I have been contacted by more than one person wanting to date Scandinavian people or even marry one of us. My reply? Tough luck! Because Scandinavians don’t date. We hardly even have a word for it. The Scandinavian word for ‘date’ is really old-fashioned and one my grandmother might have used but probably didn’t because I don’t think she dated either. So the few times we have to use the word ‘date’ (usually to describe something foreigners do) we use the English word for it.
And we very rarely get married.
So how do we figure on top of these lists of “happiest people in the world,” you wonder? And how do we procreate if we don’t date and don’t marry?
Marrying a Scandinavian
Let me answer the last question first: Yes, many of us choose not to get married but that doesn’t mean that we don’t live together or have children in well-established partnerships. We may not have good words for ‘dating’ but we certainly have a great word for that spouse-without-a-wedding-ring we have back home: “samboer.” Which means “together-liver.” And yes, that word works better in Scandinavian. 🙂
If you live with someone in Scandinavia, and especially if you have kids, you are as good as any married couple would be in your country. I have no idea which of my friends are married and which “only” live together. But I know from statistics that more people live together than are married – and that is counting all the old people who got married back when that was still something you did (in Norway it was illegal to live with someone without being married up until 1972 – imagine that!).
Dating a Scandinavian
I’ve always been fascinated by American date movies because it’s like watching some weird rituals in some far-away country I don’t know very much about. I’ve also lived in several non-Scandinavian countries for longer periods – USA, Greece, Germany and Italy, when I was young and single and thus in the dating segment. But dating was like a foreign language to me – as it is when I watch American movies and television shows. So I might have gotten the dating “rules” of your country (which might *not* be USA and therefore not part of those American movie rules) entirely wrong and am thus making a big thing out of nothing.
So to make it clear what I’m talking about: As far as I understand it, dating in so many non-Scandinavian countries may consist of a man asking a woman he doesn’t know very well to go out to dinner and/or a movie with him, his picking her up and dropping her off afterwards and his paying the bills and making the decisions, and the first date ends with a kiss at the most? Does that describe dating in your country? If so, buckle up and see how we non-date in Scandinavia.
Dating rules – the Scandinavian version
Dating, as mentioned above, is what we don’t do. None of it. I`ll make you a list of what we don’t do so you’re not confused:
- We don’t flirt with strangers. There`s no chance of you “meeting” someone you don’t know and asking her out/him asking you out. That’s, of course, unless we’re drunk. We might flirt if we’re drunk. Actually we probably do flirt when we’re drunk. But it’s not a pretty sight because drunk flirting is not elegant. At all. It’s embarrassing – which most of us realize the next morning unless we’ve conveniently forgotten our flirting faux-pas in some kind of drunken black out.
- We don’t ask people out, especially people we don’t know. That’s, of course, unless we’re drunk. We might (if we can still talk) say something along the lines of “doyouwanttogotoamoviewithmetomorrow?” if we’re really drunk. Usually we only say this after we’ve had sex, though.
Compared to what I`ve seen in date movies we usually do it the other way around: We have sex first and then we go out.
When I went to university I used to work at the local cinema. On Sundays we would always have a lot of couples who’d met at parties on Fridays and Saturdays, had what they thought was a one-night stand and then somehow had turned the sex into something more – through a visit to the movies. You’re safe at the cinema: You have two hours where you don’t have to talk but you can still hold hands and snuggle and afterwards you have a topic for a conversation that might otherwise be pretty hard to make. Did I mention that Scandinavians aren’t great conversationalists? Well, unless we’re drunk, of course.
- We do not go to restaurants with strangers. I mean, the embarrassment of it all – sitting there with someone we don’t know and having to make conversation. We don’t even do that if we’re drunk. We might, though, go to a restaurant with a group of friends and “accidentally” manage to grab the seat next to that hot person we’ve been eying for the last six months.
- We do not – and I stress NOT – let the guy pay for dinner. Which is probably one of the reasons why we do not go to restaurants with people we don’t know because what if HE picked up the check? How would we react? Or, for the guys, what is he expected to do with the check? We’ve all seen American movies where the guy picked up the check so the Scandinavian guy might think he should do it too but he would also know that he might offend the woman if he did. As if she was some pauper who couldn’t pay her own way. No, going out to eat with someone you don’t know smells social disaster. If you know each other a little better you’ll usually go Dutch (or Scandinavian, as it were) or treat each other depending on a multitude of factors: Who has money right now? Who paid the last time? Who is broke? Whoever has a sausage-like appendage in his pants is not a factor that determines who is to pay the restaurant bill.
- If you’re a woman and you’re waiting for a Scandinavian man to take the initiative, you might be in for a long wait. I’m not saying they never do take initiative but the Scandinavian men who do, are rarely the ones you want to meet. They are fairly rare and they only take initiative for sex. Which is not a bad thing unless you’re wanting something else/more. The ones who are really interested in you as a person will hold back until kingdom come. Or until you take the first step. The dam will definitely burst if you take the first step and you might find yourself a happy “samboer” a short while after you grabbed the hand of a male Scandinavian. Because male Scandinavians over 25 are rarely afraid of relationships if only someone would take the first step.
- We don’t drive to and from dates. Well, we’ve established that we don’t date at all but we also don’t use our cars if we go out. That is not an absolute truth, of course. Some of us Scandinavians live in rural areas where one has to use the car to get anywhere but most of us live close to busses and trams and metros and trains. Or we grab our bike or we simply walk. Why do we not drive when we go out? We can’t drink when we drive – there is pretty much a zero tolerance to drinking anything and driving (unless you live in Denmark – in Denmark it’s generally accepted to grab one beer, but nothing more). And since drinking is the oil in our social machinery, we don’t drive when we go out. Ever.
- We do not date more than one person at a time. Yes, yes, I know we don’t date at all but if we do start to “hang out” or we see a person in a way that both have acknowledges is not as friends (i.e. we`ve started boinking and found that it was not a one-night-stand) we only go out romantically with that one person. If we do kiss and flirt with more than one person, we’re cheating (which, of course, also happens but is always considered bad behavior). We do not have to have any talks about being “exclusive”. We’re exclusive if we start exchanging bodily fluids on a regular basis and we only stop being exclusive if one of us cheats or if we call the relationship off. And when we start going out and exchanging bodily fluids, we usually refer to the other person as “kjæreste” (in Norwegian, but it’s similar in the other two Scandinavian languages) which is really quite cute and means “the one I hold the most dear”. Yes, that also works best in Scandinavian.
- We’re extremely slow on the uptake but that doesn`t mean we don’t spend time with the person we’ve fallen in love with. It just means we sometimes have a hard time getting up, close and personal with that one person we really like. We Scandinavians are a tricky people – something we probably have to be because we don’t have the fine rules of dating that you do in your country. We may rely on alcohol to be able to make the first move but just as often we tend to become friends with the person we really-really like. And we can become close friends too.
I know of several couples who were so comfortable talking and having fun (and falling in love) that they slept together – and I don’t mean “slept” as in sex but really slept – holding hands and all, before they had ever kissed.
We’re comfortable with nudity, we’re comfortable with being physically close to our friends and we don’t really do that chivalry thing where the guy sleeps on the floor or in an uncomfortable chair just to let her have the bed alone, we’re just not that comfortable about making the first move when we’ve really fallen in love with someone. So the people who do not meet through a one-night-stand might meet in an entirely different way: Becoming very very close friends who will pine for ages until one of them finally kisses the other one. Alcohol is usually involved even then.
