefit in front of them, has gave swedish this hallucination that they are quite different people or their life style is quite exceptional.

    Professionals will never do this, they don’t degrade their home country, they don’t beg for social benefit, they are hard to control (if you don’t know administration) and again that’s a reason why sweden is like a vacuum cleaner for cheap ass ones.

  51. Sarah says:

    Okay so I have to assume (for obvious reasons) that this applies to meeting someone in Sweden. The man I am very interested in met online, and while we do text a fair bit he does end his texts in *hugs* *kiss* sometimes cuddles or will start his messages in a simple “hi sweetie”. Does this bode well for me? I find that I have a hard time reading Swedish men in general. As I don’t find them as expressive as the American men I’m surrounded by. And what kind of things should I look for culturally when we finally meet?

  52. Anastasia says:

    NOW all those Ace of Base songs about dancing make sense! TY for the education.

  53. Emilio Aguiar says:

    Thanks for sharing Antonia! …im brazilian and very curious about the swedish culture. The swedish way of life is really unique if compared to other countries where society tend to be more conservative. When it comes to dating we may find huge differences on how women and men interact with each other. The swedish society are based on equal rights but in some cases the laws benefit women in many aspects in detriment of the men what i consider it estremely bad if you take in account that the laws must be equal to everybody. The swedish feminism worked hard to build an equal society but in other hand they also contribute to become men passives and their lack of atitude became the relationships so superficial that they simply does not open the door’s car for woman, they don’t pay the bill at restaurant and so on. It all happens because men are afraid to take the first step into relationship and instead of being the leader of the relation.they preferred to stay away of its own nature but the feminism created all this things and that is really very bad to both men and women.
    im sorry but i still believe that both women and men have different roles into the society and when it comes to relationship is obivious that when some rules are broken we are creating unhappy people. Men was created to be leader and women comes behind… that’s the rule. The most ardent feminist desire to be dominated to a real man but if you say it to her she will rationaly deny it because all the process occur unconsciously, and rationaly she will never assume it , any way, Feminism will continue preaching its teachings in sweden and the whole world but i ask you. Are Women more happy than before?They achieved money,power, status, but ….are they happy?..that’s the question!

  54. Mike says:

    Speaking as an English guy who has been to Stockholm on business several times, I don’t recognise anything in this post or these comments. I’m not saying you are wrong, just that it has never been my experience.
    I found the women to be extremely forward and very direct in what they wanted. I found some of them to be almost predatory in their approach to me. Complete contrast to the UK where I as the man would make the first move. I also found the men to be chatty and friendly in social situations.
    Generally a very good social experience and I have recommended Sweden to many friends.
    I think dating in Sweden is more of a problem for foreign women because they are not used to paying or making the first move. If you are a foreign man then dating in Sweden is easy because the women take so much initiative.
    Having read this post and all the comments I feel like I got off the plane in a different country!

  55. bolo123 says:

    Haha!!! I always find these types of websites about Swedish culture/rules/ways of life very amusing. Although some of the dating “rules & norms” in Sweden as written above are actually very true (for the most part), I also believe that most people who try to analyze every little thing about all of that are always leaning slightly towards a somewhat “extreme” bias of it all. These stereotypes about Swedes can sometimes seem to take on a “life of their own” if you know what I mean. But in general, Swedes are quite overall reserved towards anyone they don’t know -whether that stranger is a pure-Swede or a complete foreigner does not really make a difference. For a Swede to “open up” it takes building a lot of trust between them and new people in their life, and that trust has to be built up over time. This also applies to love relationships (even more).

    • kadji says:

      I am an attractive, well educated, intelligent, passionate, sweet
      young woman with a good, true heart in search of love and marriage!
      I’m single now and also willing and ready to accept a serious and
      honest man in my life. I’m still single, no kids and no job at the
      moment. I like being with people and have fun. I’ve always been
      interested in foreign men, international cultures, architecture,
      costumes, have a vision of global perspective and taste. I will not be
      playing any guy because they are very serious and honest to find a
      good man to be my future husband and father of my children.

  56. Abdel says:

    as a Moroccan, in my eyes I see sweden ladies are the most beautiful ladies over the world, here I mean only the body beauty or the beauty of what is outside, but the other side of beauty such as the beauty of moralities,behaviour, soul and how they threat their lovers is still unknown to me since I have never meet any swden lady, frankly I hope that I can find someone to share lufe with and build together our own home. if it would be realistic. Yes for Marriage, No for silly dating.

