In Sweden, most relationships start with a drink. The Swedes usually require a glass or two of liquid confidence before they can muster the courage to make a move. However, despite their innate social awkwardness, they have gained a reputation for being sexually liberal. This reputation is completely and undeniably true and makes dating as difficult to navigate as a jungle.
The concept of dating in Sweden is tricky, rowdy, and difficult to grasp, especially for foreigners. Luckily, this article provides you with some useful phrases and everything you need to know about Swedish dating rules and customs to master the art of dating a Swede.
Since Swedes go to bars and nightclubs for one main reason, it's easy to find eligible Swedes to date. The hottest places to find people to date are located around the famous Stureplan in Stockholm. Stureplan is located in the posh area of Östermalm and is often frequented by celebrities. When you're at Stureplan it doesn't matter in what direction you look; there are a plethora of bars to drink at, clubs to dance in, and people to fall for.
Imagine that you're at the fashionable nightclub Sturecompagniet. People are raving on the dance floor under the purple lights, the DJ is playing your favorite song, and you're feeling invincible. Suddenly, in the crowd near you, you spot a ravishing woman who is moving to the rhythm of the beat.
You look at her for a while. She finally looks back at you. She smiles. That was the cue you were looking for; she finds you charming, too, and she won't stave off an approach from you. You remember that the Swedish dating scene is a lawless jungle but you have some of that liquid confidence in you, so you walk over to her.
"Hej, vad heter du?" - "Hello, what is your name?" This is a simple phrase and a great conversation starter. It's an innocent way of starting a conversation, and a way to see if there is any chemistry between the two of you. The Swedes don't use any formal version of "you", so you don't have to worry about being rude or too informal.
"Du är den vackraste i hela rummet" - "You're the most beautiful person in the room" The most effective way to flirt with a Swede is to compliment them.
"Du är väldigt snygg" or "Du är vacker" - "You're really hot" and "You're beautiful", depending on how forward and aggressive you want to be in your flirting. You should know that in Sweden, which is a country that values gender equality, it is also common for women to ask men out, so don't be caught off guard if you get hit on.
"Du har ett vackert leende" - "You have a beautiful smile" A compliment goes a long way and is a great way to show that you're interested in someone.
"Du är perfekt" - "You're perfect"
"Du är så sexig" - "You're very sexy"
"Du är rolig" - "You're hilarious"
"Är du singel?" - "Are you single?" In Sweden, it's common for people to be in a relationship for years without getting married. Thus it is customary for those in the dating game to ask whether they're in a relationship before making a move.
"Ska vi dansa?" - "Do you want to dance?"
"Får jag köpa dig en drink?" - "Can I get you a drink?" Buying someone a drink is customary in Sweden, and it's a great way to get a conversation going. After finishing the drink, if there is chemistry, you go back out on the dance floor. Now, when there is confirmed chemistry between you, you dance closer to each other.
"Ska vi gå någonstans där det är tystare?" - "Do you want to go somewhere quieter?" This is the classic way to indicate that you want to get more intimate. You leave the dance floor and go somewhere quiet to talk and get to know each other. Since you're in happy and liberal Sweden, you're going to get hot and heavy sooner than you know it.
"Ska vi hångla?" - "Do you want to make out?" This is a common informal phrase that people use when they want to make out. It's usually used when there's alcohol involved, and it's by no means a romantic thing to say.
"Jag vill kyssa dig" - "I want to kiss you" This phrase, on the other hand, is romantic and eludes desire and passion.
"Kyss mig" - "Kiss me" Use this phrase and you'll be getting hot and steamy in no time.
"Jag gillar dig" - "I like you"
"Ska vi gå hem till mig?" - "Do you want to go to my place?" Congratulations, you're spending the night with a Swede. This does not by any means mean that you're in a relationship–for the love of God, don't ever use the words "relationship" or "date" after spending a night together or you might scare the Swede away.
Swedes are easy to talk to once you get the conversation going. They're cheerful and chatty and often surprisingly honest. You will quickly notice that the elegant and melodic cadence of the Swedish language makes anything they say sound like a marvelous musical. To get the conversation going with a Swede, you can use the following phrases.
"Hej, hur är det med dig?" - "Hi, how are you doing?"
"Vad du ser fin ut idag!" - "You look nice today!" Swedes like to compliment each other and can be very straightforward with compliments.
"Vad jobbar du med?" - "What do you do for a living?" Swedes care greatly about their jobs, and this is a foolproof way of making a Swede talk.
"Är du härifrån?" - "Are you from here?" If you're in Stockholm, there's a high possibility that the Swede you're talking to has moved to Stockholm from another town.
"Visst är det märkvärdigt väder vi har?" - "How about this weather?" In Sweden, the weather is almost always chaotic. In spring, it's not uncommon to experience sun, rain, snow, and hail on the same day.
"Vad har du för planer inför helgen?" - "What are your plans for the weekend?" Everyone loves the weekend. Swedes either spend their weekends outside or in bars, depending on the season. In summer, Swedes like to spend time in the archipelago, and in winter they often throw house parties (or "hemmafester").
"Vad tycker du om ___?" - "What do you think of ___?"
"Hänger du med på en drink?" - "Do you want to join me for a drink?" The concept of going for a drink after work is greatly appreciated in Sweden, and many workplaces use this concept to create a stronger sense of team spirit.
You met your eligible Swede at Sturecompagniet and now you have spent the night together. What next? This is the tricky part of Swedish dating culture: a relationship starts to form the more you hang out–neither of you even have to mention the words "date" or "relationship".