- We may be exclusive from the get-go but we still go out with our friends. And our friends may be of the sex we’re attracted to. Which may be very strange considering what I just wrote about people falling in love with their friends. You’re still not allowed to be jealous if your loved-one spends a lot of time with his or her friend – and actually not even if he/she spends the night with the friend. You’re supposed to expect that your loved-one loves you too much to cheat on you and in most cases that is the truth too. Because friends – even friends of the gender you’re usually attracted to – are important, even after you’ve found the love of your life. And life is too short for jealousy.
- Do these nine points sound scary or confusing? They aren’t to us. And if you stick it out, if you get drunk, if you stop expecting a guy to ask you out or flirt with you or pay the bills (or you stop being that guy), you might just end up with a Scandinavian person who may be impolite and somewhat introvert (unless drunk) but also a great partner in life. Statistics show that we’re pretty equal in these parts of the world, meaning that we share the workload at home and that both genders go to work every day. So as a man, living with a Scandinavian woman, you are not expected to feed the family all by yourself. And as a woman, living with a Scandinavian man, you will not be doing all the laundry or picking up the kids from kindergarten every day. And if you prefer to live with someone of your own gender, you can actually marry your loved-one in Scandinavia – no questions asked, no eyes batted. And that way you might just change the statistics that say that Scandinavians don’t marry 🙂
Good luck finding that very special Scandinavian man/woman!
Edit February 2020: Do you want to read a romance that takes place in Scandinavia?
Charlotte has one close friend. Unfortunately, that close friend lives in Norway, and Charlotte has never seen her before. A cosplay convention in Oslo is Charlotte’s chance at finally meeting her online BFF, but when their identities are revealed, Charlotte is in for a big surprise.
915 thoughts on “So You Want to Date a Scandinavian?”
Sounds like life for me as a younger woman (now 39). That would describe how I met and ended up with my boyfriends. My husband and I were in the friends situation for months before we started going out together,and then living together. I thing dating is such an American concept. Oh, I’m Australian by the way.
Good to hear that we aren`t the odd ones out. We do see those dating rules all the time since most of what we watch in the cinemas and TV is from the US, but it really doesn`t apply here.
I remember when I was 18 and living in California. I would be invited out to dates (even blind dates – a big no-no here) and I had no idea how to act. Him opening the doors and him paying the bills. I just wanted to run for the hills. I was extremely embarrassed and the dates were very awkward because I realized there were a set of rules but I had no idea what those rules were.
Another Australian who thinks we’re pretty similar. In fact, all the Scandinavian/Australian couples I know (all four!) met while drunk. And then there’s the Frederick and Mary story…
I think the American dating thing is so often used in movies and tv because it’s such a handy way of putting people in an awkward situation for comic or dramatic effect. How to get the couple to meet? Blind date! Easy to set up, no elaborate back story. You can reuse a set you’ve used a hundred times before…
It sounds like Scandinavians and Australians make perfect couples, Chocolate Crackle 🙂
I agree with you – the more formal dating in American movies is an easy way of getting boy to know girl and girl to know boy. And it probably looks better in movies than our drunken fumbling.
I went to a blind-date. Once. He said he was going to pay for my movie ticket, but it turned out that he had no money. He managed to borrow money from a friend, and I paid for my own ticket and candy, of which he kept eating of without asking. He even had to lean over me to get the candy. Afterwards he kept calling and nagging and stuff.
Then, a while later I went for a date with a guy I hardly knew (but he had a nice car and he was nice at the party I met him at and we had friends in common). Since we had a lot of time before the movie, he took me to meet his granddad, who fortunately wasn’t at home. A couple weeks later, with no contact from my side, I got a text. “…and then all was forgotten…” I replied with something like “forgotten what?”
This is how guys date in Norway. Or at least my experience with dating guys in Norway. Both before I turned 18. This might be why girls from Norway don’t really “do” the dating thing. The later boyfriends has been fixed the proper Norwegian way.
Even the current one, where we had been “totally not dating” for a good while before we watched a movie (allways with the movies!) at his place, and ended up agreeing to be kjærester all formally. Hours before the first kiss.
Because that is how the Norwegian do.
I`m sorry, this made me laugh. I couldn`t help picturing your date leaning over you to grab your candy 😀
Thank you 😀
Dear Thyra10. Great article, sounds quite accurate to me as a Danish guy. But, please, please, could you replace the hopeless “`” in all instances, such as “You`re …” with the correct apostrophe “you’re”. It’ll make reading it so much more pleasurable 😉
I’m actually working on it – I just need to finish another blog post first 😉
Wow, quite a few people are rather bent out of shape about the apostrophes! I am usually a stickler for punctuation and grammar, but I hardly even noticed – just assumed if anything that it was a case of international keyboard issues and moved on. I’m not even sure what that false-apostrophe key is for. Accent mark?
I was surprised by this too. I’m not sure what happened with the aphostrophes but I’ve tried to hit a different key after people pointed it out. I’m still not sure it’s the correct one 😉
This is absolutely the best thing I could have read! I have been getting to know this Norwegian girl since last november, and it started out with just talking occasionally and hanging out. After a couple times at the clubs, we were at her place and then had sex. We then continued actually having sex but not really being much of anything else but friends. Since then, we have grown much much closer as friends to the point where both of us are completely honest in what we like or hate about things we do (which I can really appreciate.) She’s independent, and I love that about her and I trust her plenty as well. The only thing for me is adapting to these new ways because I’m not really used to American dating or Norwegian. Yes, I’m american, but never really did the dating thing. I love the Norwegian way.
The only thing I could use some advice on is where you think this could be headed? we don’t actually have sex now but I’m the only guy she actually enjoys to be around. (Not saying that is good or bad by the way). Is she just warming up to me at this point or…? Anything you want to share would be very helpful(: thank you!
Some of that sounds like what I did. Only we went to bars. So there’s the drinking and getting drunk. Funny I knew of my future husband but we didn’t hang out. Until one night. he happened to be in the bar… been with him ever since. 29 yrs now.
The crowd I hung out with didn’t go out on dates either. We all just hung out together.
Ah, so all the dating is in the movies only?
I like hanging out. And my husband and I fell in love and hung out for ages before anything happened. We were actually one of those couples who would sleep together as friends (which means sleeping – not having sex) because we were just so comfortable in each other`s company. But neither of us had the nerve to do anything about the friendship status until one night we were out with friends and we sort of bumped into each other in a way that ended with a kiss. We haven`t looked back after that.
But I`ve shared bed with plenty of friends both before and after I met my husband – friends who were friends and nothing else. That`s kind of nice too 🙂
I don’t ever remember dating. Even when younger. If you were with someone we all knew you were a couple. Until you weren’t anymore.
That’s funny you guys didn’t know what to do about the friendship status. I think I would have jumped his bones already if that was going on with me. LOL I did in fact. Note the name- Bones
I love the story of you and your hubs. I think it’s so sweet and romantic. I remember when you shared it with me ages ago and I thought I want a relationship like that! <3
@fffbone: Yeah see, it`s hard to jump the bones of someone you`re really interested in. What if he turns you down? It`s so much easier with a guy you just want to … well, jump the bones of. 🙂
@Reefchic7: I think it`s kind of romantic too – though definitely not in any traditional way 🙂
My suggestion to US gals who want to meet a Scandinavian guy is to go to Minnesota. We have plenty of them here. : )
But the question with the Minnesota Scandinavians is: Do they behave as Scandinavians or Americans? Or to put in in another way: Do they date? 🙂
My Australian son won himself a Scandinavian woman – who we all love – and they are happily slogging through the multicultural minefield of their relationship and so far so good. We live in hope that as in Sleeping Beauty – “Love will concur all.”
