Where to find new friends and how to make new friends in Sweden? I have discussed these two questions with my Swedish friends and the frequent answer is I should be able to make new Swedish friends through some Swedish friends that I have already had. Ok, what would happen if I don’t have a Swedish friend that can introduce me to his/her friends? Same thing happens with chicken-egg problem. Even if I have Swedish friends who can introduce me to their friends but does it mean that I can’t find any friends on my own. “Is that so difficult to act on my own? “ I questioned myself. I was not satisfied with that answer so I have tried out my own ways:
Lunch time or breaks between classes were those occasions that I found it perfect to find new friends. I thought it would work well but it turned out the other way around. I found out that I could not randomly asked Swedish classmates (whom I never talked to) if I could share the lunch table with them. They were so polite to let me join them but they were more interested to talk to their friends than getting to know me as their new potential friend. The situation became more awkward if I just randomly landed on some lunch table with Swedish school mates taking different classes or programs. They would ignore me after 5 minutes. Throughout the years of my college in Sweden, I managed to make 5 Swedish classmate friends and 4 Swedish school mate friends whom I still get in touch. Till now, I keep wondering, what went wrong?
At the gym, it was not much better than at school. Swedes feel weird if I just come up and say hi and ask them how they are. Is it because they don’t know me? Will the situation be better if a friend of them know me and introduce who I am?
Church is much better than college and gym. I’m surprised by their initiatives to make friends over there. The church, as a social place works out well for me.
Public Library offers different social clubs. It was better than college but not as good as church. People tend to stick to their established social groups rather than trying to get to know new people.
What about inviting Swedish friends and their friends to my place?
Yes, it was a brilliant idea. I don’t remember how many times I have employed the trick. Sometimes, it was a success, and of course, naturally some were failures. One thing I could not explain why there were some friends of my Swedish friends, being invited to have dinner at my place for couple of times, never recalled who I was and what my name was when I bumped into them somewhere in Jonkoping few weeks later. Some of them, as I suspected, even try to ignore or, at least, turned the other way when seeing me somewhere in town. Any explanation? Once, I even witnessed how my Swedish friend ignored his friend when seeing her on the street. Is that because he was shy?
When having a few Swedish friends, I really appreciate their friendships since they are very caring and loyal once I get to know them. However, I keep asking myself, are some Swedes reluctant to get to know strangers because strangers should gain their trust first? If it’s the answer, then how strangers can gain their trust if some them (Swedes) don’t give strangers a chance to know them (strangers)?