Norwegians in Syden

Source: "The Social Guidebook to Norway"

This is where Norwegians loose control

They do crazy things

They start to smile

They acknowledge others

They talk to each other

And even with strangers

For no practical reason 

I was in Italy 

Enjoying some days in the Sun

Like many Norwegians do

Including one of my neighbours

The type neighbour that waits behind her door not to see others in the hallway

Or pretend not to have seen you in the garden

That neighbour came to me and started speaking for no practical reason

She was suddenly excited to have a conversation

After years living in the same building and avoiding any occasion to speak with others

It seemed like the roles had been reversed 

I was rather suspicious that she now wanted to speak

That because we were far away from home

It was expected that we would spend time speaking to each other

Despite her passing next to me at home

time after time

without looking at me and barely answering if I would greet 

My neighbor was not the only one around

A day later I heard other people speak Norwegian on the beach

I turned around and smiled

The mother and her daughter smiled back and we started to talk


Without any awkwardness

We ended up talking for about 20 minutes

Some of their friends and family joined in

They included me in the conversation and we ended up spending several hours together

Enjoying the Sun and discussing all sorts or things

It seems like being outside Norway

Somehow provides a framework for socialization

"Syden" is another type of "Framed Activities"

Just like when going to the mountains

Norwegians have a reason to talk

(We are abroad at the same time)

And it is easy to escape

Furthermore, they are certain not to disturb others

They know everyone is on vacation and have time to speak

At home they could be disturbing their neighbours by saying "hei" and having a short chat

The moral is

Talk to Norwegians when you are sure that

(1) You have a reason to

(2) They can easily escape

(3) They do not have anything else to do

Abroad or in the mountains works really well

Have a great summer enjoying Norwegians! :)

PS: Remember that these articles are an exaggeration of reality

I love Norwegians

That is why I wrote two books to help foreigners understand them



Source: "The Social Guidebook to Norway"

By Julien S. Bourrelle

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