I think they work so well because she is so independant.
Your son is lucky – if he can manage our strange ways, that is. But if he cherishes her independence, he might just find himself with a partner who is a true partner who will be a help and off him support, just as he can be a help and offer her support. That`s what I like with our relationships – we have few preconceived roles and can therefor carve out a relationship that fits us the way we are. Give my best to the couple!
Will do thanks.
Hey, I enjoyed hearing how other parts of the world get together, it sounds do much less stressful 🙂
I find it less stressful, at least, but then I don`t really know the date rules and they might be less stressful if I knew them.
I`m glad you enjoyed this!
As someone who tried to “date” Danes for 3 years and even wrote a dating column on it I am still so confused. I love Danish men but I left Denmark feeling horribly frustrated and sad because I couldn’t get my head around the processs. I found if I used the word date there then people would run a mile but if I didn’t then I would find myself in crazy drawn out close friendships with weird boundaries that I would often end up getting hurt in as I would invest thinking this is going somewhere while the whole time the guy just thought we would be “close friends”. I found it dishonest and it promoted very poor boundaries. I wouldn’t try again but I am jealous of any woman who does manage to score a Danish guy 😉
Wow. I have never thought of dating in those terms. Im from Australia. And yes, dating still happens here 🙂
However, my relationships have all been stumbled into 🙂 Wow, now i know I’m not alone in the world in connecting this way!
You`re definitely not alone! We are a whole world of people who`ve stumbled into the arms of our loved ones. I think that`s just great! 😀
Thanks for the education, Thyra! But to answer your question, no, dating isn’t just in the movies in the US. Although, clearly there are many ways to meet and fall in love, I still see a lot of traditional dating going on here. The “rules” where the man pays for the meal, opens the door, etc. show his intentions, and having a moment at the end of the night where a kiss is expected can clear things up quite a bit if you were wondering whether you were just going to be friends or not. I’m not saying our way is better, it just is what it is.
And as for the “sleeping with friends” thing–if my husband told me he was planning to sleep nude with a woman friend, but not to worry because she’s Scandinavian, well … um … no. 🙂
LOL <3 you, Suki. I would have a nervous break down, too.
I like the when a man shows his intentions and goes out of his way to make you feel special. I agree, it's not necessarily that our way is better, it's jut what we know. If Thyra hadn't explained all of the nitty gritty to us and I just happened to be hanging out in good ol' Scandinavia, I would be so thoroughly confused by the native mating ritual. 🙂
If you want a man to show his intentions and make you feel special – before you`re “his” – then you should definitely not look for a man here. He can be very romantic when he`s your boyfriend but not before. The only ones who will show you their intentions are the ones who want to have sex with you. Showing emotions is scary stuff!
OH No. No no no That wouldn’t work for me either. You are so right about that. suki59. It would go both ways. I don’t think my husband would like that very much.
It`s all about trust, I suppose. And here you`re expected to trust your loved one to not make any moves even if he`s spending the night with a good female friend. I guess it`s about us being friends with both men and women and friends go to the cabin together or get drunk together and you just don`t want to break up your loved one`s friendships.
There’s a difference between trusting your SO and being comfortable with him/her sleeping naked in the same bed as a friend of the other gender. :p For instance, I’m perfectly okay with my samboer sharing a room with his female friend when he’s going to a convention with her in a couple of months, but if I found out that they’d shared a bed, and one or both of them were -naked-? No way. :p
My samboer has a lot of female friends, and I don’t have a problem with that at all, but there *are* certain limits, even for a Norwegian. :p
(I’m late to the party, I know, but I stumbled across this blog a minute ago and just had to reply! 😉
I`m not really sure how I would have reacted if my husband told me he`d slept in the same bed as a woman but I`m fairly sure I would have trusted him if he`d said nothing happened. I know that it has happened to a lot of my friends and it always worked out fine. Separate beds are preferable, of course, but one of them sleeping on the floor if there`s a large bed? Now that`s just silly in my opinion 😉
Welcome to the party? It seems to have just restarted – I wrote this blog post for a couple of friends last summer but it has gained a lot of views yesterday and today 😀
I think for me, it would probably depend on how large the bed is and their state of undress. Large bed, clothes on, no other option and one of them would freeze if they didn’t share? Sure. Small bed, lack of clothing? Not so much. Not because I don’t trust him (because I do, and absolutely would believe him if he said nothing happened), but because it’s inappropriate when you’re in a relationship with someone else – that’s my opinion, at least. :p
I bet someone found the blog post yesterday and decided to share it via FB or some such – that’s how I found it! Also, it’s an excellent post – and sums up how I got together with my boyfriend pretty perfectly. XD
I can relate to that. The bottom line is that I don`t think most of us would assume that “something” happened just because our better half shared someone`s bed. There might be plenty of explanations that would make perfect sense 🙂
I just wonder who found this blog post. I was so surprised to have this huge wave of people reading and commenting. Everyone is welcome, of course, but I`m still not sure what happened 😉
I think i may have been the one to reanimate the party.
A friend sent me a link and I shared it with some facepages for international students and expats in Norway, sort of as a crash course in dating Norwegians. You are spot on thyra. 🙂
I owe you a big hug then. This reanimated party has been a lot of fun. Thank you 🙂
Reddit did. You may have heard of it? “The frontpage of the internet” and all that? 😛
In my opinion, if you are okay with your husband/boyfriend spending the night in the same bed as a friend of the opposite sex, I’d say that reflects on your level of confidence in yourself and your relationship. I don’t think being insecure about what your husband could do is at any help in a relationship, ergo, why not just relax and show him how much you trust him 🙂 In my experience of psychology I’d say that’s much more effective and healthy, but hey…
I would say this is where our cultures differ drastically. It would be a sign of disrespect for a partner/spouse to stay the night with a member of the opposite sex, let alone sleep in the same bed with them. It would be grounds for divorce or separation, because it is something that is simply not done here. In fact, if an American woman let her husband/partner sleep in bed with someone of the opposite sex, it would be very much viewed that she doesn’t think highly enough of herself (has no self worth).
I remember when I was 18 and living in California and I was invited out on my first date – a blind date set up by my American family. i`d hardly even met the man (he was a member of my family`s church) and didn`t know any of the dating rules. I think I left him pretty frustrated because, looking back, I probably broke each and every rule there was. I was mortified when he paid the bill – and even more so when he started talking about marriage in a very casual way. I think it was his way of showing he was serious and also wanting to let me know he was looking for a wife and that this was the point of dating for him. He was ten years my senior and therefor at another place in life. I think he had the idea that I was some kind of meek foreigner who would make a good wife and I had NO idea what was going on. This is the most formal date I`ve ever been on and I was not tempted into repeating it. *wipes brow*
But I can certainly see how a few rules can make it easier because you will know what is going on and what is expected. You don`t have to read all kinds of body signs or what is said between the lines.
Hehe, so no sleeping with your husband. I`ll remember that 😉 You have to remember, though, that we`ve probably seen our friends naked already even if we don`t sleep with them. I`ve seen friends naked in saunas, at the beach, changing before parties, getting out of wet clothes at the cabin etc etc. And it is kind of nice to sleep with friends because it`s usually a sign of them taking care of you or you taking care of them when you/they are drunk. I`m rarely drunk but at my bachelor party I told my good friend that he was responsible for getting me home – I was afraid of ending up in a gutter, freezing to death. So I ended up back in his bed – sleeping and nothing else – and him getting me home the next day. I`ve also had friends of both genders sleeping with me when I, for a period, was afraid of sleeping alone. Adult slumberparties are very nice indeed 🙂
Ahh now I get it. It’s so cold there, you need all the body heat you can get. Must have king size beds too. LOL
Oh, absolutely. We need to snuggle up and will grab the closest warm body to snuggle up to 🙂
No need for king size beds. The bed my husband and I shared when we were just friends was only 70 centimeters wide.
