Party like a Swede – How to be Swedish

In this post I’d like to focus on the party habits of those Swedes in the typical party age, say between 20 and 35. An age when most Swedes live in a place they don’t have to share with their parents or kids.

How to party like a Swede

Chronologically, follow theses steps.

On a typical Friday evening…

  • Go home from work or studies
  • Get prepared, choose some stylish cloths (Dress like a Swede)
  • Send a message to the host to check if it’s okej to bring a friend
  • Fill a little plastic bottle with the alcoholic drink of your choice. Alternatively, if you are a generous person and want to share your drink with others, take a bag-in-box of wine with you
  • Put it into a plastic bag from systembolaget (Swedish state-owned alcohol store)
  • Take the bus or go by bike to the preparty
  • Enter the place
  • Say “nämen tjeeena” to the host, give him or her an awkward hug
  • Take off your shoes (make sure you have previously chosen representable socks)
  • Make a round, shake hands with everyone and introduce yourself to those you haven’t met yet by simply saying your first name
  • Don’t remember any of the names of the other guests you just met
  • … apart from that snygging (handsome) you later want to talk to
  • Go to the kitchen to put your other beer cans or drinks into the fridge
  • Drink (Drink like a Swede)
  • Talk to random person standing in the kitchen
  • Ask them from where they know the host
  • Drink more
  • Have a seat on the crowded sofa
  • Talk to the person next to you about what they are drinking
  • Observe how the atmosphere and level of alcohol increases inside of you and others
  • Let your conversation get interrupted by someone increasing the volume of the music
  • Feel awkward when that person who had already a few too many drinks and wants everyone to join for a dance
  • Raise and move your body in almost rhythmic ways to the sounds of ABBA or Swedish House Mafia
  • Have another zip to overcome the feeling of awkwardness for a few seconds
  • Avoid the dance floor in the living room and that shouty sing-along by going to the kitchen for a chat with the other non-screamers
  • Chat about when to leave to avoid a long queue in front of the pub
  • Between 22.00 and 00.00 leave the preparty, after the host stopped the music and shouted “Nu drar vi!”, “Now let’s go!”
  • Before leaving, get stuck in the queue to the toilet that everyone needs to use, except those who spontaneously decide to release water outside in the behind the bushes or lamp posts
  • Put on your shoes, notice you collected dust and your sticky socks, because they are slightly soaked with beer spill
  • Walk to the pub/bus station
  • Speak loudly on the way there
  • Join the queue
  • Get approached/approach foreigners and ask them what they are drinking out of their little plastic bottles
  • Sing a snapsvisa (snaps song/drinking song)
  • Get rid of your drink before you can be seen by the Security guards (remember, it’s not allowed to drink alcohol in public in Sweden)
  • Show your ID at the entrance of the club
  • Leave your jacket at the wardrobe (probably the last moment you chatted with the new friends from the preparty and queue)
  • Join the queue at the toilet before joining the next queue at the bar
  • Hit the dancefloor
  • Start flirting (how to flirt in Sweden will be described in a later post)
  • Get seriously drunk
  • Send fylle-sms (drunk texts) to your partner/or KKs (friends with benefits) saying you look forward to/would like to see him or her later
  • If you, as a single, receive an answer, you know you have a backup for the night. If no answer or fancy someone else for a chnage, keep on drunk-dancing or chatting up someone at the bar, asking “Vad dricker du för något?“, “What are you drinking?”.
  • Tell the person you are talking to that you are seriously drunk – just because
  • Ask “where is the afterparty” if you don’t have anyone to spend the night with
  • Ask “wanna have an afterparty” if you do want to spend the night with that specific person
  • Go home to or with the partner of your choice if not too drunk to do so
  • But first stop by at a fast food place to get something to eat (or, if you have no one to go to, desperately try to find someone who is in the same desperate situation as you)
  • Go home
  • Protect (Just do it! I know it’s hard to want to remember when you’re drunk. But come on it’s better for the both of you. Probably.)
  • Have fun
  • Wake up with a bad hangover, hoping the other person left already
  • Turn your head around noticing you are at that other person’s place, and that it’s you who hasn’t left yet
  • Leave
  • Go to your home,
  • Look forward to food and an Alvedon
  • Get more sleep
  • Get prepared for a night out on Saturday
  • Text your friends where to meet for a preparty
  • … repeat


Some rules to remember when you party in Sweden

  • Take your own drinks to preparties!
    If you left some drinks or cans of beer at the host’s place, make sure to go back to the him or her within a week. Otherwise ownership will be transfered to the host, according to unwritten Swedish party law.
  • At any party: Shake hands with those people you haven’t met before, hug those you know.
    Still, high risk of ending up in a half-hug-half-handshake situation.
  • Stop offering to invite your friends for rounds at the pub. Alcohol is expensive in Sweden. No one expects you to invite them because they don’t want you to think “i hellvete …” and regret your generosity next time you check your bank account.
  • Understand the system of ordering a cocktail or shot at the bar!
    After ordering “en Vodka shot, tack!” you will probably hear the waiter asking you “noll-fyra eller noll-sexa?”, “zero point four or zero point six?”, meaning the amount of deciliter of your desired spirit.
  • Say “skål” a lot!
    Skål, Swedish for cheers, is originally an old word for drinking bowl.

How to act like a Swede on the dance floor

Stop being serious on the dance floor!
If a Swedes wants to dance seriously, they join dancing classes where they receive instructions on how to move rhythmically. Watching Swedes on a dance floor, you will quickly find out that not many have taken dancing classes.
Nevertheless it is difficult to move your body well, when you are too sober or too drunk. As we learned before – Swedes only achieve that desirable state of a rush between 21.00 and 22.00, when they’re still at the preparty.

Swedish dance floors are not primarily considered for dancing, they are places to easily indicate the intention to initiate mating processes

Dance floors in Sweden can get very bumpy. Don’t put on your best shoes. Someone will definitely step on them. If you’re lucky it won’t be a high heel of the staggering girl trying to pass through the crowd. Get used to elbows hitting your back waist and head. Don’t expect an excuse. If someone turns around and shows he or she is sorry, it’s probably because that person thinks he made he or she made you spill your drink – which, of course, in Sweden is much worse than experiencing physical pain.

Crossing a Swedish dance floor is a similar experience as a game of American Football, except, in American Football you have a higher chance of making it to the other side without getting bruisers



So, dear new-Swede, fill your plastic bottle with some liquor blend, join a queue and dance with the Swedes on the dance floor. No sense of rhythm needed.


All ‘How to be Swedish‘ posts, here

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