Tag Archives: shyness

General opinion of Finnish people?

I’m trying to wrap my head around the general opinion of Finnish people. If I think about it from an “outsiders” point of view, I see a nation that is doing quite well, people who might be a little bit reserved but who are still very helpful, kind and are open minded.

When talking to people who are not from Finland and asking, “What is your opinion of a Finnish person?” sometimes the answer is that we are shy and quiet and sometimes that we are loud and talkative (this one usually happens if you drink alcohol).

Some have a language barrier with foreign people, maybe their English is not so good, so they seem shy and quiet, even though maybe they would like to get to know the person.

Something that I’ve been wondering a lot is why do the Finns need so much space, where does it come from? Even when we talk to each other we keep our distance. For me, it’s funny, it’s just how we are. A funny example of the need for personal space you can see in this picture where Finnish people are waiting for the bus.

 

I also recommend visiting a blog called Finnish Nightmares. It is one of the funniest pages ever! There is so much truth in the posts, but it really is just funny!

Kuvahaun tulos haulle finnish nightmares

I will end my post with telling you my favorite thing about Finland.

So for me it really is the summer, going to the cottage with my family, going to sauna and going for a swim in the lake. I can’t experience this often since I usually have been away the summers, so when I get to go, it makes me so happy. The forrest surrounds me and it really feels like you can just forget about all your problems, they seem so far when you are so relaxed.

/Katariina

Finnishness

My typical Finnish morning: I could sleep till 8am but I’m already putting on my socks at 7am. If it’s winter it’s as dark as in a bat cave. If it’s summer birds and the light may have woken me up even earlier. On mornings I want to drink my Juhlamokka at peace before heading to adventures of the day. Juhlamokka is most common coffee brand in Finland. Although sometime ago I switched to some foreign coffee and I have to admit that I’m never going back. Waking up early comes up with other benefits besides coffee time.

  1. I am rarely late. It would be embarrassing to be late because Finnish people are punctual. You shouldn’t keep another people waiting for you. As a Finn I don’t want to draw any extra attention to myself. Walking around under the radar feels good.Most of us don’t want to be the center of attention. So I guess that the typical stereotype of Finns is somewhat truthful. Yes, many of us are quiet but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t social, vice versa. For example it is a necessity for me to hang around with people. In big groups I don’t feel so comfortable and I might seem quiet. But on the other hand in smaller groups I’m sometimes even “loud”. aQnMN77_700b
  2.  When I’m sipping my (foreign) coffee in the breakfast table, I usually browse mobile app called 9GAG. It’s a website where people can put up funny pictures, comics and videos. You can comment on these posts and have a discussion with other people. Almost every time I open this app I will come across pictures or jokes about Finland. When I see the picture I already know what the most popular comment will say: ”Torille!”. Yeah, Finland was mentioned! We feel a bit of proud when our small nation is mentioned somewhere, but on the same time we are sarcastic about it. It’s Finnish dilemma. We are a nation which queues hours for free buckets but at the same time we laugh at ourselves for doing so.a6QKVde_700b

 

All in all I think that most of us are truly proud to be from Finland. When putting things on a perspective things are good in Finland. We have beautiful nature, pure food and water, excellent schools, a working healthcare system and etc. We just have to remember it and not to take it all for granted.

 

My experiences of Finnishness

Being a Finn is so much more than just living in Finland and speaking Finnish as my native tongue. Travelling has opened my eyes to some of these specialities of Finns.

Shyness

Everyone knows that Finns might be a bit shy and quiet. (On the other hand, Finns are pretty talented at drinking alcohol and booze makes us seem more social.) Especially older people in Finland don’t mind the silence at all. I think I’m pretty social and talkative – when I’m here in Finland. When I travel abroad, it hits me how shy and awkward I actually am. I also need more personal space than people from another cultures. As a Finn I think a firm handshake is enough when greeting someone you just met. I guess kisses on the cheeks or hugging would scare me a bit too much and bring out all my awkwardness.

Finns might be shy but one thing I know is that we are also very proud of our country and our inventions, for example, Angry Birds and Nokia. We’re very committed to using those products since they’re Finnish. Even when Nokia was hitting the low point, Finns didn’t abandon Nokia. When Angry Birds became popular, every Finn had to play it. It isn’t that fun but it’s Finnish. On the other hand, our personal accomplishments mostly make us feel awkward. We’re humble.