I totally agree with Suki, because here things are very different from Scandinavia and more similar to US movies. 😀
So what we consider normal, it may be considered bad behaviour in Scandinavia or vice versa 🙂
The article is very interesting and helpful, so one can regulate his/her own expectations. And it’s funny to see how different relationships are around the world.
For example, in my country if a man who doesn’t show his intentions, it means he wants only sex and nothing more. And The courtship part can be a magical moment for women, but may be a bit difficult for men.
When I went to Norway and talked with friends about the fact that Norwegians don’t talk very much, everyone answered: “Get them drunk!”. LOL
Yeah, there is no right or wrong. We consider normal what we are used to, but we can learn from each other 🙂
I find this really fascinating, and not to get too philosophical, but I think it’s very telling about a society’s view of women and their ownership & self determination over their own lives and bodies. … ok, that did sound way too philosophical!
I live in Canada. We have that movie form of dating here, and I have been on quite a few of those. Frankly, I agree it can be a bit uncomfortable. Especially, if you don’t know the guy, and if he has some expectations around how intimate you’re going to get. There are some creeps who think that if they pay for an expensive evening, and go the whole 9 yards with the fancy treatment, that you owe them some sort of sexual compensation. Similarly, and I realize it has probably changed quite a bit since I was in the dating scene, a woman who is comfortable with just having a one night stand can be looked down on by her partner as giving it away too easily and she wouldn’t be considered for anything more. That kind of thing tells me that there is a discomfort here with women being independent & owning their own bodies and sexuality. It can sometimes be linked to religion, but it can also just be part of the culture.
I have always thought dating was a crap way to meet anyone special. All my relationships have come out of sharing a similar interest & being good friends before. (And I’ve never discussed being exclusive. If we were having sex, we were exclusive but maybe that’s just me). It just seems to make sense to me that that is how you would find a good life partner so I think you guys have it right. You seem to have taken away a lot of the pressure in that you’re comfortable with the gender you’re attracted to, nudity is no big deal, you’re going to hold out for the good relationships because you can get laid when & if you want so that doesn’t factor into it. The only thing that concerns me is the dependency on alcohol to bypass social awkwardness. ;). That’s hard on the liver!
I am really curious, though, how all this gender equality plays out if a mother wants to stay home with her children? Is this acceptable? Is it done? Also, the Millenium Trilogy of books talked about rampant misogyny. Is this mere fiction or is there still an element of that?
Thanks so much for sharing all of this!!
Thank you for all your interesting thoughts on this topic!
I honestly don`t think people would think less of a woman because she had one-night-stands. At least not less-less than if a man had the same. Both genders could be termed “sluts” or “cheap” but I think that`s more about the mental side of it – if they`re having sex with a lot of people without the “right” attitude about it. It`s hard to explain and, of course based on what I`ve seen and heard (personally and through friends and media), but there seems to be a negative attitude towards people who have sex without really enjoying it. People who have sex just to heighten their self-esteem, for instance. People who brag about the sex are frowned upon but people who just talk about it in an honest way are not.
I have a colleague who will entertain us regularly with her latest lovers and the advantages and disadvantages with each one of them. She`s 49 and no one thinks less of her for having an active sex life even if she`s single.
On the other end of the scale you`ll also find plenty of people who do not have one night stands – and many of them are men. It`s not uncommon to come upon men in their early 20s who are still virgins or who`ve only slept with one person, namely the one person they`ve ever been in a relationship with. The choice of having sex is yours and I can`t say I`ve ever heard anyone say anything bad about anyone because of the number of lovers that person has had – only because of the attitude that person has towards his/her lovers.
This may be different in some parts of Scandinavia. We do have some pretty religious areas where the attitude might be different. And, of course, you`ll find misogynistic people here like everywhere else. I wouldn`t say the Millennium trilogy was an accurate description of Sweden or Scandinavia – in our crime fiction more people are killed in one book than in a whole year in real life 😀 – but you`ll certainly find people like that here as you`ll find them elsewhere. We have women brought in here, forced into prostitution, for instance, and it`s a huge tragedy. Sweden and Norway have tried to crack down on that by making *buying* sexual favors illegal, which means it`s still legal to be a prostitute – it`s just illegal to buy sex. They claim this has brought the number of women forced into prostitution down (in Norway – and I think in Sweden – foreigners who`ve come here and been forced into prostitution will automatically gain a permit to stay because they`ll be in danger if they go back to their home country) and I`m all in favor of that.
You point at something that has often been brought up here: Do people frown upon women who choose to stay at home with their kids? And the answer is probably yes. Not if the kids are very small – in Norway you`ll even get money from the state if you stay at home with your small kids instead of using a kindergarten/day care center. But if your kids are over, say, four years old I think you`ll meet quite a lot of prejudice if you choose to stay at home. The general opinion is that it`s good for kids to be with other kids before they start school, it`s good for them to be able to play with other kids and not just be around adults. And you`re probably considered a bit selfish and lazy if you stay at home with your older kids. So the free choice is not entirely there.
On the other hand, our low working hours (7,5 hours a day), long vacations (five weeks), flexible hours in many jobs and all the rights we have to be home with sick kids etc, make it entirely possible for both parents to both have jobs and be with their kids. When our kids were small my husband and I worked like this:
I went to work at 7 and left at 2:30 so I could pick up the kids at 3. My husband went to work at 9 so he could leave the kids at the day care center at 8:30. He would leave his job at 4:30 and be home at 5. So the kids would only be at the daycare from 8:30 to 3 and we as a family would be together from 5.
Now our kids are older and walk to and from school themselves so both my husband and I will work the 9 to 4:30 schedule (and I`m SO glad I don`t have to be at work at 7 anymore!).
Yup, our dependency on alcohol to make any kinds of moves on people we fancy will probably be our downfall. And it`s so ingrained in us that I`ve seen people pretend to be drunk just to be able to make the first move on someone 🙂
I’m a swede, and have a stay-at-home mum so it’s done but very rare, and generally looked down on. It’s acceptable if you have some kind of injury that prevents you from working, but if you’re healthy you’ll be considered a “luxury-wife” – meaning, in my experience, that people tend to act as if though they think you’re very wealthy because “how else could she afford to stay home”.
Yes, that’s the downside of everyone working. You’re considered “wrong” if you choose to stay at home.
I believe in personal choice – everyone should choose what fits their life.
Thats interesting to hear. I have a friend who seems to think if she moves to Sweden she will be able to be a stay at home mum because they have more social help than in Puerto Rico and that the government will provide a nanny for her as well. So I find it interesting that you say being a stay at home mum is looked down upon.
older post, but i just started reading your blog and feel like adding my 2 cents 🙂
i feel as though american movies lump all dating stereotypes into one movie. dating tends to mean that the couple are “together” or exclusive, but dating can also mean that that two single people are going on dates. i’m 25 and have only been on a few dates, with my then-boyfriend. he did the courting and sweet talking, then did the whole dinner and movie bit once we were together.
then again, i have lived in the south (georgia) for over half of my life, and with the united states being so big there are different “rules” no matter where you go. in the south people are big on manners so guys tends to open the door for you, even if you don’t know them. even i told the door open for whoever is walking in behind me and especially if they are older.
from what you’ve explained about dating culture, you’ve converted me to wanting a scandanavian man 😉 i like the idea of not getting hit on my strangers… it happens to me more than i’d like to admit. my mom likes to joke and say all the women in the family seem to have a habit of attracting the weird ones 😛
Older or not – your 2 cents are always welcome 🙂
It does sound very sweet and nice to be courted and sweet talked but I have to admit that I get sweaty palms just thinking about it because I wouldn`t know what to do in return. I would be a terrible date, I`m sure.
