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Top 10 Ways to Annoy a Swede

Why am I writing this post you might ask? 🙂

Let’s put it this way.

There’s nothing wrong with a little cultural insight however you may choose to use it.


1. Cutting in the queue.

The annoyance of queue cutting doesn’t even start the moment the deed is done.

If you look even remotely out of place in the ’pre-queue’ almost a line forming phase…

If you look like you’re even thinking about cutting in the queue.

There are Swede’s whose blood is beginning to boil!


2. Talking loudly on your phone in a public place.

Wherever you are, Swedes are about ’respect’.

Respecting ’personal space’ – that’s the 1 meter radius physical space that surrounds them.

Respecting their right to peace, calm and quiet.

To be talking loudly in your phone is to invade their right to clear head space.

To continue talking loudly in your phone is to disregard their very being.

To persist in talking loudly after receiving ’the look’ (translation: slightly nodded head and direct gaze of disapproval) is to be labelled socially incompetent at the risk of verbal correction.

…A bad oversea’s connection – forget about it! No excuse is excusable.


3. The LOUD ring signal.

We’re back to the right to clear head space.

A loud ring signal ANYWHERE, is a no!

Neglecting to turn it off before a meeting …And we’re back in the ’respect’ corner.


4. LOUD music …Yes, even at home!

Wherever you are. I’m sure I’ve said this before.

Swede’s are about respect.

You might be in your own home.

You might think that it’s ok to enjoy your food, your music, your party.

But you had better have given all of your neighbors advanced warning that you were having that party!

It better be on one of the only two acceptable days to have a party (friday or saturday – incase you were wondering).

And it better be an infrequent occurrence – once a month is about the limit.

Or your friendly neighbors – not liking confrontation – are more likely on the third occasion, to call the police than knock on your door and ask you to turn it down a bit.

Don’t slip into the mistake of believing that sport events are an exception from this rule.

There’s one exception.

That’s right, one.




5. Neglecting to clean the shared laundry facilities after your scheduled turn.

Oh there’s a lot to touch on here!

Firstly, make sure you’re only in that room when you’ve scheduled to be there!

If there’s a free spot, don’t just use it. Schedule it.

Don’t start packing up when your time is up.

When the clock strikes …There shouldn’t be sign or sight of you.

The handover from one scheduled time to the next is not the time for chitchat… Now, I’m not saying you can’t. BUT, that chitchat needs to happen outside the laundry, as you’ve already exited it at EXACTLY your vacated time.

That’s RESPECTING the next scheduled time.

And it HAS to be clean!

No leftover powder or softener in the machines.

No fluff on the drier filter.

No muddy footprints on the floor.

No drips of water in the sink.

That’s right.

Dry it out!

Or what you have down there is a very unhappy Swede, muttering away to themselves about the lack of respect.


6. Not wiping the bathroom floor with a ’squidgy mop’ after having a shower.

Yes, it’s a shower room, yes water is consistently spraying onto the floor.

Yes, immediately after you’ve used it someone else is going to walk in and wet it all over again.

Yes, there is a cleaner, employed to clean it at the end of the day too.

But it’s about respect.

Respecting that the next person that walks in probably doesn’t want to stand in the water that’s run off your body onto the floor

– no matter how clean your body may have been.

Making sure that they have the chance to step into an ’almost’ unused bathroom right on after.

Without sign or sight of you.

…Isn’t it nice to be able to pretend you’re the only one around!


Annoying Swedes in the traffic:

7. Standing your car outside a garage exit.

No, I’m not talking about parking your car outside a garage exit

…That one may be universal.

I’m talking about stopping your car, momentarily, engine still running, driver still in the drivers seat.

That’s it, you just pushed a button.


8. Crossing the road to slowly.

So you’ve already figured out it’s only ’acceptable’ to cross at a designated crossing.

But now that you’re there, you’d better speed it up!


Respecting that the person in the car has places to be.

That you’re holding them up.

That it’s barely reasonable for them to have to wait for your toddler to toddle along beside you.

I’ve seen people pick up from walking, to running just for the sake of the crossing laying in front of them – and the little traffic light man only just turned green!


The finale:

9. Belittling or making a dig at ANY Swedish achievement.

Ok, ONE joke might be ok.

Then you’ve filled your quota for the evening.

And make sure not to throw punches more often than every third meeting with the same people around.

Otherwise …Well, why do you continue to live here anyway?!


10. Sitting next to somebody on any public transportation – if there was ANY other option available.

It’s about the 1 meter radius, remember!

Unfortunately public transportation planners have not considered this necessity when designing seating.

