Politeness in Norway

Source: "The Social Guidebook to Norway"

Social codes, norms and manners differ in every country

Some foreigners misinterpret some Norwegian behaviors as being 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

Politeness means 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 very nice and special people


Read more about our amazing Norwegian friends in Our Social Guidebooks to Norway 



By Julien S. Bourrelle

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