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Angry Birds

Education in Finland is widely known to be good. Most Finns can speak also English and Swedish – not only Finnish. There’s also so much people who can also speak German or Russian etc. Our shyness just keeps us from using our skills. We’re too afraid of making mistakes. Questions like “What if I’ll spell that word wrong?” and “What if my pronunciation isn’t right?” are crossing our minds and make us really nervous. This is one reason why Finns are so shy.

Favorite things of Finnish people (food, countryside, sports and sauna)

Usually when people ask about Finnish food, we’re likely to say there’s nothing special in Finnish food. It isn’t spicy or anything extraordinary. Still, that’s our speciality – mostly healthy food preferably from our own garden. We want to hunt our own food or at least go fishing every once in a while. It makes us feel a bit more Finnish. Finns appreciate simple things. We also enjoy coffee, beer and barbeque. We like to have a good time with our families and friends, those simple gatherings with the closest people in our life make us really happy. Finns enjoy quality time spent with their loved ones instead of meaningless small talk.

Finns enjoy quiet environment and being on the countryside. That’s where most Finns spend their holidays – summer cottages are great venues for relaxing and gardening. The most important thing every Finn needs to have is sauna. We enjoy hanging out naked with a bunch of random people we’ve never met before. It’s funny how Finns can’t stand small talk but are fine with this.

One thing every Finn must love is ice hockey. Finns love watching ice hockey and when Finnish team wins, we celebrate, A LOT. The most important ice hockey game is always against Sweden and it really brings people together. Even if you don’t mind sports a lot, you have to watch the game. Football, basketball and floorball never reach the same hype as ice hockey in Finland. This could be linked to being committed to Finnish products and inventions.

OdMLNaf

Ice hockey

My favorite things about Finland.

Even tough I’m not Finnish, I lived here for most of my life, since childhood. And first thing that comes to my mind when I think about Finland is education.

Education

Finland provide high quality of education, which is also encourage kids to be independent individuals. Teacher viewed as almost a friend and called by a first name, which is often surprising for foreigners. Kids really are important for Finish society and they are surrounded by love and care from the government and people around from the early days.

The newly built Saunalahti School.
The newly built Saunalahti School.

Shyness

Despite that, Finns often grow up to be shy. Most of the Finnish people would shy away from conversations and “small talk”. It’s probably a rumored national mentality, and even I somehow assimilated it, living in Finland from childhood. My speculation about the reason might be that Finns don’t like empty talks. Talking should be useful: helping with some problem, for example. I always got help and friendly guidance from random people when I needed it.

I should mention one category of people, eager to start a conversation in buses and trains: elderly people :D. Sweet grandmothers just love to have a nice chatter, and I have no idea how it fits into the idea of an overall shy mentality :).

Nature

My most favorite part about Finland is it’s nature. For people who like warm summer days I have a joke: “Finnish summer is great, last time it was on Thursday”.

Of course Finnish summer is a bit longer than that – 3 months a year, and Finland being a land of a thousand lakes and islands offer lots of ways to enjoy hot and sunny days. But if you don’t like heat and love winters white from snow, that’s your country :). Finland in winter remind you of a childhood fairy tales. No wonder they say rumored Santa Claus lives here, in Lapland!

Finland have 4 seasons in total, and every single one of them have amazing coloring of sky and trees. You have especially good view on surrounding lakes, fields and sky since many Finns would prefer solitude houses away from the noisy neighbors, so Finland don’t have that many big cities to loom in the background (hint: it’s hard to live in Finland without a driver license, unless you live in big city).

Finns preserve their trees and animals. Along the roads you’ll see lots of trees and nets: to prevent animals from straying on the roads and to keep them in their natural habitat.

Language

In the end I want to add only one thing about Finnish Language:

We <3 Finland.

“All photos are clickable to the source.”

Being a Finn

When I think of the word ”Finnishness”, I think of forests, lakes, sauna, shyness, being honest and being persistent. Being a Finn is something you don’t really think about when living in Finland, because you are surrounded by other Finns. Now that I’m about to go abroad, it’s a good time to stop for a minute and think what being a Finn means to me.