There should in fact be one seat on each side of the bus, with a yellow line drawn a little way out from each, as a ’do not cross this’ marker for each row of seats.

In this setting the Swede is being subject to invasion of their space in a closed environment where they have little or no option to do anything about it.


top 10 ways to annoy a swede

Linking up ’Top 10 Ways to Annoy a Swede’ with #TheList, #PoCoLo#WeekendBlogHop & #BrilliantBlogPosts
The Reading ResidenceMy Word of the Week: Annoy

What annoys you?

What else do you think annoys a Swede? 🙂


    • Haha! That’s hilarious.
      A neighbor and friend of mine is Greek, and her husband Swede… It’s a wonderful family dynamic 🙂

  1. I am not remotely Swiss…although a genetic test I recently undertook showed that 16% of my genetic material seems to come from Norway so make of this what you will. Anyway, I’m off to play loud music and mop the floor with something other than a squidgy mop. #BrilliantBlogPosts

  2. Oh Lord, this made me laugh so hard! I’m an expat Swede living in the UK, and this is spot on. Just don’t get me started on all the other stuff that could be added to the list!

  3. Correct me if I’m wrong but I’m picking up on a ’respect’ vibe here!! Great post, I’m guess this is all learnt from personal experience, right?! Haha!

    thanks for linking up to #TheList

    • Haha! That’s the funny think isn’t it. Sometimes we’re just not as different as we thought we were 🙂
      But for others this list would just make the Swedes sound weird 😉

  4. This is hilarious I absolutely loved reading this!!
    I tell you what swedes and Seychellois people sound like total opposites!!! They blooming well love an obnoxious ring tone here and all conversations are held at shouting level not just phone calls (let alone long distance ones!!)
    There aren’t many official ’crossings’ here but they appear to only be used by tourists. Wandering out in the road is TOTALLY standard!!!!
    Thanks so much for linking up with #myexpatfamily always love your posts!! Xx

    • Haha!! That’s hilarious Chantelle.
      That’s just it isn’t it, we can behave so ’normally’ and not have a clue how much we’re bringing others blood to the boil 😉
      …So, I have to know… What are the Top 10 Ways to Annoy the Seychellois people? 😀

  5. Hehe this is so funny, I think a lot of these would be true for Danes too, I thought we Brits loved to queue but it seems Danish (and Swedish) people do too! It was amazing the year that I lived in Denmark that I realised how similar and how different we all are =)

    • Yes Jenni, I definitely think much of it would be true for the Danes too. But there are still so many differences 😉
      I’d love a Top 10 list for the Danes… I’ll have to check that out! What did you notice?

    • Haha! It’s funny isn’t it… We’re not always quite so different as we might imagine 😉
      Thanks for popping by.

  6. I enjoyed reading this post Steph. I have never been to Sweden or ever met someone from there but I’ll remember this post if I ever do. I know a few English people that get really annoyed with these too, especially queue jumping and crossing the road slowly.

    • Thanks Gemma! The funny thing about Brits and queue jumping, is that whilst disliking it – probably as much as Swedes – we’re still way more likely to do it! …Would you? 😉

    • Haha! Yes, it’s often IMPOSSIBLE to impose any such ’rules’ on public transportation – especially at busy times. Stockholm’s public transportation in-between rush hours is actually quite calm though. There are many times people can sit with whole seating sections in-between each other – The Swedish underground dream 😉

  7. Excellent information in case I ever find myself in Sweden. I’m currently reading a book about Being English and is is fascinating what we take for normal yet foreigners are totally bemused by. I think I need to do a bit more French watching to see what gets their goat! #pocolo

    • Ooh I read ’Being English’ a while ago! I love looking at ’my’ culture from a different standpoint too 🙂
      One of the areas the book touched on was the British idea that just because you’re in a car and it’s moving, you’re invisible and you can pick your nose to your hearts content… When in reality you could be slowing down in front of a traffic light and have another car coasting along right beside you… Suddenly removing your finger and putting on the ’of course I didn’t do that’ look at the second the car stops, isn’t exactly ’covering your tracks’!

  8. I agree with a fair number of those especially the train one. Why do people do that! It’s even worse when they start chatting to you when you’re quite clearly trying your best to ignore them.

  9. Some of that stuff I totally get like the personal space thing – I was thinking I was a secret Swede then. Not so much on the obsessive cleaning and laundry thing.

  10. Brilliant post Steph, if I ever visit Sweden I’ll be sure to print this off and take it with me. I always thought that the Swedes were fairly relaxed about everything – now I know! Thanks for sharing x

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