  57. Sam says:

    2 days ago I gave my phone number to a very beautiful swedish girl but she has not called me yet! I am going crazy! it is very hard to wait, I don’t know what to do, I asked my friend about swedish girls, he said don’t expect any call before 4 days, is it their culture that they call after 3-4 days? or she changed her mind? here is the story:
    I went for shopping sport gloves, she was one of the salesman, she was amazing, there were 2 salesmen, it seemed she was interested in me, she welcomed my question regarding gloves location, then she came out the counter to show me the gloves location, her explanation was more than enough , so I thought maybe she is interested in me, I asked her name, she said her name and then said she is from Sweden, I said I love swedish girl, I wish one day I find a swedish gf, i am looking for one, I asked her if she has bf, she said No, I asked her if we can have a dinner she said Ok!, I asked her phone number she said, she cannot give it to the customers because she works here, so I wrote down my number on a piece of paper and gave it to her. it is more than 2 days and she has not called me yet! if she doesn’t call should I go to her again? what should I do?

  58. eve says:

    I never understand, why is Sweden among the best of public transportation??

  59. Cavalli says:

    I met a swedish guy in club not in Sweden and we spend the night together. He was really nice, he opened the door of the car and paid for everything. The only problem was that when i left he didn’t ask me for the phone number. He was on holiday. I cried two months for him. I liked him a lot and i can never find him again.

  60. Tyn says:

    Help. I’ve been seeing this Swede guy for over a month. We’d see each other almost every weekend and he seems really really nice. He compliments me, he smiles when he talks to me, he flushes when i crack a joke, and he makes plans on what to do the next time we see each other. And oh, he remembers details of my life often. We already have inside jokes and we’ve discussed deep conversations as well. I’ve been to his place and we cooked dinner together, I even did some dirty dancing on him
    When we went clubbing. But he never really talks about “dating” and just gives me a hug when we see or bade goodbye to each other. I asked him if he’s seeing someone else, and he said he’s not. I’m Asian by the way and he said I’m really sweet and he could feel the warmth and care compared to his fellow Swedes.
    I’m very confused. 7 dates and it’s all ambiguous acts. My friend told me to ask him out officially, while the others said i should just wait.
    I dont want to ruin how good things are but this has been going on for so long.

    • Lin says:

      Hi I can understood what hppan on you.cuz it’s different in asia.people always date 1 or 2 dates the guy will ask the girl to be his gf.but in sweden they more relax about date or relationship. I met same thing with my bf, he made me confused cuz he always want time to think should we become couple or not.I asked 3 times in 2 month but we been together in the third time. I think you should just ask him, I think over one month is not too long but ok to ask be officially date or relationship.

  61. horizon says:

    He still just happy to spend time with you as friend. You are still not in next stage for him .

  62. fbb says:

    Hi all,
    I am a brazilian man living in europe. In the last few months I was approached recently 5 times by Sweedish girls in public space (street, bar, night club…).
    They look at me and they walk directly and approach me and start to talk… “Hi … what is your name…bla bla bla”. First time happened in Rio and most of the time in Switzerland, where I live. Last time yesterday. I replied to her and asked “are you Sweedish ?” She says yes, i replied ” ohhh I could see you are Sweedish” (could only be… only sweedish girls approaching me, i thought in the back of my mind), and she gets shy and goes away. I don’t really understand what they expect.
    Only 2 days ago the same happened but in a bar, i got the tel number and we have been talking in the whatsup. Maybe i followed the rule of the fikka… by chance.
    I find them very pretty, but a bit slippery; maybe because i was not playing by the rules before. In Brazil normally the entire meet,”coffee”, Fikka cycle occurs in a time frame of maximum 20 minutes. I mean, just to give a kiss does take too much of logistics, nothing wrong with this…. no ?.
    Anyway, I am not a latin lover kissing… 20 girls per month. But I would like to have a Sweedish girlfriend… now i think I understood the game.
    Anyway, I find Sweed girls funny I wish i had one as a friend.

    best Regards


  63. fbb says:

    Almost forgot to mention… Once there was this Sweedish lady at my office and she was supposed to give me some documents… and she said she would show me everything i wanted… further she said she wanted even to show “her secret thing to me”. I got embarassed.

    On another ocassion, on my company’s offsite trip, the same sweedish lady entered my room and almost abused me.

