Finnish reservedness

Some thoughts about social norms in Finland

Finns are often considered rather reserved and shy. Although we go naked to the sauna with strangers and might even have a little chit chat there, we really appreciate our personal space (at least when not in the sauna).

There have been photos around the internet of Finns waiting for the bus at the bus stop, with couple of meters of gap between people. That is completely normal to us. I guess it’s because we like to be polite towards others, and at the same time we like to keep our own personal space. It might feel odd if a stranger comes too close, like what are they up to?

Sometimes when going to school in the morning I notice that even though the tram is packed full, it is completely silent. No one’s talking, everyone just minding their own business and avoiding eye contact. It might sound funny and I guess it kind of is, but I absolutely love that. Just sitting there and enjoying the tranquility.

Even though we Finns might not always seem easily approachable, we still are kind and helpful. I think there is a little bit of self-irony included in being and acting as a Finn.




Leave a Reply

Processing comments...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *