Norwegian social codes

Norwegian social codes: Dating, relationships and sexuality.

Dating has always been a movie-concept for me. Not because it doesn’t happen, it’s just not how our romance culture is built in Norway. If we can call it romance. We don’t even have a Norwegian word for dating, which is why we call it *drumbeat*: Dating. Norwegians go about finding partners in another order than going on dates – but it has definitely become more normal to be in the dating game here as well. So how do we find a partner and how does dating work in Norway? I’m going to take you through the Norwegian way of dating, explain how and why the concept of dating has become more of a normal thing and why chivalry is dead.

Let’s start with how we come in contact with potential partners.


In my lifetime I’ve seen the development from our normal ways and into the concept of dating. You see, we’ve had two ways of making human contact. Earlier (and now for that matter) Norwegians would find a potential partner at the bar, take them home and if the chemistry hits – they might meet again. Later that might grow in to a relationship. The other way is through a common social setting like a workplace or school. In this setting you would get to know the other person a little, take them home and go through the same development as the bar-alternative. That, or you’ll have a really awkward setting at work for the time to come. Now, with all the dating apps available there’s a third option thrown into the mix: Random dating. Which consists of chatting for a long, long time through the app until both parties has worked up the courage to set up a date (unless it’s just for a fun night out. Shit, we sound like a slutty kind of people).  The development often go as the other alternatives, but it has become more common to go on several dates to see if the interest is thriving.

“Why?” you might wonder. I’ve written a little bit about this before: We are a very introverted people, in lack of a better word for it. We don’t openly socialize with strangers. We stick to our social comfort zone and we let loose over drinks (You can read that post -> here <-). Which might put you on to the question of how we can go home with strangers.. Our sexuality is another story. I’m theorizing here, but as a gender equal country, we are very free when it comes to sexuality and relationships. Actually, Norwegians rarely marry in comparison to other nationalities. We’re not dependent on marriage to live a fulfilling life. Our society is built on gender equality, which means:

1. Equal opportunities

2. Equal rights

…..In our society we’ve also focused upon the strengthening of women. In every position possible. As a Norwegian female you don’t really have to depend on anyone other than yourself.  Actually, in this day and age there are more females than males in higher education. Women here are career driven. I would say that we are free, in every aspect of life. Ah, the freedom of choice. There has been a lot of bickering about low birthrates and so on – often blamed on this.  Anyway, our sexuality is relaxed and free – because we can. And it’s been like this for as long as I can remember. Same with nudity. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself at a nudist beach.. There’s a lot of them. Norwegians like to be naked for some reason. So the whole sexuality aspect isn’t really a big deal to Norwegians.

What this does do though is kill the chivalry. Chivalry in Norway is dead. the concept of equality has, in my opinion, been confused with gender roles. I’m not saying that one should have them, we certainly do not, but it really kills off romance. Gender roles in romance is nice, I’m not going to lie. I think we just haven’t found a way to have equally strong genders in a romantic setting. It creates insecurities – I guess. I’m being very harsh here, it’s not like everyone is like this , but it is a part of our social concept and our culture. On the other hand we do divide everything between us when in a relationship, so both parties contribute the same.

So now you know our socially awkward dating ways. It pretty much goes like this: Boy meets girl, the hookup, relationship develops, they move in together and live happily ever after dividing stuff equally – maybe. And that’s it.

På gjensyn! 

Norwegian social codes

Norwegian social codes: An introduction

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:

  1. Fewer people makes others opinions of you more valid. The risk of becoming an outcast is higher.
  2. 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..

  1. 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.
  2. Hiking. We always greet fellow hikers, even if we’ve never seen one another before.
  3. 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.

På gjensyn!