26 July, 2018

Visiting Etiquette – Sweden Edition

آداب الزيارة

Meeting new people can be challenging when coming to Sweden. However, when you finally have found friends, you want to keep a good relationship with them. Knowing the Swedish etiquette of visiting can be very useful!

The first time I had my Swedish friends over is when I learned most of these unspoken rules. They were so nice, they brought flowers with them and they kept complimenting the food the whole evening. I received a phone call the next day to thank me. I also got invited to their place a week after.

In my home country (Lebanon), if you’re close to the host, it is better to arrive earlier in order to help with preparations. You don’t have to take off your shoes at the door either, but bringing a present is a nice gesture. Texting the next day or so is not really known to be one of the manners people follow, but returning the invite is very well appreciated.

Useful things to keep in mind when visiting someone in Sweden:

  1. Never fail to take off your shoes at the door along with your outer clothes (jacket, scarf… etc.)
  2. Take a little present with you. Whether it is wine, chocolate or flowers any gesture is highly appreciated.
  3. Never arrive early. If you agreed at 7, try to arrive at 7 or 10 to 15 minutes later. If they are preparing for your arrival and you come earlier, it is considered stressful.
  4. Also, keep in mind never to arrive too late. You have a 15-minute window after the agreed time. So if it is 7, arrive no later than 7:15.
  5. If the visit includes a meal, mention how good the food tastes. It won’t hurt if you say it more than once. And ask for the recipe to show interest.
  6. Thank them again at the door before leaving.
  7. Texting the next day and saying thank you also shows appreciation.
  8. Don’t forget to invite them for something to show good manners.

I like how the norms are here, and I even made my family back home follow the “take off your shoes at the door” rule. It took me some time to get used to the norms here, but now it is part of my lifestyle. It is never inadequate to show good manners.

Find out more about Swedish etiquette here.

Have you experienced something different? Let us know in the comments.

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Sara Al Arab
My name is Sara. I was born in England but lived mostly in Lebanon. I moved to Sweden in 2015 to live with my husband. I live in Linköping. I have a bachelor's in Business. I am still taking Swedish lessons and hoping to find a job soon.

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