Norwegians like to pay for themselves, here is why.

Source: "The Social Guidebook to Norway"

To make Norwegians feel uncomfortable

Pay for their coffee, dinner or drinks

And do not let them pay you back!

They will feel so uncomfortable about owing you 

That they will send you a message when they get home to ask for your bank account number

Or will just Vipps you their share directly

Vipps is a fantastic app that allows a Norwegian to pay back another Norwegian right away

It helps Norwegians sleep at night

It is as uncomfortable for a Norwegian to owe to others

As it is to make others feel like they owe something back

Things need to be equal and in equilibrium at every time step in a norwegian relationship

In practical terms it means:

Pay for what you eat

Pay for what you drink

Bring your own drinks at the party and drink only your own drinks

Do not be surprised if Norwegians bring back the wine or beers they brought to your house if they did not drink it during the party

Bring your own sausages to the BBQ and tell your kids to eat only the sausages you brought

Even borrowing ketchup and mustard can be problematic 

While relationships in every culture need to be equal and in equilibrium

Norwegian relationships need to be equal and in equilibrium at every step

And the use of gifts to balance a situation is not as common as it is in other cultures

While in many places when you are invited to a private event, a reception, a dinner

It would be natural to bring gifts for the person organizing

It is not as common to do it in Norway

If you invite Norwegian friends over for dinner

They will probably ask if they can bring something

If you say that they do not need to bring anything

They may actually show up without anything

No wine, no dessert, no flowers

If you had prepared a nice dinner with several dishes and nice wines

They may feel bad and then offer money to pay back their share

Same when Norwegians go out for a coffee

In Oslo sitting in coffee shops you can observe older ladies having coffee with their fellow Norwegian friends

You can clearly see that all the ladies have more money than they need

And that they have been friends for many many years 

Yet every lady will pay for her own coffee

Only for her own coffee

This is different to many other places where one person will take the bill in a group of friends

The next time it will be someone else

And if one of the friends has financial difficulties

No one will insist that he pays his turn


Interesting to learn more about the Norwegian culture and how it is interpreted by foreigners? Read Our Social Guidebooks to Norway and help support this project explaining the Norwegian culture.


By Julien S. Bourrelle

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