The most common way to greet someone in Swedish is to say hej! It is always appropriate. To you say goodbye, you use the word hej då. There is no direct translation to the English word ”please” in Swedish, but you can use words like är du snäll, varsågod or ursäkta to be polite. You can address any person with du, and express politeness in other ways while speaking. To welcome someone you say välkommen or välkomna, depending on if you greet one person or many. Being on time is important and a sign of respect in Sweden, no matter if it is at work or in other situations.
The family is important to Swedes, but today’s family constellations may look different than they did earlier. The divorce rate is high, and in the new families the members may be given names like bonuspappa, platsmamma or låtsassyster. In Swedish you know the relation to the grandparents right away, like mormor who is the mother’s mother, or farfar who is the father’s father. Same-sex marriages are legal and people often live together without being married, as sambos.
Meet and greet
When you meet someone for the first time, you shake hands and introduce yourself, often only with your first name. You never use titles like Mr och Mrs. If close friends meet, both men and women, they give each other a hug, but people don’t normally give cheek kisses..
Hej = Hello
Hej då = Good bye, bye
God morgon = Good morning
God natt = Good night
Tjenare / tjena = ”Howdy” (Used in informal situations, among (young) friends)
Vi ses = See you
Vi ses senare = See you later
Vi ses i morgon = See you tomorrow
Välkommen / välkomna = Welcome
Tack / Tack så mycket = Thank you / Thank you very much
Varsågod/ Varsågoda = Help yourself/yourselves, please, you’re welcome (different meanings depending on the situation)
Hur mår du? = How are you?
Bara bra, tack! Och du? = I’m fine thanks. And you?
Hur är det (med dig)? = How’s it going?
Hur är läget? = How’s it going? How’s everything?