Reader’s Question:

In the hierarchy of perceived attributes in Sweden is humble No1…and what are the other 9 in the top 10?




This is my list, based on theoretical research (Åke Daun, Geert Hofstede), personal experience, anecdotal reference, and my own analytical mindset …

1) Humble & Modest – You said it yourself.

1) Prestigelös – I can’t find a way of translating this into English. Prestigeless?? Does it even exist? You find it in all job adverts.  Basically, the idea is that you don’t care if others are being praised for what you only have achieved, and vice versa, you don’t mind being blamed for what others have done. Actually, it is probably the same as humble, and goes as number 1.

2) Factual – If unsure, stick to facts, not opinions. If someone asks you about the weather, say 23 degrees, not good. Numbers, in general, are great conversation starters.

3) Predictable & Consistent – Better than being really good once in a while.

4) Sticking to plans – Including being punctual. It takes a long time to make a decision in Sweden, but that means very little time for implementation. Please do not suggest changes even though this would mean a superiour outcome.

5) Mildly Extrovert – We are not very good at it ourselves, but we do love socially skilled people. Of some reason this is defined as being extrovert, only not too much.

6) Careful not to disturb others – There is nothing more important than other people’s privacy. It is so important we tend to go for the safe option and ignore each other completely.

7) Pragmatic – We just don’t get theoretical reasoning. Work experience counts much more than theoretical knowledge.

8) Politically Correct – sarcastic jokes will not go down well.

9) Lutheran – Work first, fun later. Work out, exercise, walk in the rain, question yourself.

10) Loyal – to the people we really care about. This is also why it takes such a long time to get to know us. We want to be completely sure it is worth the effort of friendship.