Norwegian Politeness

Source: "The Social Guidebook to Norway"

Are Norwegians polite? 

Social codes, norms and manners are different in Norway

Some foreigners misinterpret Norwegian behaviors as impolite

They feel that Norwegians lack basic politeness

That common politeness norms are not respected when Norwegian communicate with others

When bumping into someone

When writing emails

Around the table

What if politeness meant something different in Norway?

I like to say that in Norway

"Politeness is about not disturbing others"

Norwegians respect privacy, space and silence 

They may not disturb someone only to greet them without a purpose

You should avoid speaking loudly in public places to respect others

You should not listen to loud music in your headphones

You should leave space

Both physically and psychologically


Norwegians are practical, purposeful and efficient in their politeness

They do not want to disturb

They won’t even disturb you to tell you that you are being impolite

They will let it go

This also prevents confrontation

Norwegians are very uncomfortable with confrontation

Norwegians are a special breed

If you want to get to know them better

And understand the basis for their unexpected behaviors

Get yourself a copy of both our books

The first one introducing your first contact with Norwegians

The second one explaining how to make friends and build relationships

By Julien S. Bourrelle

Watch him on TED

Book a lecture