The Swedes are laid back and look at relationships in a liberally. You go on dates but you don't refer to your meetings as dates. Instead, they count as casual social engagements. After a while, provided that you still enjoy each other's company, you eventually become exclusive.
Swedish dating activities are usually fun and spontaneous. On a Swedish date, you might take a stroll along the river, spend the night watching a movie or go out for a fika–the Swedish word for having a cup of coffee with someone you care about.
"Kanske vi kan ta en fika nångång?" - "Perhaps we could go out for a fika sometime?" This is the most common line to say after you have met someone (if you're interested in them). Going out for a fika is a simple and casual way of spending some time together over a cup of coffee and a delicious dessert.
"Kan jag få ditt telefonnummer?" - "Can I have your phone number?" Don't call a Swede. Send a text instead.
"Ska vi kolla på en film tillsammans?" - "Do you want to watch a movie together?" You know what this means. This phrase is the Swedish equivalent of "Netflix and chill", and it's the perfect, steamy beginning of a cold, Swedish winter evening.
"Ses ikväll?" - "See you tonight?" Although this phrase is short and seemingly innocuous, it is well known in Sweden to have sexual connotations. You wouldn't ask this of a friend (unless you're interested in this friend and feeling brave).
"När kan vi träffas igen?" - "When can I see you again?"
"Jag kan knappt vänta tills jag får se dig nästa gång" - "I can barely wait to see you again"
"Jag är galen i dig" - "I'm crazy about you"
"Jag saknar dig" - "I miss you"
"Jag vill spendera mera tid med dig" - "I want to spend more time with you" This is a clear and innocent way of telling someone that you like them.
"Ska vi gå ut på en söndagspromenad?"
"Should we go out on a Sunday stroll?" The Swedes are outdoorsy and love nature, and the Sunday stroll is the most common activity on Sundays in Sweden. It's perfect for spending time together while enjoying the beautiful Swedish architecture and landscape. A söndagspromenad naturally ends with a fika, because what is better than drinking coffee together with someone you love spending time with?
At some point during your spontaneous Sunday strolls, movie nights, and casual social engagements (that are clearly dates), you can begin to call yourselves a couple. You both acknowledge that your relationship is exclusive, and thereby the nature of the dates also changes.
Going out for dinner is an activity that is usually reserved for serious couples. Dinners are intimate and romantic and signify the desire to spend time with someone you care deeply about. At this point, you might already have developed feelings. You might even have fallen head over heels for the Swede you met at Sturecompagniet.
"Jag älskar dig" - "I love you" Who doesn't like to hear that? This phrase is used by lovers and sometimes between family members. You only say "jag älskar dig" to someone you really love.
"Jag är kär i dig" - "I'm in love with you"
"Mitt hjärta hoppar till varje gång jag ser dig" - "My heart stops every time I see you"
"Du gör mig lycklig" - "You make me happy"
"Du är min andra hälft" - "You are my second half"
"Mitt liv vore inget utan dig" - "My life is nothing without you"
"Du är mitt livs kärlek" - "You're the love of my life"
"Jag älskar dig med hela mitt hjärta" - "I love you with all my heart"
"Jag älskar dig för den du är" - "I love you for who you are"
"Jag vill spendera resten av mitt liv med dig" - I want to spend the rest of my life with you" They say that when you meet the love of your life, you just know. Maybe the Swede from the nightclub is your soulmate?
"Vill du gifta dig med mig?" - "Do you want to marry me?" Marriage is a big step, especially in Sweden. Swedes tend to live many years together before the question of marriage even enters their minds. It's also common to have children long before marrying. If you're going to ask a Swede to marry you, you better make sure you're both on the same page.
Stockholm is a beautiful and bustling city surrounded by lush greenery and shimmering waters. In Sweden, the sun never sets in the summer, and people hang around in parks and outside of restaurants and bars all night long. No matter what season, there is always something fun to do and somewhere romantic to go for a date.
Ice skating in Kungsträdgården
In the winter, native Swedes love to go ice skating in Kungsträdgården. The park is located in the very center of Stockholm, close to the Grand Hôtel. Skating in the snowy park with strings of lights hanging between the cherry blossom trees and music playing in the background is probably the most romantic thing you can do in Stockholm.
Going for a Sunday stroll
One of the most popular areas to go for a Sunday stroll is the island of Södermalm, the hip and bohemian part of Stockholm. This area offers fantastic art and music, and new restaurants and cafés pop up every week. The architecture of Södermalm is a remnant of old times: while strolling along the streets and alleys, you'll see quaint buildings, wooden houses, and picturesque parks.
Get a fika
There is nothing more Swedish than fika, the Swedish word for taking a coffee break. However, the Swedish obsession with fika is more than a mere caffeine addiction–it's a lifestyle. Going out for a fika is a way to spend time with people you love, to focus on other things than work, and to unwind. Johan & Nyström make amazing coffee, stylish Kaffeverket is popular among the Swedish natives, and the 1920s-style Vete-Katten is perhaps the most famous café in all of Sweden.
This is the loveliest, prettiest, most ideal place in the entire city to go for a picnic. Skinnarviksberget is a hilltop in Södermalm which overlooks the south of Stockholm and Gamla stan. In the summer, during those long and golden Swedish summer nights, both Swedish natives and tourists gather here with baskets of snacks, beer, and wine to enjoy the scenic views and lively atmosphere.
PS: you can use our free web app, VocabChat to record your own Swedish phrase lists.