    I am very normal apperance, but Sweedish girls “only” like me… this is sure.


  64. fbb says:

    I mean sweedish girls are the “only” that approach me so aggressively.
    I think they like man in the style of Christiano Ronaldo.

  65. Monica says:

    To Tyn:

    I think he likes you. Asking him out officially is totally okay. In fact, I think he would be delighted because he’s timid and maybe he’s not one to always speak out what’s in his mind, that’s his culture.

    Btw I’m Asian too, I’ve been with a Swedish guy for a year now. Those things you said he did, mine did too. And he’s not the openly romantic type, not one who writes songs or gives flowers. One thing that stuck to my mind though is that he told me asking him to go out or whatever is okay and that there’s no power relations in the relationship.

  66. Tyne says:

    hi all, i did ask him and unfortunately he said he doesnt want to date. It was strange because of the times we’ve been together it was almost 80/20 chance he would go for it.
    He seems to be having a lot of hang ups from his ex and even a friend who just met him for the first time thought he has issues with himself.
    After that confession we hang out and seemed like nothing happened. We were our usual selves. However he started to lay low in maintaining contact with me. He still replies but doesnt expand the conversation anymore. I asked him if i did something wrong or stepped over a line and said my sorrys. He said i shouldnt cos i did nothing wrong. But there is a change of course and i should agree it happens naturally.
    Honestly i felt pissed a bit. I tried my best to remain civil and just let it pass thats why i still hang out with him and talk to him despite being the one who got rejected but he’s the one breaking ties.
    Hes a really nice guy but i dont think i would want to be with a man who thinks like this. What a shame, we were happy together and i could have really loved him if he allowed me to. Anyway, im moving on.
    Remember, having your sh*t together shows confidence and maturity and that’s really sexy ;)

  67. añn says:

    I am a woman of color and I am dating a Swedish man. We met online about three months ago. I find him confusing, jealous, a bit controlling but,overall, he is very polite, intelligent, tall and handsome, and dresses very well. At this point, he says he is in love with me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me. He is attentive. Sometimes, he text many times during the day every day professing his love for me. It’s exhausting . I find his attitude strange, to say the least. I thought he was mentally disturbed. I must admit he scared the !!!! out of me. I tried to end it with him several times but he continues texting saying how much he loves me. He would text until I felt like I would vanish from exhaustion. I gave in–succumbed. We are still dating and now marriage is in the picture. Too soon in my book. He ends his messages with kisses hugs. Thanks everyone. Your messages has helped me a lot in understanding Swedish men, at least mine. Puss puss

  68. Erfan says:

    This is so true, everything you wrote. There are a lots of informal principles and rules and you want to make sure you don’t miss a thing ..after all its the thoughts that are important….or ???

  69. Girl Interrupted says:

    How do Swedish men perceive women who goes to bed with them after only two dates? (If you call it dates.) First meeting was fika, then second meeting involved movies and dinner and some wine. Things got really going well and we did the deed. However, I am still wondering if that’s something to worry about since I’m not Swedish girl.

  70. Han says:

    Hello all.

    A Swedish guy approached me at a club one night. We had some few conversations like getting to know each other and after that, we found ourselves kissing and going to his place. You can call it probably a one night stand but when I had to leave, he was begging me to stay. I was really flattered because I do really like the guy and want to know him better. I told him I have to go because of some appointment and told him that I will be back after. He agreed. And I went back to him just like I told him. So our one night stand just turned into a “two” night stand. After that, he told me that I had to leave because he has some work to do so he bought me home and told me “We’ll talk later” and kissed me. One whole day of waiting but there are still no call nor text from him. I do really like him so what I did was texted him. He replied after almost a day saying: “Hi! Sorry for the late reply. Do I need to check on you daily?. I was really pissed but I kept my composure trying not to get mad at him or scare him off. I told him I was just bored and tried to expand the conversation and asked him if he can go with us tonight, he told me that he’s going to some place which I just told him to take care. After that, I tried to greet him a happy holidays but replied after almost a day AGAIN telling me that he’s sick so he was not able to reply. Again, I am pissed but I tried to expand the conversation again. It seems pretty annoying because he was really sweet and all cute when we were together. Even hold my hands while sleeping. But after that, it seems like nothing happened. I do really like him but I don’t think it’s going somewhere. Should I try to avoid him and delete his number and not to talk to him again?

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