Tag Archives: introvertness

Finland, The Land of Darkness and Light

Personally, when I think of Finland and the culture I was born and raised in, I think of the straight-forward attitude of people and the untouched nature, but also the crippling sense of loneliness. I’ve had many conversations with people both Finnish and foreign, about how Finnish people are raised to not make noise of ourselves. You have to always go with the safest option, to not take too big of a risk, to stick to what you’re used to. Finnish people are encouraged to be introverted, calm, quiet. A loud person is commonly frowned upon. This kind of mentality creates a lot of shy people, and with a lot of shy people, no one makes connections and people become lonely. When we don’t encourage expressive communication, we stop expressing our emotions. And then it turns into loneliness that can lead to depression that can lead to substance-abuse, something Finnish folk are notorious for. It is the dark side of this dark country.
I realize this is a very heavy image to portray of my culture, but it’s something I think about often and I believe it’s not talked about enough.

On the brighter side, this kind of sullen way of our people can also create unexpected connections. Finnish folk like to make fun of the depressive state of our personal nature, and humour is what truly brings our people together. It can be seen even on this blog: many of the posts feature “Finnish Nightmares”, the humorous comic about Finns struggling to be social. The humour is often tied to the straight-forward honesty that Finnish people value. It’s like in our very nature to tell the truth, no matter how it looks like. And that is something I cherish in Finnishness.

Here’s an uncannily Finnish picture of my brothers from this past Yule. I think it fits into this theme wonderfully.

Finland is like me: awkward and metal

That’s something that I often heard: Finnish people are awkward. It turns out that what even Finns themselves name “awkward” is actually introvertness.

When I first thought about moving to Finland, I was told to BEWARE of the Finnish coldness, weather-wise and character-wise. Now, weather-wise, “cold” wasn’t a total lie. Character-wise, it wasn’t either, but it somehow felt differently. In three points, I will demonstrate why everything about the introvert character of Finns was a relief for me.

No small talk

Small-talk… Why is it necessary? Well, Finland understood it very well: Finnish people do not keep small talk and if they ask about your wellbeing, it is because they genuinely care. And trust me, it’s a relief for introverts. Finland teaches you how to value silence and conversations, as well as how to truly get to know somebody.

Respect for nature

Finnish people hold in their culture a deep respect for nature, and I think it is not too much to say that nature is thankful to them. As demonstrated in the pictures below, Finland holds a lot of unexpected views and landscapes that they enjoy in silence. Because pictures speak louder than words, I provide you with a picture taken in Riihivuori, near my boyfriends’ mother’s place.

Valued friendship

Coming to Finland, one think stroke me at first: it felt very difficult to find friends. Now, a few years later, I realize that it is much easier. In a lot of cultures, the notion of friendship is kind of blurry, as people being extra-nice does not always guarantee true friendship. In Finland, it might take time for people to become your friend, but when you are friends with a Finn, you are trusted and can trust your friend, even with thousands of kilometers apart.

 

Now, I am aware that all of those traits are very personal, but it is my vision of Finnishness. All in all, coming to Finland is, I feel, a total yes or a total no. Either you love it, either you hate it, and I happened to love it. And, as I mentioned metal in the title as a reference to the reason why I fell in love with Finland in the first place, I will leave down there a link to one of my favorite Finnish bands…