Swedish Town Wants Inhabitants To Say Hi To Each Other

The Swedish town of Lulea, home to some 80,000 inhabitants, has launched a campaign encouraging residents, who are reputed to be introverts, to start talking to each other. The message “Saying hi to your neighbors is a small thing, but research shows that it can contribute to social bonds and has a positive impact on health, safety, and well-being” has been posted on buildings and buses in the city since October 31, and the campaign is set to run for four weeks. According to social strategist Asa Koski, Swedish people can be a bit inward and need to connect with each other in order to create relationships. She compared Sweden to Spain, pointing out that in Spain the residents are outside more, they sit on benches, and are more likely to strike up a conversation with others. In Sweden, where winter means only three hours of sunshine and the average temperature in December hovers around 14ºF, there are fewer opportunities for residents to bump into one another on a daily business. She is hopeful that the encouragement of the public service announcements will prompt residents to begin speaking to their neighbors.