Working from home can be a bit lonely, especially if, like me, you have moved to a city where you don’t know anyone. Deciding to be more proactive about my social life, I recently attempted to join a local friends group. This, I imagined, would be a good, easy way to meet new people. The Brits are, after all, a very sociable, easy-going bunch.

I pictured turning up to a pub, to find a group of strangers crowding around a table, perhaps mildly awkward at first, resorting to British classics such as exchanging condemnations about the weather/public transport/local B-roads. Once common ground had been established, however, I was confident that I’d find myself surrounded by some highly socially-skilled individuals.

I completed the online form, added a picture and a blurb about my interests, and sent it off for approval. As I waited for a response, I felt nervous. What would the local scene make of my attempt to reach out? Not very much, as it turned out. A couple of days later I received a reply in the shape of a small essay, explaining how my chosen profile picture did not comply with the rules. It went on to say that once I had corrected my mistake, I was welcome to resubmit my application for friendship. I was stunned. This – as the Brits say when profoundly disappointed – was not what I had in mind.

It did not feel sociable and easy-going. In fact, it reminded me of something else entirely; the long email with the sober bullet points, the humourless telling me off, the dogged sticking to the rules. Could it be…? Astonished, I began typing a reply. ‘I don’t suppose…’ I paused, contemplating the likelihood. ‘…there is any chance that you are Swedish…?’

TEXT: MARIA SMEDSTAD

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Scan Magazine Ltd.’

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