Moving to a new country and then making new friends is hard. Moving to Sweden and making friends is like waiting for hell to freeze over. A friend over on Twitter ask me to write a bit about what’s it like to make new friends here.
First, the collection of articles on living in Sweden.
For me, I was lucky; I knew people who knew people. Still, it took a lot of random conversations with a lot of people to determine if I wanted to be friends with them.
Swedes for one, can take awhile to become friendly and become friends. Making friends with Swedes who have lived in the same city all their life is the hardest, probably the worst thing you can do. These Swedes have always had the same pillar of friends from grade school to gymnasium to university, plus or minus a few friends. As a result, they are stable, don’t need new friends, and don’t need more things to do. Skip making friends with these Swedes until you are settled down and comfortable with life.
I made the easiest friends with the Swedes who have lived abroad. They have more of open mind and can relate to nomads. You can meet these Swedes at pub quiz nights, international companies, meetup clubs, and even blogs (hi Hairy Swede!).
And it’s okay if you don’t have many friends; your possy in Sweden maybe smaller than what you had at home. But make friends with people you enjoy being with.
Here are some places, online and offline to meet more people in Sweden, not just Stockholm.
Meetup.com – Meetup has meeting all over the world. Find local meetings in the city you live. Stockholm and Gothenburg has regular meetings and outings and the people there are really friendly.
Couchsurfing – Surf on someone’s couch for the night and make a new friend. Great if you’re about to move to the city. You can also go to the couchsurfing meetups to meet people who host surfers or just want to hang out.
Working or attending university – Try not to work at an über Swedish company. You know which companies those; they’re large, impersonal, and no one cares about anyone else. University is great to meet other foreigners but difficult to dig up the Swedes. Work hard at initiating conversations with them.
Embassy or native culture events – If you are in Stockholm or Göteborg, you are lucky. There are always embassy/consulate events going on for citizens to feel back at home. In some of the smaller cities there maybe joint groups not run by the embassy but maybe a business or cultural group.
Yoga Lessons – A long shot but at least you get in shape and get out of the house.
Swedish classes – A total hit or miss. You will meet foreigners, not Swedes so this should not be a priority on the list of making Swedish friends.