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Friendly Week encourages Swedes to be kind

Feb. 14, 2014 at 2:10 PM

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- The head of the Swedish aid agency behind the country's Friendly Week said he felt Swedes could use some inspiration to be more pleasant to each other.

Johan Lilja, the chief executive officer of Lakarmissionen, the aid agency encouraging the country's people to be good to one another for Friendly Week this week, said he decided to resurrect the tradition last marked in 1998 due to the recent rise in online bullying in the country, TheLocal.se reported Friday.

"Swedes aren't better than anyone else when it comes to being friendly ... but we're no example either," Lilja said.

He said Swedes are also known to hide their feelings in public and may have trouble connecting with others.

"We are more introverted and I think we generally just need to remind each other to take off our sour faces," he said.

Lilja said the response to Friendly Week's return has been overwhelmingly positive, with the aid agency's phones ringing nonstop from people reporting acts of friendliness.

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