Norwegian social codes are very hard to crack. To be perceived as aggressive, to overstep and simply scare Norwegians away is always at high risk when approaching a wild and untamed Norwegian. Especially in our own habitat: Norway.
The Norwegian habitat is very unique. First off we have an enormous amount of space and we are not exactly overpopulated. These two factors combined with thousands of years of evolution (whom am I kidding? We’re pretty much the same) has resulted in a very privacy-orientated people. I’ll make it visual:
You see, we have the liberty to be private and some of us might not even see another person throughout an entire day. Still there are two aspects to our privacy:
- Fewer people makes others opinions of you more valid. The risk of becoming an outcast is higher.
- Safety, comfort and strangers. We live in a bubble where everything is known to us, everything unknown is a threat.
And we most certainly do not approach each other without a valid reason. Oooh, the horror! Besides, we do not small talk. Unless we have a common friend. That’s a no-no. I myself enjoy the awkward silence rather than forcing something unnatural, because it is unnatural to Norwegians to make small talk. We are born with social comfort-zones and we stick to them. Occasionally we integrate some new friendships, but this takes time. A long time. Unless there’s alcohol. We’ll come back to that one at a later time.
A Norwegian might be perceived as antisocial and rude to outsiders. This is not intentionally and if you’ve experienced an awkward situation with a Norwegian where you thought that this person was being very rude – it’s not you, it’s the Norwegian social codex. We do not put ourselves in situations and conversations without intent, anything unpractical gets dismissed and we most certainly don’t small talk unless we intend to start the long journey of growing a friendship. Or have a serious question we need to work up the courage to ask. We don’t greet strangers and we do not randomly smile at each other – Unless..
- You’re in a boat and we happen to cross paths. Waves and smiles are a handed out like candy at Easter. We might even small talk and visit each others boats at the harbor.
- Hiking. We always greet fellow hikers, even if we’ve never seen one another before.
- Drunk. Like I said, I’ll come back to this one at a later time.
There are always exceptions to the rule, but don’t get overly excited. It’s still at a superficial level. Getting under a Norwegians skin is still a long process. Unless we’re drunk.
A socially awkward Norwegian in her natural habitat.
A cautious approach is always recommended when crossing paths with a Norwegian, especially in their natural habitat. Too much excitement might just kill the vibe. If you’re eager to learn how to grow a friendship or communicate with a Norwegian, make sure to subscribe by clicking the follow-button either to your right or in the bottom of this page.