Finnishness – Finnish small talk

Finnish small talk is something that practically doesn’t exist. Not in the way that it exists globally everywhere else in the world. In Finland there’s a saying “vaikeneminen on kultaa,” which roughly translates to “silence is gold.”

If a Finnish person feels like they have nothing interesting to say, they stay quiet. A question like “How are you doing?” usually is taken very literally in Finland.


Kuvahaun tulos haulle finnish small talk


My favourite examples of Finns trying to avoid small talk is the classic bus stop-situation. It’s like we almost have an internal ruler inside us since every distance between strangers is almost precisely the same. Just close enough to be in the bus stop-area but as far away from disturbing someone elses personal space/letting someone else disturb theirs.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle bus stop finland

Still, even though Finns are quite limited in their day to day-conversations to other people, you can guarantee you will always get a quite honest answer to everything, but in a way that doesn’t necessarily offend you.  Finns have a good backbone and even though we don’t always have time for small talk, you’ll know when a Finn likes you.

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