Norwegians love to speak to other Norwegians they do not know
If they are hiking in the mountains
or if they are in "Syden"
"Syden" is a special Norwegian concept that describe all the places in the "South" where you are near a beach and where you can book a charter flight or otherwise have direct flight connections with Norway
There, far away from their homes, Norwegians will gladly speak to other Norwegians they do not know
This is such a big contrast with the usual norms of socialization that applies in Norway
Never will you start talking with others for no reason and ask what they are doing and small chat in Norway
If you do this in Norway, you are just weird
But in Syden this is a normal behaviours for many Norwegians
That can be surprising if you are going to Syden to relax and not come in contact with strangers
Travelling with my Norwegian family-in-law, I needed to get use to this
Norwegians will approach us as soon as they hear the language
As if it would be normal to speak to other Norwegians just because you are outside Norway!
I observed that they all follow some special rules
One is that you need to stand quite far away when you speak to other Norwegians in Syden
Sitting at a restaurant you will speak loudly across the restaurant to other Norwegians that sit at their own table.
People from other cultures may wonder why Norwegians speak so far away from each other sometimes days after days
This is because Norwegians do not want to come closer as they are afraid to show too much interest in getting to know the other Norwegians
"Norwegians prefer to stay away from each other because they can more easily escape if it becomes awkward"
Norwegians are very scared that conversations become awkward with strangers
In the illustration above, the standing Norwegian may come closer to or even dare to sit with the other Norwegians, but only on the last evening before he needs to catch his flight back
This is because he knows that he will be leaving the next day and there will be no awkwardness!
If he were to come closer or sit when there are still many vacation days left, he would be nervous about what to do each time he would see the other Norwegians again:
Talk for long?
Pass away without looking at them?
It is much safer to wait until just before you need to leave
You most probably will never speak with the Norwegians you met in Syden again anyway
Unless you meet them in Syden or in the mountains by chance!
Have a nice summer in Syden
Read more about our amazing Norwegian friends in Our Social Guidebooks to Norway