Proving that some things do have a life of their own, here’s yet another good example of how lagom works in Swedish society. This one is from an American friend named Mary:

“I love that you have taken on the word “lagom”! (and pushiness too).
This is a word worthy of international exposure. I will never forget
the first year I lived here (1990) and I was speaking at a party about
myself and everyone got quiet – you know the feeling that you have
stepped over the invisible cultural boundary and you have no idea what
you have done. Then I found out that I wasn’t being lagom! Speaking
too much about myself. I think my dear husband told me (with kindness)
that I had broken Jantelagen.

“And don’t get me started on the pushiness!

“I love travel books and memoirs so I will LOVE to read your book!!!!
(now I’m “gushing” and being enthusiastic, another non-Swedish thing to


1 Shatha January 18, 2009 at 23:07

Is Jantelagen a synonym for lagom?

2 Sandra in Sweden January 19, 2009 at 08:32

Good question! It is definitely related to lagom in that we are all supposed to be equal–don’t think that you are better than anyone else. It’s all part of a cultural code or way of thinking.

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