Scandinavia and the World

Comments #9728502:

Someone for Everyone 3 2, 8:56pm

Basic tip for any tourist to Scandinavia or northern Europe in general (I believe?) - be conscious of your surroundings.

If people give you a disapproving look when you speak (and it's not because you're saying something obviously offensive) - you're being too loud and they're disapproving.

Often people won't say anything though - but they will give you that disapproving look as a social cue that you're out of line.

And that goes for other social transgressions as well, so be aware of peoples reactions around you and moderate your behavior accordingly.

If you sense people disapproving but don't understand why - ask them in a friendly way if you're acting improperly in some way.

We're not big on telling others how they should react, because we're taught from childhood to show consideration to the people around us and be responsible for our own behavior.
Which also means that we'll often just write of people acting rudely or inconsiderately as disrespectful jerks not worth wasting one's time on as they should know better then to act that way and when they still do it's a sign they simply don't care.

Which, in turn, I suspect is the reason for at least some cases of foreigners believing us to be unfriendly.

It might well be that the persons believing this have broken social norms and have thus put people off without ever understanding it themselves.

I guess this observation can be true for many cultures, but at least in Sweden most people will never tell you openly if you've behaved badly, so it's up to you to be observant enough on the non-verbal social cues they give you.