Merete Mazzarella, a professor of Nordic literature at the University of Helsinki, tells a joke: How do you know if the Finn on the elevator with you is outgoing? When he’s looking at your shoes instead of at his own.
The key to the Finnish character is quietude. Finns rarely enter into conversation with strangers; words are chosen carefully; small talk is considered suspect. Instead Finns revere “sacred silence” and hold that keeping quiet is healthy and promotes thoughtfulness. In his book Cultures in Conversation, author Donal Carbaugh quotes a young Finn who admits, “I never realized that people in other cultures might regard the word ‘shy’ as a negative word… ‘Ujo’ or ‘shy’ in Finnish has a neutral or positive meaning.”
All this time that’s where I should be living? Not after all of this I’ve written!
–linkswipe via Reddit