Finns are great… but maybe also a little weird. There are tons of unique things about Finnish people that are different from other cultures around the world. And if you want to get to know us, you must understand those unique characteristics.
Of course, each person is different. But these characteristics are common to most Finns and will help you understand our culture and lifestyle much better.
Here are 10 different characteristics of Finns that you need to understand.
10 Finnish Characteristics
Finns are often perceived as shy and quiet. And that’s kind of true! We don’t bullsh*t things and only talk when it’s necessary. We’re direct and to the point—no extra talking required.
We even have a saying that captures this characteristic: “Vaikeneminen on kultaa.” or, “Silence is golden.” So, don’t be surprised if the Finnish people you meet aren’t always talking during quiet times like waiting for the bus.
When you do start talking to a Finnish person, they can be great conversationalists, so don’t be afraid to speak up!
Trust is an important cultural value in Finland. Things like corruption, scams and other crimes are not a huge problem here because there is so much trust in society. Finnish people are also very honest people who will tell the truth and not lie to get their own way.
Being humble is good, but sometimes Finns can be too humble. It’s good to be proud of your accomplishments! But many Finns won’t speak about their successes because they don’t want to brag or show that they are better than someone else.
So, be confident in your accomplishments, but don’t brag—Finnish people will think you are arrogant.
If Finns have some business to get to, they’ll get straight to the point. There’s no “beating around the bush” with anything—it’s always directly to the matter at hand.
After that, we go back to being silent.
5. Established social circles
Making friends in Finland can be more complicated than in some other countries. But it’s not because we don’t want to make friends, but because many friendship circles are already established. Finnish people don’t see the need for many close friends but usually, just have a small number.
This doesn’t mean you can’t make Finnish friends—just be active and social to find the right group of friends to join.
6. National identity of Finns
Finnish people are proud of their culture, history, and identity. Finland is a relatively small country with a small population that faced challenges and hardships in the past. This made us stronger and even more proud of our culture.
Finns don’t expect foreigners to know very much about the Finnish language or culture, so if you do know a bit—we are so impressed! It means a lot to Finns when you take an interest in our culture and try to learn a few words of our language.
Men and women are very equal in Finnish society. For example, women hold many high positions in companies. We were also the first country in Europe that allowed women to vote!
It’s still not perfect gender equality, but it’s something that we do quite well and are very proud of as a society.
Everyone is on time in Finland for work and personal life. It’s considered rude and disrespectful to be late for something, even just five minutes. The best way to ensure you’re on time is to be early!
Finns are taught to be independent from a young age. For example, most Finns move out of their parent’s homes for university at the age of 18-20. This is possible because an excellent social security net allows us to do it, and it’s encouraged in the culture to be independent as soon as possible.
Because of this individual mindset, many Finns people focus on getting their own things in order before reaching out to family and friends.
Despite being a little shy and quiet, Finns are very friendly. If you’re traveling in Finland and need directions on the street or help with your luggage, Finns will definitely step in to help.
If you’re invited to a Finnish person’s home for dinner, you’ll have a wonderful dinner in a comfortable, welcoming environment.
Every Finnish person is unique and different. But these 10 characteristics are common to pretty much all of us! We’re a small but proud, country with a unique culture and identity. Next time you are in Finland or talking to some Finnish people, remember these characteristics, and you’ll have an easier time connecting.
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