Swedish Etiquette on Personal Space

Putting a barrier between yourself and your conversation partner helps preserve each person's personal space.
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Different cultures vary widely when it comes to the issue of personal space. Some prefer to stand very close and use lots of physical contact, while others, including the Swedish, are much more protective of their space bubble. If you come from a culture that does not require as much personal space and you stand too close to a Swedish friend or business associate, you may find them slowly inching away from you.

1 Don't Stand So Close to Me

When talking to a Swedish person, keep at least an arm's length distance or a little more between you. Be aware of your conversation partner's space throughout the conversation, and make sure you maintain the distance. A handshake at the beginning of a meeting is customary, but after that, avoid any casual touching.

2 Words are Enough

Swedes use less nonverbal communication than Americans and many other cultures. Avoid using big arm or body movements while you're talking, or you may inadvertently invade your partner's space and make them uncomfortable.

Amy Wilde has worked as a grant developer, copy editor, writing tutor and writer. Based in Portland, Ore., she covers topics related to society, religion and culture. Wilde holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and classical civilization from the University of Toronto.