why Sweedes dont speak to strangers Striking up a conversation with a stranger is the norm in many cultures, and could even lead to a budding friendship. Not for the Swedes, however.
Small talk is seen here as futile and is known as kallprat (‘cold talk’) or dödprat (‘dead talk’). Many Swedes have made an art of avoiding eye contact with strangers and acquaintances they might come across in the street by looking at their phones or instead staring at shopping windows to avoid ending up in these situations.
For Swedes, the purpose of talking is to exchange meaningful information, and it is simply not valued to engage in purposeless chit-chat.
In response, visitors to Sweden who try to initiate an informal conversation with a shopkeeper or waiter, even with the local “Hej” greeting, are likely to encounter a flat “Hej,” often with a subtext of faint irritation or mistrust.
Experts say that this reserve could be due to Sweden being a sparsely populated country in a relatively vast landscape, where individuals have become accustomed to rarely talking to those outside their immediate circle for hundreds of years.
Another hypothesis is that until the 1960s, this aversion to chit-chat could be linked to relatively low immigration levels to Sweden. Historically, minimal exposure to other cultures meant that Swedes were less likely to adopt this decidedly un-Swedish practice.
Yet Swedish people will almost always be polite and friendly despite their seemingly cool exterior, albeit simply in a different way to those from more talkative cultures why Sweedes dont speak to strangers.
It’s better not to talk without a reason in a country that reverses simplicity and practicality.