I do try to hold a door if I know someone is walking behind me but you certainly can`t expect everyone to do the that around here. Same goes with getting big suitcases up in the overhead compartments on trains – you might struggle and strain your back and five young and able guys would never even look up from their phones to ask if you need help. If you ask for help, though, you would get it but there`s some kind of embarrassment surrounding the whole asking people if they need help. It`s as if you`re implying that they are weak. I`ve seen people give up their seat on the bus for elderly co-passengers and the elderly person was annoyed because “I`m not that old”. I actually have a colleague who got into an argument because a young guy gave up his seat for her and she was really annoyed and angry with him. She`s 49 so she isn`t old but I still thought it was a lovely gesture and she made sure he would never make that gesture again. We`re strange that way.
Oh, I LOVE not getting hit on by strangers. It happens when we travel to Italy or Greece and it`s SO nice to come home again and be left in peace.
I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to say that I found it incredibly informative.
I’m an Australian woman who met a Swedish guy (when drunk), had sex and then proceeded to catch up for coffee, cinema, dinner, beach ect. In my experience relationships in Australia that begin with sex but lead to other forms of spending time together are generally regarded as casual until both people agree on being exclusive or being in a relationship.
This appears to be where the cultural differences have began to emerge. I entered into things presuming that everything was going to stay light, casual and presumably end when he leaves the country. However, I’m starting to get the feeling that he feels otherwise.
Over the last few weeks he has inundated me with comments about the future including references to me moving to Sweden, marriage and kids. Comments like this make me feel rather awkward so I just tried to ignore them or change the topic of conversation. I honestly thought that speaking about things like this must have been considered normal behaviour in Sweden so I just let it go.
I’m wondering we both interpreted the relationship differently due to our different cultural backgrounds.
I`m glad you found my post – and that you found it informative 🙂
Since a lot (most?) relationships here kick off with sex (mainly because we don`t really date), I`m not surprised that your Swedish guy is serious about your relationship. Having started out a relationship with sex does not make that relationship inferior in any way – not in the eyes of a Scandinavian.
I`m also not surprised because Scandinavian guys generally aren`t as afraid of starting serious relationships as what I`ve been told guys in other countries are. This is a generalization, of course, but it is my impression that men here want that serious relationship at least as much as women do – and they`re not embarrassed to say so. And, I suppose, most of us think this is the natural place for a relationship to go unless you find that you`re incompatible. If you like each other and enjoy each other`s company, moving in together is the next natural step no matter how the relationship started out.
But it may be something else, of course, and not (just) your different cultural backgrounds. He may just be more into you than you are into him and so it`s more natural for him to think that you have a future together than it is for you.
I`m not sure why this future has to be in Sweden, though. Not that there`s anything wrong with Sweden but he could have made a future relationship easier for you to consider if he`d planned it out in Australia 🙂
Good luck with your Swedish guy whether it`s short time pleasure or marriage and kids in Sweden or Australia 😀
Unfortunately relocating may be hard for both of us, he has a son in Sweden and I’m working to complete my masters in clinical psychology, which I imagine would be next to useless for me in Sweden.
He has been away for the past few days visiting an ex in another part of Australia. Originally I thought this was a pretty good sign that things were pretty causal since its not something that we here in Australia would normally do. Although he was calling and emailing me every day I just assumed he was doing it to be polite. Aussie guys have a tendency to call and email “i miss you” messages out of social obligation rather than sincerity.
Not really sure whats going on, but I guess its defiantly something I’m going to need to talk with him about over the next few days.
I also had to laugh about the all the references to socialisation with the assistance of alcohol, or ‘dutch courage’ as we call in here. Australians have a tendency to be very outgoing and friendly; I’m always happy to strike up a conversation with almost anyone, anywhere anytime, which lead to him asking me “why are you always drunk?”. 🙂
I see. That`s certainly a problem. At least if you want to keep seeing each other. Though clinical psychology is probably as useful in Sweden as in Australia 🙂
I had to smile at this. Being friendly with your ex is what we all hope for here and it`s certainly not something one would hold against a lover/boyfriend. I mean, if he`s friendly with his ex it only shows that he can move on with no hard feelings which is way better than if there had been an endless amount of bitterness. If I meet a guy who only has bad things to say about his ex, I would think he wasn`t over her and I would probably also start considering his role in it. But if he was truly over her and managed to be friends with her, I would consider him a good person, especially if he knows exactly why that relationship didn`t work out.
Again I`m generalizing but I would say that expecting your boyfriend to stop seeing an ex (as a friend, of course) is considered bad taste – just as jealousy is. And him visiting an ex certainly isn`t his way of saying goodbye to you, I would say.
On the other hand, if he says “I miss you” then I would consider that a huge thing. Since we aren`t the most polite people on this planet, we tend to say these things too rarely – and certainly only when we mean them.
Oh yes, talking to strangers is something you only do drunk so, of course, you had to be drunk if you did that 😀
I wish you the best of luck with the talk you need to have. I hope it works out the way you want it to work out.
OMG – I wish I found your blog 4 months ago!
I have been seeing this Swedish guy since the end of September and I have been living pure paranoia as I do not understand him at all. Does he like me? Does he not? Does he want more? Does he not? Where do we stand?
I come from Southern Europe and have been leaving in UK for a long, long time. I’ve met all sorts of guys, the one who tells he loves you, the one who likes you one minute and then not, and then likes you again, the one who could not commit to breakfast together, the weird one, the cheater and so on, but ultimately all those people had the same trail of thought. With this person it’s so different. We’ve met through mutual friends and yes, one night stand kicked off pretty much the same night. I found myself always getting in touch more than he would ( a lot more!) in order to hang out (but always agreed to meet), and then realised that we would go Dutch pretty much every time (which is unusual in UK, but I’m OK with that as I find – strangely enough, the opposite o f my culture, extremely embarrassing. It feels like I owe something back?)
I have attempted a month ago to see where we stand with this and the answer I got was something like “I don’t know where this is going to, but I am happy with what it is and I like to keep seeing you”, which in my language it really doesn’t mean exclusivity, but I guess in yours does?
I have to admit, it is a struggle for me as I am never too sure about where I stand. He’s super cute when I am with him, full of attentions and quite affectionate when we are out, but also very individualist and won’t get in touch with me even for 5 or even more days(and this is something that drives me bonkers!). I have tried to take 10 steps back as I am trying to respect his way of being and his culture, but how long will I have to wait before I can feel sure about his feelings? My culture and your culture are like day and night and I am so eager to meet half way through. Any advices?
Glad you found it now 🙂
I can`t speak for every Scandinavian person, obviously, but what you`re saying here would describe a perfectly normal and healthy new relationship here.
Yes, we almost always go Dutch and I agree with you – I also find it embarrassing if he pays for dinner unless it`s understood that I`ll do it the next time.
