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Old 05-20-2016, 03:31 PM
 
171 posts, read 67,841 times
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I am a guy from Sweden and I have been living in New York for the last ten years (with brief returns to Sweden every now and then), and one thing that I have noticed is that people in many parts of America seem very comfortable with speaking to strangers.
In Sweden we usually don't really speak to strangers that much, and if we have to sit close to someone for a significant amount of time then it will usually be quiet most of the time.
And my impression of American people is that they seem to have a much easier time striking up a conversation - for example, someone might immediately go "how's it going?" or people will randomly talk to each other in the school corridors or at the library etc.
It just seems much more casual in this regard compared to Sweden, and I am interested in hearing your opinions about this.
Maybe you have been to Sweden at some point yourselves and possibly noticed some significant differences in social interactions?
Because that's how I feel about America.
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Old 05-20-2016, 03:36 PM
 
28,905 posts, read 46,723,251 times
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Heck. You haven't seen anything until you've spent time in the South. Checkout lines. Casual restaurants. You name it.

Just last night, my wife and I went to a baseball game (By the way, I'm lucky to be married to a woman who likes baseball). So, there were people in front of us and to the side. A couple of twenty-something guys. An old married couple. Two office workers who decided to hit the game rather than go home.

By the time we hit the four inning, we were all cracking jokes and kind of knew something about one another. We even had a couple of mutual acquaintances with several people around us.

I like that, and I'm not even an extrovert.

Of course, it's not purely an American or Southern trait. We went to Canada several years ago and did the same thing. And I was in New Zealand for three weeks and met all kinds of people. So maybe it's just the Anglosphere.
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Old 05-20-2016, 03:41 PM
 
171 posts, read 67,841 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
Heck. You haven't seen anything until you've spent time in the South. Checkout lines. Casual restaurants. You name it.

Just last night, my wife and I went to a baseball game (By the way, I'm lucky to be married to a woman who likes baseball). So, there were people in front of us and to the side. A couple of twenty-something guys. An old married couple. Two office workers who decided to hit the game rather than go home.

By the time we hit the four inning, we were all cracking jokes and kind of knew something about one another. We even had a couple of mutual acquaintances with several people around us.

I like that, and I'm not even an extrovert.
Nice to hear that.

It's usually at parties and similar kinds of social gatherings that Swedish people relax and learn to know each other.
But my impression is that this is kind of what American people act around each other much more often, and that it's much more accepted for them to talk to people they don't know.
If someone in Sweden tried to start a conversation with a stranger at the supermarket or something then that person might come off as a bit weird - it doesn't seem to be that way in America, people here seem to be more like "ah okay, let's chat a while then" instead.
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Old 05-20-2016, 03:48 PM
 
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I grew up in Texas and we are just chatty like that. OMG my mother is the worst though. She has to talk to EVERYbody.
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Old 05-20-2016, 03:57 PM
 
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Yes it's typical pretty much everywhere in the U.S. - especially in the south. In fact, it's odd not to do it if you're in the south. I've never been to Sweden but have been in other parts of Europe and other continents - this chatty, strike up conversation with strangers trait isn't as common anywhere outside the U.S. in my experience. Once you've had a reason to communicate, though, I've found many Europeans to be more interested than Americans in opening their home to their new acquaintance.
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Old 05-20-2016, 03:57 PM
 
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I think Americans are considered friendly by people all over the world, at least for the most part. Northern Europeans on the other hand are generally thought of as more reserved.
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Old 05-20-2016, 03:58 PM
 
171 posts, read 67,841 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zentropa View Post
I grew up in Texas and we are just chatty like that. OMG my mother is the worst though. She has to talk to EVERYbody.
Haha, I had an encounter with a girl at a school in Sweden when I studied there a little over ten years ago.
She was surprisingly social even compared to other unusually social Swedish people, and seemed to become friends with everyone she interacted with.
She came up to me one day at the school library and randomly suggested that we should work together someday, and that was nice of course, although also a bit overwhelming.
I had never even seen her before and then five minutes later we had suddenly agreed to work together the next day and given each others FaceBook profiles etc, and when she left I was like "wtf just happened?", lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harpaint View Post
I think Americans are considered friendly by people all over the world, at least for the most part. Northern Europeans on the other hand are generally thought of as more reserved.
Yeah, "reserved" was the word I was looking for.
It's not necessarily like people in Sweden have anything against talking to each other, it's just typically not expected that anyone starts a spontaneous conversation, so people who do that may surprise a lot of people.
But like I said, it's very different at parties and other places where people are "expected" to talk to each other.

Last edited by Markus86; 05-20-2016 at 04:12 PM..
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Old 05-20-2016, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Athol, Idaho
2,182 posts, read 1,166,588 times
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It depends. If it is my husband, yes, me not so much. He talks to everybody and at times I wish he wouldn't.
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Old 05-20-2016, 04:01 PM
 
Location: SoCal again
16,038 posts, read 12,827,498 times
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yes, that is true.


Every time I go home to Germany and say something to a stranger, I get a nasty look usually. They might get suspicious and think I want to scam them or steal their purse.


BTW, are you blonde? I have never seen a non blonde from Sweden, is the main part of the population in fact light haired?
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Old 05-20-2016, 04:14 PM
 
Location: So Cal
40,438 posts, read 39,966,511 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markus86 View Post
I am a guy from Sweden and I have been living in New York for the last ten years (with brief returns to Sweden every now and then), and one thing that I have noticed is that people in many parts of America seem very comfortable with speaking to strangers.
In Sweden we usually don't really speak to strangers that much, and if we have to sit close to someone for a significant amount of time then it will usually be quiet most of the time.
And my impression of American people is that they seem to have a much easier time striking up a conversation - for example, someone might immediately go "how's it going?" or people will randomly talk to each other in the school corridors or at the library etc.
It just seems much more casual in this regard compared to Sweden, and I am interested in hearing your opinions about this.
Maybe you have been to Sweden at some point yourselves and possibly noticed some significant differences in social interactions?
Because that's how I feel about America.

I should move to Sweden, I have a feeling that the weather would suck. I'm used to sunny bright Southern California.


I think that maybe Americans tend to be a bit less reserved than say the Brits or the Swedes. I saw some documentary one time that talked about a country, I forget which one it was but there is very limited social interactions between strangers. It was a Nordic type/area.


I'm a more quite and reserved person IRL and don't care for a lot of chatty Kathy's, but that's just me.
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