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Unhelpful Swedes – blää August 26, 2006

Posted by Aella in Sweden.

Something I find extremly unattractive in many many Swedes is their unwillingness to help other people. It is not common that people hold the door open to strangers. If you walk behind someone as you are about to enter a door you can be pretty sure on getting the door in your face. Happened to me the other day and has happened many times before. Men are especially bad at holding the door open. I shiver when I think of how rude I think it is. And I find it so Swedish.

There are of course some good people here like everywhere else but I seem to bump into to what I think is rude people all the time here.. If you drop something they usually simply ignore it and step over it and let you pick it up even though they are close to it. After having lived in Lebanon for two years I am really not used to this kind of behaviour. You can here in Sweden for example see a woman carrying really heavy bags of shopping plus pushing a pram and no on will help her and I mean no one. Even old people carrying heavy bags struggling on their way home and no one gives a helping hand (I do so don’t even go there ;)). It’s a really sad society where people seems to help each other only if they are paid or asked to do so.

I have even experienced incidents with lost children crying for their parents and no one gave a damn. It always seems as if people assume someone else should take the responsibility for things. You can just look at how the old people here are treated. They simply get dumped in nursing homes and left there for years. Many not getting any visitors at all except for at Christmas and other holidays due to the fact ther their precious kids “are too busy working”. Is this a decent way of treating people?



1. Liam - August 28, 2006

I’ve noticed a bit of this in Stockholm. Mostly I notice younger Swedes seated in busses and trains unconcerned with an elder Swede standing beside them. I almost feel awkward when I give my seat up, as if I’m doing something strange.

I must say however, that I’ve found most Swedes to be curtious enough. Readers Digest did a very unscientific study and found Stockholm to be 10th out of 36 cities in terms of politeness. (The full list is here:

2. Sous - August 28, 2006

Interesting article. No 10 isn’t too bad right :P. And yes younger people do not tend to give up their seats to older people. Strange isn’t it? I find that there are so many things people don’t do here that would be seen as extremly rude in other countries.

3. jerseytjej - August 30, 2006

And the most surprising thing was that NY, considered the harbor of rudeness came out on top! I often comment to my husband that people are very non caring here…I think it is deeper seeded than just rude. They just don’t care!

4. Andreas - October 26, 2006

It’s called “jämställdhet” and is a female “påfund”. 😉

5. Sous - October 26, 2006

Hehe it’s gone too far hehe. Miss you lots!

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