Are Nordic Countries the Worst When it Comes to Making Friends?

Kenyans troop out every single day to search for opportunities globally. Some head to Europe, Canada, America and others go the Australian route. Yes, others also step up for jobs and other opportunities within Africa for Africans. Whichever the case may be, one important thing once landed is new friends. The case remains similar of those internationals arrivin in the Nordics, Many may agree that making friends in Nordic could be a hell of a process which explain our decision to share a few tips here.

To start with, more and more opportunities keep coming up for internationals to relocate to the Nordics. Professionals, researchers, students, workers, culture enthusiasts and more will find something worth doing in the Nordics. But aside from the primary reasons taking them there, they need to make new friends as poart of the start off process of integration.

You definately need to make friends in the Nordics

One of the first considerations for expats when relocating abroad or rather Nordic countries is  ease of making new friends. There can be a feeling of isolation and loneliness when you have to leave your friends and family behind. All these come with mixed emotions which can be managed by making friends.

Having a sincere and encouraging friend is crucial for assisting you in settling in. This is regardless of wherever you are going. However, things seem to be different in the Nordic countries mainly because of their reserved nature.

Nordic countries rank highly as sought-after destinations for many expatriates. The countries have an excellent work-life balance. That promotes life and enables international immigrants to live a more relaxed life. 

Moreover, their top-notch healthcare, education, and childcare systems are an added advantage to their hospitality. The downside of these countries is that they can be very unfriendly to expats in that expats find it difficult to settle in and make contact with the natives.

The feeling of unfriendliness in the Nordics

According to InterNations’ recent study, most natives in Nordic countries are quiet and isolated from new people. More than six out of ten expats say it’s challenging to make connections with distant locals. The unfriendly atmosphere bars most expats from freely associating with the natives.  

Therefore, most of the expats’ circle and friends in most of the Nordic countries consist of foreigners and not locals. Because the local population in Nordic countries is pretty unfriendly, expats end up not feeling welcomed. Making new friends is quite hard, especially in Sweden.

People, Group, Friends, Fist Bump

Countries you need extra skills to make new frends with locals

The top five unfriendly Nordic countries include Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Making friends in these Nordic countries as many people think. It needs some effort.


According to most expats, Denmark is one of the best places in the world to raise a family. Why is this so? Because the country stands out with excellent childcare, technology, and job opportunities.  However, 66% of experts testify that it is the most unfriendly place to be.

Despite Denmark being extremely safe, highly digitalized, and offering a wonderful balance between work and leisure, expats are not happy. It is difficult to find happiness in this heaven-on-earth place. 

The Danish have a rather closed family culture that does not easily assimilate with expats.  They also value their fellow Danes and they are so unwilling to welcome foreigners as they want to keep their culture intact as much as possible. 


It is the second-best country in the world for quality of life in the social progress index of 2021. Finland performs well in practically every category measured by the index. This is in terms of basic human necessities and well-being to individual possibilities and independence. However, the unfriendliness comes down to their culture. 

It is not easy to assimilate with the Finns because of the cultural and language barrier. Most expats interviewed (85% ) claim that their local language is difficult to learn. Not knowing the local language automatically makes it difficult to have a conversation.

Finns also value time, therefore it won’t be easy to be friends with them if you do not value time as much as they do. The Finns also do not like physical contact which means you better keep your hands to yourself. 


The lack of sunlight may not be the only disadvantage of traveling to Sweden.  Swedish people value space and they don’t like invading other people’s space. Therefore, they don’t initiate conversations with foreigners. 

Moreover, the Swedish are always right about everything and anything which makes it difficult to have a conscious conversation with them. Trying to make friends with the Swedes is not easy at all. They don’t like personal questions, especially during first meetings.


Making local friends in Norway is not as easy as many people think. A survey done by InterNations shows that Norwegians rely on their social network over the years. Norwegians are pretty close. They don’t create room for new people in their lives.

The probability of making friends in Norway is through speaking Norwegian. Apart from that, you have to meet with Norwegians willing to make friends. Most of the time they feel that you are imposing on their lives.

Norwegians usually hold their culture quite superior. As such they may not want to be close to anyone who will come between them and their culture. Many Norwegians have a tendency of ignoring people. This is one of the reasons why making friends with them is not a walk in the park.

Making friends in Nordic countries

It is true that making friends in Nordic countries is not easy. Most of them are a bit skeptical of strangers. Luckily, with some tips and guidance, you can be friends with the Nordics. You need to master what it takes to make new friends in Nordic countries.

You need to be a bit forthcoming to make new friends in Nordic countries. Do not wait for an invitation to parties and other functions instead be active with inviting. That way you will attract friendships in ways you cannot imagine.

Fredrick Awino

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