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How to Piss Off a Swede

Sweden Student Work
by Madelaine Triebe Apr 20, 2015

1. Walk into our house with shoes on.

Even kids that just started to walk know this, so there really is no excuse. Shoes are dirty and should not be worn past the hall. If you do, we will give you the death eye, but we are too polite to tell you to take them off. However, don’t expect to be invited to our house ever again.

Don’t even get us started on walking with heels on our wooden floor (yes, we all have them. Carpet is so thirty years ago).

2. Mix up Sweden with Switzerland.

Oh, so you’re really rich, make great chocolate and really expensive watches? No, we don’t. We’re not the home of Toblerone or have a ridiculously strong currency. Get a handle on your basic geography, please.

3. Sit next to us on public transport when other seats are available.

Personal space is a big thing for us, so don’t invade it. We think you must be mentally deranged seeking out human interaction with a stranger. So please move at least two seats away from us so we don’t have to feel awkward.

4. Yell in public.

All public spaces in Sweden are quiet and if you talk loud enough for the third person from you to hear, we think you are yelling. We don’t like it. Sweden is a quiet country and we would like to keep it that way. Don’t yell in the restaurant, on the street, on the train, in the gym, at Systembolaget — you get the picture. You’re just being annoying, disturbing the peace, and we can’t understand why you are such an attention seeker.

5. Try and claim the meatball.

We know the Italians have the polpettine, the Danish frikadeller and the Spanish albondigás, but let’s be real. Us Swedes invented them. We serve them at Ikea and made them world famous, so don’t even dare to hint that they would be anything than Swedish. We’re a small country, so cut us some slack — we need to brag about something.

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