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Finns are known to be quiet and shy. Even the comic ‘Finnish Nightmares’, which has almost 150 000 likes in Facebook, is based on this thought. The hero of the comic is a typical Finnish man named Matti, who does daily things from standing all quiet in an elevator with their neighbors to talking to foreigners and feeling shy throughout the conversation. Many Finns have commented in this Facebook page how they identify themselves in these comic, and many foreigners have commented how these comics remind them of their Finnish friends. If you ever want to know what being a Finn means to us Finns, please go checkout ‘Finnish Nightmares’ comic: https://www.facebook.com/finnishnightmares/?fref=ts

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To me, the most important thing in Finland is the atmosphere we have here. Although things aren’t always as good as they seem to be, in my opinion you can be who you want to be here without being judged too hard or someone telling you to stop doing your thing. Finns can be prejudiced and brutally honest, but in the end everyone gets an opportunity here. I also think that most of the Finns appreciate the nature here. Going for a walk in a quiet forest or for a swim in a lake is a normal thing to do here. Maybe that’s why most of the Finns are so used to being quiet and minding their own business. It is not that we don’t care about others, we just appreciate our own space and thoughts a lot.

Finnish Nightmare comic from: https://www.facebook.com/finnishnightmares/photos/br.AbrftEmYFekLbQQfbm3KQ72hjBCp0uQekx1Ty3AajsGb4jTWgu-uGW0waiXUC_v8YCEnlgUrCCf_Q3vvmSbl8tiHWxjcQHSd847G3xjXk2U0xHcHWijhyYYoCmTJkoMaiWv2BJGkrKiLoI5g2r7qinbCiIjG8J55mExKNKgUGGnbcwYVKL5RIH4NMFls-l9mMZ0/1440317632773511/?type=3&theater

 

My experience of Finnishness

As being a Finn, it is somehow hard to find a specific characteristic from Finnishness but at the same time it is hard to choose only couple of them. Finnishness is this entity, built with sisu, honesty, neighbor jealousy and modesty.

Education is also one part of Finnishness. No one is left outside in the field of education. Finland offers free education to all of its citizens so that everyone has equal chance to become something big, or small, if that is what they want!

education

Finnish mentality is something that I often laugh at, even if I am a Finn myself. Finns do not want to brag about themselves (even though they secretly like if they are admired) but at the same time they want to be the best, or at least better than their neighbors.

Let’s have an example. My neighbor has bought a new car. First thought: ‘’why he needs to show off? Such a dork…´´ and the next thing is to by myself a new car. After someone compliments my new shiny car, the immediate answer: ´´ It’s an old and dirty junk. It was kind of a cheap too…´´.

This is why I love Finnishness. Try to be better than everyone else but don’t show off.

 

The most common things about Finnishness is shyness, quietness and big personal space. In some way these all are so true and I can relate into them a bit too well. But hey! Every other nationalities and nations have their own characteristics too. For example, being loud and super outgoing. This is why Finns are needed! If majority of nationalities tend to speak a lot and they love being around each other, Finns are the ones who will listen and populate the rural areas in the hope of some personal space and quietness.

Finnishness

Things that pop in mind first when speaking about Finland and Finnishness are free education, shyness and sauna.

So education in Finland. Not only it’s free to study in universities but you also get financial support from KELA (the social insurance institution of Finland) for your living. Sounds good doesn’t it. Especially when compared to countries where you might have to spend thousands just for a semester of study.

Happy Holidays!

”While having a conversation a shy Finn looks at his own shoes while an outgoing one looks at the other persons” or how the saying/joke goes.  As shyness is one the biggest stereotypes of Finnish people of course not all Finns are shy and to be honest in my own experience Finns have started to be more social in the past few years. And I’m not sure if it’s always shyness or just not having anything to say except yes or no when asked something.

Finland the country with 5 million citizens and 3 million saunas. You know saunas the hot ”rooms” where you throw water to hot rocks and it vaporizes and then you just sit there sweating, feeling hot and relaxed.

Fun fact about Finnish shyness is that it’s pretty much forgotten when it comes to sauna. When it’s difficult to stand close to each other while waiting a bus at the bus stop there is no problem getting naked and sitting side by side with strangers in a sauna.