Sweden as a country is characterized for its cleanliness, beautiful landscapes, and the wondrous Northern Lights. One of the four Scandinavian countries, it is home to a culturally diverse population. So how is it like to date a man from Sweden?
The Swedish are inherently well-educated and progressive but there are cultural traits, predispositions, and preferences that they have that must be taken into consideration.
This can be telling, especially if you are dating a Swedish guy. Let’s discuss what you can expect when going out with one!
The Fika Connection
While with men from other cultures, you can expect either a super-casual first date or an intense date-to-impress itinerary, in Sweden, your maiden outing will most likely be over a cup of coffee.
This caffeine culture known as fika is prevalent in Sweden. It is also known as the Swedish coffee break.
While it is mostly enjoyed by friends and family, many couples credit the beginnings of their lifetime relationships to the fika.
This is the subtle way of getting-to-know a Swedish guy. Mind you, don’t call it a date – you’re just having a cuppa.
And don’t worry about starving since you can order pastries or traditional open-faced sandwiches with your favorite brew.
That said, it will be worth it to learn – “Vi kanske kan ses över en fika någon gång?“ (Perhaps we can meet up for coffee sometime?)
Because, yes, Swedish men don’t consider it strange for the woman to take the first step.
Show Your Interest
Seldom will a Swedish man start a conversation, much less ask a girl out simply because he is attracted to her.
It is not characteristic of Scandinavians to act unless they are certain that their efforts will not be in vain. I’ve seen that with Danish men, I’ve seen that in Sweden as well.
Don’t be shy to show that you like him. Ask him out if you can!
Always bear in mind, though, to act while in the appropriate setting or venue. Office hours or putting them on the spot are some examples of when NOT to be forward.
If you struggle to learn a new language, don’t be worried about conversing with your Swedish date. They are usually fluent in English and very knowledgeable.
Be sure not to bore him with trivial talk and chitchat. Swedish men, by nature, are better listeners than talkers.
Don’t mistake their intense attention and minimal response as disinterest as they might be sizing you up already based on your choice of words and topics.
Don’t go for inflammatory topics like religion and politics over fika. Conversations that revolve around neutral but educated topics such as arts, culture, and nature are several good picks.
This will also help you feel if you are compatible with him, as sure as he is gauging if he can mesh with you.
Pace the Physical
In most cultures, it is normal to give a perfunctory kiss or do a “cheek-to-cheek” kiss.
In Sweden, this is an uncomfortable and awkward action for people who are just in the initial stage of getting to know each other. Hugs are preferred.
Anything more intense on a first “date” can be classified as liberal and fleeting. Kissing is considered intimate and makes things complicated when done too early in the game.
Of course, this is if you are looking for the longer term game. If it’s just a night… definitely things change!
The majority of the Swedish population is in no hurry to get hitched. Most women start their families in their early thirties, while men’s marrying age average at 36.
This implies that they will take their sweet time to find that exclusive partner.
If you manage to move on from fika to more dates together, something must have clicked.
When there is silence and you never hear of another coffee trip, much more an invitation to the pub – then it’s time to move on.
The looks are there for Swedish men
Just as it is the case with Swedish women, men is Sweden have very good genes which make them beautiful and quite irresistible.
They are tall and strong, generally with blond hair and light-colored eyes, muscular and toned and, truth be said, quite well endowed.
From a physical point, there are few reasons to complain about your Swedish guy. Maybe unless if you like going in warm places at the beach and they turn in red lobsters in just minutes… but that’s part of the fun and the package!
Going with the Group
If your man is not a loner or introvert, going out with a group of friends is the most likely next-step in dating a Swedish man.
It is expected that you meet up at a pre-party for drinks, and more drinks (yup, folks in Sweden to enjoy drinking)!
Be a team player and always remember to introduce yourself to others and punctuate it with a warm handshake, as this is a cultural habit of theirs.
Should there be dancing, don’t hesitate to ask him on the dancefloor as most Swedes are passive about asking a lady, especially if this is the first time you’ve been out since fika.
If you are casually seeing people, go ahead and enjoy the company. But if you are seriously considering this one Swedish gentleman, just be game with his clique but not overly flirty.
