This paper focuses on volunteers who practice voluntary activities at a reception centre for refugees in the outskirts of Oslo. My overall purpose is to seek the meaning behind the relationship between the volunteers and refugees from the former’s point of view, through an analysis of interaction, perceptions and expectations. This will be addressed in light of what the voluntary role consists of through the demands of distance and a desire of closeness. This duality is a relevant approach as during the course of my participant observations and interviews it became apparent that my informants were experiencing being pulled in two directions. My informants wanted to create close relations, but experienced certain limitations in the contextual frame when meeting with the refugees.