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Five rules for dating in Sweden

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Five rules for dating in Sweden
12:20 CET+01:00
So you've made it to Sweden. You've learned the language basics, you're always on time, and you remember to take off your shoes. So now what? Here it is, what you've all been waiting for - an introduction to dating in Sweden.

Swedes have a reputation for being beautiful. But they can also be difficult to get to know. For those from more outspoken, talkative cultures, Swedes may be a mystery.

Each and every person is unique of course, but if you're hoping to sneak onto the Swedish dating scene, there are some basic guidelines you should follow. Here are the top five.

1. Make a move


Don't just stare - start a casual conversation and ask them out for fika!

The first step of Swedish dating is don't be shy. Girls, if you're waiting around for that hot guy from class to ask you out, chances are that he won't. And it's not because he's not into you - it's because of gender equality. In Sweden, there is no reason why the girl shouldn't make the first move.

But remember, the same thing applies for guys. If you like a Swedish girl, just go for it and ask her out. Regardless of gender, it's worth making the first move when trying to date a Swede - because they probably won't.

2. Don't call it a date


They may be in love, but it's not a date. It's just fika.

One of the most important and most confusing things about dating in Sweden is that it's not dating. So don't call it a date.You can ask out a classmate for fika, but not a date.

After you've had fika a couple of times you can move on to other activities. Maybe suggest cooking a meal together or going ice skating. Dinner and movie won't come until much later - but even then, call it dinner and a movie, not 'date'. 

3. Start and end with a hug


Learn how to do a casual Swedish hug. If in need of practice, turn to a tree. There are plenty.

Many cultures greet with a kiss of some manner, perhaps a kiss on the cheek. Honestly, that will creep a Swede out. Don't do it. But Swedes are huge fans of the awkward hug, where you lean in and wrap your arms around each other and then separate again. Each fika 'date' and activity should start and end with a hug.

Don't move on from the hug until it's clear that it's more than fika, and that the feelings are mutual. Kissing is complicated.

4. Be prepared to pay 


Some Swedish girls will appreciate it if you pay- others might be furious.

Those cups of coffee and cinnamon buns sure to add up, we know. It's not cheap. But hey, at least you only have to pay for your own!

Sweden is all about equality, and that includes dating. As a girl, you should never expect the guy to pay. He might offer, but he might not. And guys, feel free to be gentlemanly and offer to pay for the girl - but if she says 'No thanks', she really means it. Do not insist on paying for a girl. 

To Swedes there is absolutely no reason why one person should pay more than the other - so always be prepared to split the bill.

5. It's always exclusive


Seriously, one at a time. You're setting yourself up for trouble if you run into them at the same time!

Okay, this may seem odd since Swedes don't really 'date', they only meet up for fika and activities. But, once you are 'dating' - having fika and hanging out regularly, that is - it is assumed that you are not dating anyone else.

In other words, it's not okay to fika and flirt with multiple people. (Fika with friends is fine.) One Swede at a time, folks! Otherwise you're cheating, even if you haven't actually said you're in a relationship.

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