Tag Archives: stereotype

Time to break the stereotype

I am going to give you a task: Think about the stereotypical Finnish person. How would you describe his/her appereance and personality? Maybe you would say Finns are silent, kind of cold attitude towards everything or anyone new (or even towards mutuals…) and when they speak, they use as few words as possible. Their posture is a bit bad and they are hiding in the shadows trying to avoid being in the centre of attention. The stereotypical Finn would not like to make any fuss about him-/herself – whether it be about their clothing style or opinions about current happenings. But is this stereotype of a Finn really the truth nowadays or is it an old belief from the past?

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Finland has risen from a poor country with uneducated majority of inhabitants to a solid welfare state with promising professionals in many academic fields and also in entertainment industry – not to mention fashion and design. Social media’s breakthrough has made it easy to be aware of global issues and to follow international trends and Finns have made themselves familiar with this phenomenom. Especially the young adults and teenagers of Finland seem to have nothing in common with the old stereotype – quite on the contrary.

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“Typical” Finn in the right.

The trendy Finn of today is a real social butterfly who takes interest in and has opinions of global and political issues. He/she is always wearing the latest brands or supporting Finnish designers and their quirky style and likes to visit new restaurants and coolest places to be. Their use of social media is on point and they take their education seriously. They even aren’t that scared of the limelight anymore – there are many promising Finnish talents who are trying to get to the top of their own field. So maybe it is time to break the old stereotype of a sullen, silent Finn?

Finnishness – a survival guide

Finns would rather sit naked in a hot room than have a conversation, but if you do happen to talk to a Finnish person, expect brief to-the-point answers and silence. Don’t try to fill the silence with small talk, it will only make things worse. Unless it’s about the weather, then go right ahead. By the way, it’s raining while I’m writing this and it’s forecasted that tomorrow is going to rain too. The weekend is supposed to be nice though. I should also mention that “summer” doesn’t last very long and Finnish people love to complain about it. Before the warm days people complain that it’s too cold and during warm days they complain that it’s too hot.

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Moving on to personal space, something that is very important to Finns. We like to keep our distance from other people. For example, in public transport, people prefer to sit alone and avoid sitting next to someone they don’t know and would rather stand. If you want to mess with people, sit next to a stranger and start a conversation, see how they react. Nothing confuses a Finn more than a strange person initiating conversation.

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All of this is thrown out the window when alcohol is introduced into the equation. Offer a Finnish person a drink and you’ve made a friend for life. Alcohol is a big part of the Finnish culture, for better or for worse.

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These stereotypes might give the image that all Finns are quite reserved, shy and like to be alone and for the most part, stereotypes are based on reality. However, once you get to know Finnish people you’ll find out that they are one of the warmest, most loyal and sincere people you’ll ever meet, even though they might not want to portray that picture of themselves.