Fika is more than just a funny word. Much more. Fika (pronounced Fee-ka) is the Swedish tradition of taking a 15-minute break with friends, family, coworkers or soon-to-be-friends and connecting over coffee, conversation and a snack. It might sound simple, but it’s so integral to Swedish culture that major Swedish companies, like Ikea, point to Fika as one of their most important strategies for success. Fika is such a major phenomenon in Sweden because it is so much more than just a coffee break -- it’s a context for casual connection. Fika creates an accessible, effective and simple way to build friendships... in just 15 minutes per day! In today’s tumultuous world, what could be more important than finding ways to build friends and relearn how to connect?
In the USA alone, nearly 80 million people report having zero close friends. That’s roughly 1/3 of the total population! Plus, prolonged loneliness has now been shown to be as dangerous to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day. If you’re not saying, “What?!” to yourself right now, the only reasonable excuse is that you’ve heard that combination of statistics before.
The American culture is incredible for many reasons, but it is not designed to reward people for having friends, nor does it encourage them to make or maintain them. Think about it, if you wanted to go out and make a new friend, how would you do it? Once we’re finished with university, most of us rely on dating, drinking and working to provide our social groups. Unfortunately, none of those are particularly effective at creating lasting connections. Dating comes with too many pretenses, drinking often creates good friends in the moment, but very few lasting connections, and working is generally not conducive to creating non-work friends. Casual connection is just not a priority in our culture, and unfortunately that means making friends can be extremely difficult unless you really go for it.
Before phones and social media, though, if we felt the loneliness urge, we would be forced to put ourselves out there and at least try to make friends. Now, we can all suppress that innate need for connection with the click of a button. We see all these other “friends,” their fascinating pictures, and funny videos of cats, so we feel that we’ve sated that need for connection. Unfortunately, this does nothing to address the real root of our loneliness, and we only end up isolating ourselves further. We can talk to people on the other side of the world, but we can hardly say a word to the people around us.
Well, that’s where Fika comes in! In just 15 minutes per day, we can begin to change the way we relate to one-another and relearn how to connect with the people around us. Fika is a 15-minute technology-free connection oasis, specifically designed to bring us back together. The best part is that it’s free! You don’t need to go anywhere specific, buy anything significant or even really change your day around to try it.
The wonderful thing about Fika is that it’s simultaneously selfish and completely selfless. As you help yourself build your friend group and regain the joy that comes with connection, you are helping those who you share Fika with do the same thing. It’s not just self-help. It’s world-help. And you can start today!
Read all about Fika in our latest book Fika That! Or Check out the next post, called “Create Your First Fika in 5 Steps”