Catching the bus like a Swede

  • do not make eye contact with your fellow travellers at the bus stop
  • make sure to stand a good distance away from them
  • if the sun is shining, turn your face upwards and soak it in
  • if the bus is 20 seconds late, glare at your watch and then at the bus driver
  • fill up the empty seats first
  • once all the seats have one person sitting in them you may sit beside someone
  • make no eye contact or conversation
  • if someone is acting weird, stare straight ahead and hope they don’t sit next to you
  • if someone smiles at you or makes eye contact, they are either strange or a foreigner
  • pretend you don’t see the pregnant, elderly, disabled, or those with prams so you don’t have to give up your seat or help them
  • when you wish to disembark, move your hands on your parcels or bag so they know you wish to get off. This way no word need be spoken


Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

7 thoughts

  1. your text is accurate as hell, I will try my best

    Catching the bus like a Spaniard…

    – run, run, run, run, faster, faster, faster…..

    – SHIT! is gone…

    if you want to talk (in Spaish) while you waits for the next…you’re in the right country… simply make eye contact to anyone and smile… (if the “anyone” is elderly, smile is not necessary)

  2. It seems that the Swedish way is also the English way. Your article was quite heartening, actually.

  3. Challenge accepted!

    Catching the bus like a Greek:

    – Once you reach the bus stop, make a silent prayer to thank God there was no strike today.
    – Do not respect the cue.
    – If a cue was accidentally formed before your arrival at the stop, remind everyone a cue should **never** be formed at a bus stop.
    – Please make way for the cars that are trying to park over the sidewalk on the bus stop. It’s not their fault you’re too poor to own a car.
    – If it’s a rainy day, stand 100 meters away from the bus stop to avoid getting splashed by by-passing cars that go over puddles next to the bus stops. If you have no umbrella enjoy the rain that pours over the non-existent bus stop roof.
    – No disabled people on the bus stop please, once we reach 25th century rest assured we will be providing a service for you too.
    – Don’t trust in any way the timetables on the electronic boards. They are there for decoration purposes only.
    – If you are over 60 pretend to be overly fragile. Once the bus arrives extend both arms and create a barrier with a bag on each arm. Pretend to be deaf, push the others and enter the bus.
    – If the bus was late for only 30 minutes make a silent prayer and thank sweet Jesus you lost only one connection today.
    – Once inside the bus make another silent prayer the bus won’t catch a fire / have a faulty engine / miss a stop because of traffic diversions.
    – We hope you can appreciate our attempts to reach out to other cultures. On our bus rides you can have a lovely sauna during summer and experience how it’s like in the Alps during winter.

    If you’re looking for a reliable bus transport you’re clearly on the wrong country.

      1. Mostly the elderly when they are bored, bless them. Most of us listen to our music or radio, so we are kind of isolated (and the time passes quicker that way). Sadly there are quite a few who are talking loudly on their mobile. They are very annoying, and to top that, since we don’t hear the other end of the conversation sometimes we are left wondering what the hell they were talking about.

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