Love for Nature
You will know that you have entered the next level when he asks you to join him for a stroll during the weekend. Swedish men tend to guard their personal lives and “me” time zealously from outsiders.
Once you are allowed to invade his Saturdays and Sundays, he is upping up the ante. This might be a nice stroll through a scenic trail or biking through the woods.
It might involve some fika as well. So, if you’re one who enjoys the great outdoors, then you will get along just fine.
When a Swedish man invites you to a lovely restaurant or to watch the latest movie release in cinemas, then it gets a little more serious.
You are almost there, but not quite.
This implies the readiness to be spotted out together exclusively for now – not with the group. Only time will tell if it will get more serious. As implied above, they love to take their sweet time to be sure before committing to a serious relationship.
“Going Dutch” in Sweden
This is not a typo. It’s just a simple reminder that if you progress beyond the weekend walk to movies and dinner, your Swedish man will expect you to split the check.
Gender equality is a way of life in Sweden and women are not expected to be coddled or spoiled. Females are held in high regard – that they are very much capable of taking care of themselves and are men’s unrivaled equals.
So, don’t find offense when he calculates the amount of what you have ordered. Some simply divide it in half, easier, and less complicated.
No matter the mathematical method, be ready with some cash in your purse. It’s just the way they’re used to. And also understandable, having in mind the high cost of living in Sweden…
A Swedish man is, by nature, reserved. Culturally, they always keep their emotions in check and are not demonstrative at all.
While many cultures show love with big declarations and effusive praise, the Swedish man is shyer. They chalk it up to showing respect and being polite. This is their language of love for women.
Just be patient and learn to read his subtle non-verbal cues. Give him time to respond and collect his thoughts.
Your Place or Mine?
The majority of single Swedish men live alone, so having an intimate date or even a sleepover will not be a huge issue. Just be instinctive and go with the choice that is more comfortable for both of you.
The Scandinavian cultures are known for their penchant for honesty and openness. When dating a man from Sweden, don’t hesitate to speak up and express yourself in a direct yet polite manner.
They are not used to insinuations or indirect wordings. Mean what you say. This will be very much appreciated. It will garner more responses than dramatics.
Oh, and be punctual. Never say you can be there in 15 minutes when you are still going to step in the shower.
Time Your Gifts
When in a relationship, women often tend to be thoughtful and gift their partners items they feel he can use or appreciate. In the case of the Swedish man, reserve the giving of gifts on special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, or Christmas.
Sporadic gift-giving may make them awkward and might be misconstrued as unwise spending. Another cultural trait is that a Swede does not want to be ingratiated and feels bad if he cannot reciprocate your gift.
This forces him to go out and search for something that he feels will equate the appreciation you think he has. Then, it will become a never-ending process of give-take-give-take.
An immediate turn-off for your Swedish guy would be constant calls on his cellphone.
Rather than badger him with missed calls and awkward phone conversations, leave him messages or voice mails instead.
Keep It Simple and Smart (KISS)
The plus factor of dating a Swedish guy is that they appreciate classic simplicity. There is no need to put on tons of make-up and dress up like a model on the runway.
They prefer women who know how to take care of themselves, dress smart, and maintain a good practical lifestyle.
One Swede at a Time!
Swedish men, despite many stereotypes, consider exclusivity in dating a serious matter. Flirting while in a committed relationship is a definite no-no.
Characteristically observant, the Swedish man will size-up your behavior and ditch you if you go too far with being too affectionate with other men when you have called your relationship exclusive.
Dating a Swedish man is opting for a strong and steady partner. They value family life and once a strong relationship is established, it is most likely for keeps.
People tend to express emotions and affections differently across countries. What may be considered usual for many in relationships, may not be exactly the same for a Swedish man.
Knowledge, understanding, and patience will always make a huge difference in enjoying dates with your Swedish partner.
Editor’s note: This article was written by my good friend Mary, who spent the past 7 years exploring and enjoying living in Denmark, Sweden and Norway and during this time she had the opportunity to test, first-hand, how the men in this area are.