Yes, I would assume the relationship is exclusive seen through his eyes even if it isn`t spelled out. I would also take his statement that he`s happy with things as they are at face value. He`s happy, he enjoys being with you, but he can`t predict the future. The latter part of the statement, that he doesn`t know where things are going is also fairly common here. Since we rarely marry each other, we just take things as they come. One day we find ourselves living with one another and one day there`s suddenly a child there. Not big resolutions in advance, we just stumble along.
I`m not sure you`ll ever be sure of his feeling as we`re not really a people of big declarations. You`ll probably have to read his feelings in what he does and if he seems to enjoy being with you, then I would say it`s because he likes you. He would stop seeing you if he stopped liking you since he probably is exclusive.
But the big point here is what you want. Yes, one needs to understand where one`s partner comes from culturally but you also need to be sure that you`re okay with it. If you think his attitude towards your relationship is too laid-back and you find it hard to deal with then that`s a problem that needs a solution. He can`t bring Sweden with him everywhere he goes and he will have to see your side of it all.
So my advice (and I`m just one person with no special advice skills 😀 ) is to talk to him about your cultural differences. He may not realize how different your outlooks are and how things he says and does can be viewed differently from how he means them. Your needs are important too but he has to see them and understand them first 🙂
I have talked to him about the messaging thing (oh boy, another thing – never calls, only text messages!!) – He’s away for work now and I went to visit him last week. I did say that I was only going to see him to one condition – of him been in touch more often and he has apologised and done so. This is not the only thing I struggle with, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, so I guess it is wise to take a step at the time and discuss anything that feels culturally different.
Despite all my friends telling me that I should talk to him and label everything we have and even to end this, I feel that he’s a very honest person, with a lot of respect for me, so I can only wait and see if this is worthwhile. He can be odd a lot of times, but I believe us, non-Scandinavian girls, overthink things and misread the messages behind every actions. So I am taking the risk to hang in there and see what happens next. After all, not knowing what comes next is scary, but this happens in every relationship! Fingers crossed I’m thinking right 🙂
BB: This sounds exactly like my (Norwegian) boyfriend in the beginning of our relationship. One of my boyfriend’s “problems” was that he hadn’t been in a serious relationship before and wasn’t used to thinking about anyone but himself. For instance, he’d text me, but more often than not I had to be the one initiating contact, simply because he didn’t think that far. He gave me very mixed signals in the beginning, not because he wasn’t interested, but because he didn’t know where things were headed and didn’t really know how to proceed. :p The fact that your Swedish guy actually has listened to what you’ve said with regards to the messaging and keeping in touch thing is promising, I’d say. Good luck!
I never call anyone either. I hate talking on the phone. Maybe that`s also a Scandinavian thing? I have no idea 🙂
In general we`re not chatterboxes in this cold area of the world. Someone once said that it`s because it`s too cold to talk. Not sure that`s true but we generally don`t waste words if we can be quiet (that doesn`t apply to me because I like to talk all the time).
I don`t know your Swedish boyfriend but generally I would trust what people say around here. I`ve found guys to be very honest and not saying things just to get their way with you (because they get it anyway so there`s no point in lying).
I don`t think I would misread his messages but just take them at face value. If he`s odd then it might just be because he hasn`t really learned the social codes in your country yet.
And it`s not always a bad thing not knowing what happens next. Life often offers some great surprises.
Good luck and give your boyfriend an extra hug!
In Scandinavia it is considered unmanly to talk a lot. Young men in Scandinavia learn from an early age not to scream to much when hurt and not to show emotions unnecessarily. It is acceptable to talk a little and to show some emotions, but in general it is much more manly to stay silent. The problem is that men in Scandinavia think that they are the most attractive when they are silent with a slightly arrogant pose. Unfortunately I am not certain that they are wrong.
Stay silent and let people wonder if you’re stupid or open your mouth and end all doubt 😉
I agree. In general, we do bring up little boys to be silent. I wouldn’t say that Scandinavian men are worse than other men when it comes to discussing their emotions but they are experts at being silent.
I read your post and some of the comments and must say am genuinely surprised. Am a non-Scandinavian girl and my Swedish boyfriend courts me by taking me out, to restaurants and cinemas, bringing me flowers and picks up the bill. He tried once to go Dutch in the beginning but I explained him it was cheap and he never tried again.
I also told him right at the beginning that I never have sex and only make love in a commited relationship, and he offered me to marry him 6 months after that even before we actually made love.
I think that a problem of all the girls in the world including those dating with the Scandinavian guys is settling for less. Set your rules, stick to them, and see the world revolving around you, not vice versa. Of course if a guy can have an uncommitted sex, he will go for it. But it’s not a Scandinavian thing, it’s a men thing. Don’t be cheap, drink and jump into bed on the first night and the guy will have respect for you.
Athena, with all due respect that does not exactly work always (usually) that way in Nordic countries. In fact, a girl or woman might get offended if she was treated unequally. She might very well find that condescending and insulting.
Everyone is flattered by pampering one, naturally. It just ain’t the Nordic way. As far as I have seen, it appears that courting couples return the favours.
Every person is an individual, of course. There ain’t stereotypes. Much. But many would consider not getting to know each other as in sexual intercourse borderline stupid.
Nah, Nordics ain’t very religious.
Well, that’s the way life is. Some people always consider some other people’s beliefs stupid, whether those are beliefs in necessity or non-necessity of higher education, abortion or whatever. There are always pros and cons. I myself sometimes consider some beliefs stupid, and my beliefs can easily be considered stupid by others.
My point was that you shouldn’t yield to lack of courtshup and romance just because you are being pushed by the majority and are considered stupid. Majority changes over time. If women start refusing one night stands, men will have to adjust their approach to what is considered stupid and what is not.
Obviously, if a man is interested in you, he will adjust. If not – get out of the queue, next one please.
But that leaves me with one question. What about women’s rights to have one night stands or test first?
Works perfectly when it’s what you want.
It’s just that all comments from women here are either that “it’s cool to be pampered, but alas-alas, Scandinavian guys are not like that and when they are not Scandinavian I am scared to death that they want something from me because my low self-esteem doesn’t let me believe that a guy can truly enjoy taking care of me” or “what should I do with the Scandinavian guy, he seems uninterested and I want to think that he’s interested/make him interested”.
Which, if you sum it up, shows that women would love to date, but since they just can’t get it, they settle for less. Not a single comment from a woman seeing one night stands as something they would prefer to pampering.
Athena, you simply don’t get it. Males would like pampering at times as well. If we dared to pamper a female, they might start feeling “inferior” and the guy is very soon a “sexist pig”. Or some kind of Don Juan or Casanova.
Less is more.
So you think the problem is that the girls don’t show how much they appreciate that when they are pampered and don’t do that in return? Girls being rough and masculine leads to men automatically switch roles and being awkward and feminine?
Athena, I think you are underestimating the males here. Many like strong women or tomboys, if you will. They are easier to treat as equals. And the best thing for a lasting relationship is being equal friends. Also, if you say a male switches role to the more feminine one, that is utter poppycock, unless he has serious problems with self-esteem.
I actually at first thought you’re a female because of your name ending with a vowel and me automatically assuming that all the names ending with vowels are feminine unless I know for sure those are masculine. (like Juha, for example).
So now I am curious. Tell me as a guy, – is there a way to make you fall madly in romantic love, and do you even need this – or is it something for what there’s absolutely no necessity in your system and good old sex is a much better way to invest your effort into?
