Friday, August 17, 2007

I don't get it

I have spent a week and a day in my old country now, and for the past couple of days stories about Swedish unhelpfulness have been coming from everywhere. (If you read Swedish, here is a really good one.)

There was a one such story in the paper yesterday, and then a visting German person was telling me something along the same lines too. He said that Swedish people will answer direct questions, but no one will ask open ended or follow up questions. Which means that you may be left without useful help after all.

It's embarrassing and odd that people in this safe and pretty country should be afraid of getting themselves involved with others.


Isle Dance said...

Interesting point. That is one of my struggles with my own family in Sweden. I'm not sure how to even categorize it (lack of emotional connection?) but it leads to many conversations where I feel as if I'm talking and their response is a dead end instead of a continuing conversation. It feels very sad to me, but I've not figured out how to remedy it. Did America turn me out differently?

Lotta K said...

As far as practical advice and help go I think Americans in general are very sensitive and generous. I have never had a situation where I haven't receieved help really fast from strangers or friends. And they will OFFER. They will ask 'what do you need?', and they will follow through.

To me it just looks like Swedes are afraid of getting involved. What I don't understand is what they fear will happen. Maybe you are right, that there is a fear of establishing a connection. The odd thing is that I don't remember. I think America did turn you out differently, and I think America has changed me slightly too.

Isle Dance said...

It's amazing what we notice when we spend extended time in multiple places.

I adore my family in Sweden...but it feels like a real heartbreaker to be missing that emotional connection. Until recently, I thought it was because we were the only family members who were raised in the States, thus missing out on family togetherness.

Interestingly, family friends in Sweden (who have spent extended time in the States) do carry a gregariousness and emotional openness unlike my own family in Sweden. You're helping me see that it could be because of their time living/doing business in the States.

I need to gain a little more courage and not let this discourage me from my continued attempts at emotional connnection with my own family. It is an interesting lab experiment, splitting a family between countries, that's for sure! :)