When I was meeting with my foreign friend, he said to me: “Finnish person is like a coconut: Hard on the outside, difficult to crack but the most sweetest on the inside.” Sure, we are more preserved than most europeans, even our neighbors in the west, but are we finns really that hard on the outside?
I think this presumption has everything to do with our culture and upbringing. We are a tough nation molded under the hands of cold winters and scary neighbours (I am looking at you Russia.) We are separated from the rest of the europe which I think plays the role in our cultural need for personal space. We have gotten used to our own space and having our own backyards and when someone knocks at our front door, we hide in the sofa cushions. We have gotten comfortable spending time alone and I think that is why people outside of Finland think we are nation of grumpy, hard and lonely people.
Us being so hard on the outside has to do with how guarded we are and how our nation is built on trust only. It takes time to trust someone and us Finns for sure are taking that sentiment quite literally. My parents have teached me to be more reserved, don’t take too much space, don’t look people in the eyes for too long, always be quiet. It has become quite a job to take down these expectations what my parents have put on me.
I agree with my friend. We might be tough to crack but I also think we are becoming a lot softer. Our generation is affectionate, we talk more about our feelings and issues and in general I think we are more open than older generations of Finns. We understand we have a voice and we are taking all the space we can get! Except when waiting for a bus. Please don’t touch me.