I left few comments at the beginning of the year as this helped me understanding these Vikings, so different and so cold compared to where I came from. I’ve stopped reading all the new comments, but now Athena I see your name popping up all the time. With all the respect Athena, when I read your first comment I burst out laughing and to quote you “He tried once to go Dutch in the beginning but I explained him it was cheap and he never tried again”…Sorry, do you guys go out and he pays for everything, absolutely everything? Let me tell you something…I am a woman and I come from Southern Europe, but my parents always taught me to pay my own way and not to wait for the other people to do so….If you can’t afford it you may as well don’t go out. Maybe this is not the right example, but the fact I always get my money out in front of a bill makes me feel proud of the fact that I can afford it, that I don’t expect the other person to do so, that I am independent and so on. I’ve read many years ago a book on Rules, where the woman should play by them, so never pick up a bill, always wait for the other person to call, and pretend to be super busy if a request to hang out would reach you her late (even if she has nothing planned and end up being miserable for the entire time all alone). Are these your values? Is this what are you going to teach your children one day? To use other people and their money? Come on, it’s 2014, this is not how it should go; it’s called feminism, where you should feel able to treat a man to a special occasion as much as he does with you, where there is no differences in wages, where a woman’s brain can be considered as useful as a man’s one. Otherwise this is going backwards and quite frankly it’s a kinda of pathetic. I say thumbs up Joona, I am with you.
But then I have one question Athena – I came here because I was oblivious to the Scandinavian way of thinking….if you are so happy with your relationship, why did you land on this blog? 😉
And FYI the man I was so unsure about, the man that ticked all these cold boxes, is still with me. He has managed to be romantic, and wonderful, many times, maybe sometimes with the help of a tiny extra glass of wine, but you know what? Everything that was said and done came from his heart….IN VINO VERITAS 😉
Heh, none taken. Many Finnish male names end in a wovel. Joona, as such is a Finnish translitteration of the Hebrew Yohonah, Anglic form being Jonah.
That said, I ain’t Jewish or otherwise religious, nor were my parents. Many western names are etymologically from the Bible.
I also love my second name IIvari, as it comes from the Norse Ingvar. A Varangian explorer an warrior, who met his fate trying a bit too much to piss off the Estonians and Fins.
As your question, yes, it is easy to make me madly in romantic love. But I would still consider “no sex before marriage” a folly, Since I am way past my teens and early twenties, I prefer to fall head over heels in love first.
Well said Joona. 🙂
of course I can pay my own bills, in fact I stand way higher than him on the carreer ladder and earn four times more than him 🙂 But I told him about this when we were already married. Now that we are married I of course pamper him. Not with money – we just have a joint account – I let him be the main decision maker when he wishes so. I try in general take care of him – to boost his self esteem, to praise him in front of his friends and to show respect to him in front of his colleagues. He’s also extremely sweet, I always melt when I think of how he remembers my every habit and thinks about ways to make me happier.
I stumbled upon this blog when I was looking for the information about how to better treat Scandic men. I have never been interested in this before but now I just want to return back all the waterfalls of adoration he has rained on me.
no-no, of course we had sex before marriage 🙂 It’s just took quite a few months to get there 🙂 And those were adorable months, evn though the first week or so was frustrating for him 🙂 After I didn’t let him in after the first date and told him that I had to go to bed due to lots of work pending tomorrow, he was puzzled. The next day he was frustrated. The day after he was enraged 😀 And then luckiliy he just ask a few questions and totally appreciated my point view. Which wasn’t actually something I hoped for. He’s an extremely attractive, strong, tall and stubborn man so I was just prepared to lose him if he dumps me for refusing give him sex. Luckily, things went the right direction 🙂
Talk with the guy about it, that is always the best advice. Scandinavians are really bad with that so dont expect him to start that conversation. It might also be that he is only in the UK for a while and just wanna have fun while there, ie no serious relationships. This is especially likely if he seems like the player type, who flirts with a lot of girls. (yes, we have those in scandinavia too, although they might be few and far between compared to other cultures)
Ole, he’s not in UK for a while, he’s been living here for a long time. He’s away for work and will be soon coming back for good. I will surely have a subtle talk about it 😀
This blog is on FIRE! I can’t honestly keep it up anymore!
As I said few lines down, some people are just missing the point of this blog and these few rules; it has helped me to get the basics, now it’s up to me to develop this further! I like my guy a lot, so I can only admit how keen I am to see this working 🙂
Haha, if your Swedish guy is anything like my boyfriend, you’re going to have to be more than subtle when you talk with him. XD
Lise, I will do. My guy and yours are pretty much the same. Damn, it’s never easy huh?
Thank you for writing this! I am very interested in a Scandinavian guy that I’ve been friends with for over 10 years, and I have no clue if he feels the same way or not. We lost touch for a few years and recently reconnected (I’m American but I live in Australia now). He emails me every few days and I just love talking with him as it is very comfortable, and he’s a great guy. I’m thinking now that maybe, just maybe, he is interested. I hope!
You`re welcome 🙂
I guess the only way to find out if he`s interested is by asking. The good thing is that very few Scandinavian guys will hold that against you and most of them will be thrilled by not having to take the initiative. And if he isn`t interested in you in that same way, there`s no reason for you not to stay friends. So you really have nothing to lose by asking 😀
I am norwegian. And this is SO true. So so so so true. Right on the nail with this one. I wish we were a “dating” population, but we like to keep out feelings to ourselfs and not show vulnerability for the ones we have crushes on. It all resolves itself on a night on the town or a party at someones house. And it’s even worse if you’re gay, the web or mutual friends is really your only chance.
I`m glad you agree with this blog post. And I think you`re right – we really don`t want to reveal our feelings for other people. We`re emotionally shy (or cowards, if you will). Unfortunately for us, since we don`t have a dating culture, just asking someone for a date or showing the least bit of interest is a huge thing. At least we have alcohol 😉
I can only imagine how much worse it is if you`re gay. I think most of my gay friends have met their significant other on various dating sites. But then, so have so many of my straight friends. Without dating sites I`m sure Scandinavians would be pretty lonely :-/
I feel there is one small thing lacking. After some weeks of sleeping together and drinking and talking and hanging out, one of the people involved might mumble from the bottom of the bottle:
– “umm.. ehh.. relationship… stuff and such… ?”
and the other party will answer something along the line of
– “uhm… yea… we are like that, aren’t we?”
And both will feel stupid, because you are supposed to feel it, if you are in a relationship. It’s not established by words. You may avoid the embarassed silence that tends to follow with a skål.
Haha, indeed. I know people who`ve lived together for 20 years but who still haven`t had that conversation.
Haha, yes. I remember that awkward talk clearly. My boyfriend asked “are we dating now?” and I was all “I…think so?”. And then I freaked out a little while later because I didn’t really understand what he meant by “dating” (he’d used the english word), and if he meant the Norwegian or American kind. And then we had another awkward talk. \o/
Haha, my husband and I just sort of moved in together and never really discussed what was happening. Actually we sort of lived together even before we were “dating” and the rest was history.
It`s both great and a bit awkward that we don`t have all these dating rules 😀
Haha, so true! My sambo and I (both Swedish) started our relationship by having casual sex, the he moved in and we lived together for three months before we even had that conersation.
If I remember it correctly, it went in the lines of:
Him: So, eh… we are like serious now?
Me: Um, yes, I think so…
And that was after we had been samboers for three months 🙂
to sum up. U are scared by the people u don’t know since ages unless you are drunk. The mporning after u are scared again.
You could put it like that. Shy and scared are just two sides of the same coin 😉
As a Scandinavian guy in his thirties I have to say that most of this is spot on. But to expand on the “shyness” and “not hitting on strangers” thing, I have to say that it has a bit to do with shyness, but more to do with respect. Approaching a stranger with such intentions is disrespectful for most Scandinavian males. She may feel uncomfortable, she may be busy, be with friends, already in a relationship, even become afraid by such advances. You just don’t do that to a person.
