The problem with Swedes

In many ways, Swedish people are lovely. They’re generally well educated and pleasant. The odd time I’ve ever run into trouble with Swedes (drunks, for example) they’ve backed down immediately as soon as they’ve realised that I’m British, too keen to practice their English to cause any problems.

But they do have their issues. For all their self-professed egalitarianism, there’s a – to me – shocking level of passive -isms among Swedes. Sexism, racism… and aggression. Wow, the agression.

As a race, they have passive-aggressivity down to a fine art – indeed, it’s a cultural trait that they don’t even recognise. Here’s the latest example that I’ve encountered.

About 3 weeks ago I last met my friend – I’ll call her Anna – in the flesh. We don’t live near each other so we meet quite rarely. When we met, she did something that hurt me deeply, and, as it was far from the first time she’d done this – and promised never to do it again – I made a sarcastic remark. But over the last week I’ve been noticing that her emails have been full of passive aggression. Today, in an effort to find out what I’d done to offend her, I’ve looked back and realised that in fact this all dates back to when she was in the wrong and I had the temerity to call her on it.

So now what? If I mention it, she’ll imply that I’m imagining it. If I ignore it, I’ll keep getting more and more annoyed. I love her dearly, but maybe it’s just time to give up on her? Then again, any other Swedish friend would almost certainly exhibit the same behaviour – and I live in Sweden. Sigh.

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