When I think about Finnishness the first thing that comes to my mind is
why are we so shy?
The “Finnish nightmares” cartoon series created by Karoliina Korhonen are the best example of what we are really thinking during real life situations. Sharing an elevator with a stranger can be a bit awkward to us. When a stranger looks you in the eye and smiles…. that’s even more awkward! “Is this person invading my personal space?”
Is it because we are too shy to have direct contact? Are we afraid? Or is it a part of our culture ?
It might have roots in our history. We have been living in isolation for quite some time. It might be because we are attached to our personal place, because we have so much space here!
There was a brilliant article from Yle Turku, written by Michael berry who says:
“Finnish silence is a method of preserving harmony with nature, oneself and others. It’s natural for Finns to move between fluent active listening and speaking while respecting others. A Finn thinks profoundly before expressing himself on a subject of importance,” (M. Berry 2013)
Maybe being silent is not that bad at all. Maybe we should learn to accept it, and just be proud of it. What others see as shy, is just our way of being polite. Our way of respecting others. We are not better, or worse, just a different kind of people.