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Campaign aims to teach Swedes how to say 'hi'

Campaign aims to teach Swedes how to say 'hi'

Published: 01 Oct 2012 08:56 GMT+02:00
Updated: 01 Oct 2012 08:56 GMT+02:00

A housing company in southern Sweden is spending 1.3 million kronor ($197,000) to help tenants learn how to say hello to their neighbours.

The "Säg hej" ('Say hi') campaign was launched by the MKB municipal housing company in Malmö to help build a more friendly atmosphere among tenants.

Among other things, the campaign features a brochure with helpful tips on how to make small talk with neighbours.

One should avoid yes-or-no questions, for example, and try to prepare an open-ended greeting ahead of time.

"It's sometimes enough to smile, nod a little, or make a small gesture," MKB spokesperson Margaretha Söderström told the TT news agency.

"Basically, it's about noticing one another and not averting your glance when meeting others."

The campaign also features an accompanying Facebook page where tenants can share different ways to greet neighbours and receive additional tips about the art of making small talk.

"Sometimes you don't get a hello in return. That can feel a little so-so. As if you were invisible or not worth the little effort it takes to nod or say hi," reads one recent post.

"But don't lose your self-confidence or get annoyed when someone doesn't say hello to you. That someone doesn't say hello can depend on several different things."

The post then offers up several reasons for why someone might not say hello, including that they are daydreaming; they think you are saying hi to someone else; or they've been frightened by a "provocative and aggressive" t-shirt design.

According to Söderström, the 'Say hi' campaign is also about increasing tenants' sense of safety.

"We know that in the stairwells where neighbours known one another a little better and maybe speak to one another, things are both more pleasant and secure and there is less vandalism," she told TT.

TT/The Local/dl

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Your comments about this article

09:43 October 1, 2012 by byke
Its very sad times, when a nation has to be taught how to communicate with each other.

Add this with the barriers of mistrust and other generalizations, it makes it easier to understand why Sweden is so xenophobic compared to the modern EU.
17:20 October 1, 2012 by Hamsterdam
A positive initiative that should be congratulated and not demeaned by negative journalism by insinuating it as a money wasting exercise.(if indeed the intent to do so is down to The Local as much on here is cut/paste/translate into poor English)
17:44 October 1, 2012 by calebian22
Maybe this initiative will help avoid the dead pensioner rotting in his apartment for months with no one noticing scenario that seems to happen all to often in such a small country.
18:24 October 1, 2012 by entry
It is my understanding that the follow up programs "heads up" & "duck" will be equally well funded but those programs have been designed to save lives.
18:56 October 1, 2012 by Mb 65
If you are a good friendly neighbour then people will look after you. You cannot expect people to be friendly and worry about you, when you want them to. My wife walks down to collect the paper every morning then one morning I did, and the phone rang our neighbour thought my wife was ill.
20:30 October 1, 2012 by Migga
@ byke

"Sweden is so xenophobic compared to the modern EU"

What`s your source to this claim? Or is it just your opinion?
20:53 October 1, 2012 by cogito
@Migga, It is the experience of all those who have lived in other countries in Europe. Sweden is xenophobic.
20:57 October 1, 2012 by dizzymoe33
Remember the days when we all lived in very small communities and had no choice but to speak and interact with your neighbors in order to survive the harsh living conditions?! A simple hello and how are you doing? can go really far in life. Any type of compassion and acknowledgement is accepted and wanted.
22:39 October 1, 2012 by Dr. Dillner
It is just so typical of a Swede NOT to engage in social banter . . . part of the culture that money will not help.
22:40 October 1, 2012 by millionmileman
This is ludicrous because being from england people used to say "Hello!" Well now Britain has become Americanized so now they say Hi.

But how come the Americans did not adopt the English hello? I think they probably adopted Hej from the the Swedish immigrants and the rest is history.

Why not teach Swedish neighbors to just say Hej in the first place
23:40 October 1, 2012 by EP
Won't work, force feeding things like this to an entire nation ...

Perhaps the company should give out free booze, that will get the Swedes to get mutter a few stupid silly words ...
07:18 October 2, 2012 by ZenMonk
Gr8! Hope my neighbour will stop peeping through her door lens to check the hallway is empty before stepping out.
11:21 October 2, 2012 by rise
"Hej!"

See, I'm a fast learner.
17:31 October 2, 2012 by cogito
After all, this is the nation that has to pay parents to spend time with their children.
18:49 October 3, 2012 by intrepidfox
It would be nice if they could learn to say please and thank you first.
23:50 October 3, 2012 by Dan Juan
I agree with the comments of Intrepidfox, teach them to say please and thank you, starting with their children! Also to learn how to queue for buses & trains. I've been living in Stockholm for the past 5 years and am also sick of the 'averting the eyes routine' What's that all about ? Why are Swedes afraid to look people in the eye ? Hej, hej :)
18:24 October 5, 2012 by james7
In a recent survey, Swedes wanted to become more like the US than the EU. Well, their officials are doing a great job. The US government has many more money wasting schemes that they can transfer to Sweden. This is such a sad situation as I always thought Swedes had good common sense on how to spend their tax money.
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