Of course it’s a bit different when you are drunk, but even then it’s not very common to approach total strangers to hit on them, but more common to use that “liquid courage” to approach someone you already know and like. I’ve had female friends and colleagues where it was obvious that she liked me, and I her, and still we waited until a occasion occurred where we could have a drink before talked about it and ended up together.
I agree with you. Scandinavian men are showing women a lot of respect by not approaching complete strangers who have shown absolutely no interest. You don`t hear cat calls very often (if ever) here and in general Scandinavian men are respectful, in my opinion.
Alcohol works as a liquid courage for both men and women. I`m not sure how people who don`t drink meet each other 😉
Yes, but I’m not sure it has only to do with being drunk either. In many cases both me and the person of interest has not been very drunk (a couple of beers), but the social situation / context that surfaces in that setting is less intimidating in a way, and invites more personal interaction 🙂
You mean I should approach a girl only if she looks at me in the eyes and we smile at each other? (I’m asking seriously, I’m half norwegian but new to Norway). I also noticed that some people got bothered by me just greeting at them. And at work I know people that would never greet at me if I don’t start, same with conversation.
Yeah, I think you have it right there. We don’t really greet strangers and some might find it border lining offensive if you approached strange girls. You should definitely wait until she gives you some kind of sigh that she’s interested.
Of course, you could chat to strangers but only if it’s casual chatting. If you’re really trying to hit on someone, then try a smile first and make sure she smiles back before you talk to her.
And even if you do strike a casual conversation, make sure to keep it light and on innocent topics – football or the weather. Flirtation works very poorly around here 😉
Yes, it`s really strange how we need those social situations to be able to show any kind of interest. But it`s nice too. You can go to work and not think about flirtation but just focus on doing your job. You know that if you`re interested in a colleague, you just have to make sure you meet him/her in a social setting and you can relax at work.
Surely you can’t ALL be socially awkward alcoholics. But if so, hey – I like a challenge 🙂
No, probably not but most of us are shy and enjoy a beer in good company (sounds better than “socially awkward alcoholics, right? :-D).
I would love to hear how your challenge goes. Based on my own experiences abroad, it`s like mixing oil and water. Sex works out just fine (the international language and all that), but dating and relationships? Not so much.
Well, my goal is exactly this – to find love in Norway! I’m moving there in April, and have never been to Scandinavia before, but have talked to literally hundreds of Norwegians online; I’ve certainly sensed the Nordic way of thinking can be puzzling to outsiders, so I’d thought at least some culture clash will be involved, but it was your post that irrefutably justified and specified my expectations. I find it extremely interesting and useful for fans – it certainly helps us understand oil logic 😉 Besides, chemistry and tons of emotional intelligence always does the trick (even between radically different people from the same culture), so I really am optimistic, and promise to let you know as soon as my quest is complete. If not – you were right! 🙂
That sounds great! I wish you a great time here.
And really, if you know about our social awkwardness, you might just be able to overcome it.
My problem when I lived in California was that I wasn`t even aware of my own social awkwardness and was entirely embarrassed without knowing why whenever someone showed any interest/asked me out. I had NO idea what to do and just wanted them to go away. Because of this I probably acted all strange and weird – I did not react the way I was supposed to (wanting people who ask you out to go away isn`t the way one is supposed to act, I suppose).
Now, if you`re prepared for weird reactions, you won`t take it personally and may just survive our strange ways :-D.
And, at the end of the day, Norway is a great country to live in. And Norwegians make great life partners if that`s what you`re looking for!
This is great! Have been trying to explain how different it is in Scandinavia compared to Canada, where I have lived for 7 years now, and I could never have expressed it as logical as you. From now on, I will send anyone who asks me out a link to this non-dating dating guide. 🙂 I have said a flat NO to anyone asking me out for a year now as I have had some horrid miscommunications happen over the years and just got fed up having to deal with it.
Haha, that`s just great!
I wish I had a guide like this to hand out when I lived in California when I was younger. I felt completely awkward – like a person who didn`t understand an important language – whenever I was asked out.
Our way of non-dating does sound strange to people used to dating rules but I kind of like it. There`s something cute and honest about about not flirting with just anyone and only being able to break the ice when you`re drunk 😀
It’s called a domesticated relationship/partnership in english. But still more simple in scandinavian.
Although most of it is mostly true, it is kinda a truth with modifications. We don’t date in that matter, but we do flirt with strangers (one night stands). We usually meet people through already established friends, and many many people meet through like voluntary places (like festivals, student places etc)
Oh, there are definitely modifications. Mainly because I`m describing 20 million people and they don`t all subscribe to these ten “rules”. But I do think we flirt less than what I`ve experienced in other countries – especially when we`re sober. And I like that 🙂
I don’t get why the article starts with “Tough luck!”, whats described here is paradise…Now I really want to go to Scandinavia…
Hehe, you`re welcome to try your luck here 😉
As fighting for a relationship Norway – USA we both loved your article that in a wonderful way set the finger on our cultural differenses. Lol. I met her first time in 1977. Only 5 days, but she was stuck in my brain. Found her on Face, had a relationship a year now on net, visited her once. Hard to fight the cultural difference. 🙂
Aaaww, that sounds sweet. The not being able to forget her – not the fighting the cultural differences, I mean 😉
Good luck. If there`s a will, there`s a way!
This article is full of cr*p. E.g. many scandinavian girls do date more than one guy at a time & they do flirth. It looks like the author has little knowledge of dating in Scandinavia.
Well, this was written for my 200 foreign friends last summer after they kept asking me questions about Scandinavian men. I tried to make it fun and I painted with a big brush. Of course, this does not describe each and every Scandinavian man or woman.
Yesterday I suddenly had 20,000 people reading this blog post and I had no idea what had happened – and I was a bit worried about my little thing being spread to a lot of people not understanding the thoughts behind the blog post. Ah well.
I am Scandinavian myself, I`ve lived in all three Scandinavian countries and this blog post is based on my own dating experiences as well as those of my friends. It does not describe the actions of 20 million Scandinavians. That really goes without saying.
As an american who’s lived in Sweden for 13 years; the practical outcome/consequence that thyra10 described is true. This is how most Swedes behave.
I can’t speak entirely for the motivation behind all actions or what a psychologist would base would say actions on. But one point I believe that is sorely missing from the article is that lower self-confidence is a big factor in how many Swedes behave when it comes to relationships. I personally believe that this self-confidence, coupled with a cultural strive for humbleness, is why most foreigners view Swedes as being timid. This is the reason why Swedes are their happiest in a relationship. It’s a form of affirmation that boosts a Swedes self-confidence immensely. From my perspective, it’s when people “bloom” in a relationship.
There are other motivations for the behavior that thyra10 described. I have myself adopted a number of these behaviorisms, but for other reasons.
For example; I want girls to make the first move because it shows a degree self-confidence that I find is generally lacking from Swedes.
PS. Thyra10; Great article. Loved it. I mostly ignore comments like the one “A Scandinavian” gave since he doesn’t follow up with any practical examples or counter-arguments. It’s just a general form of negative critiscm.
How strange that if Scandinavian are not willing to ‘date’ people that they don’t know, that then Dating websites are so popular as I read in several comments? Isn’t it a paradox? then how does it work when they meet someone through Internet? My personal opinion about dating website is that you are specifically looking for a relationship, you anticipate, you have expectations after seleting a possible candidate; which would be therefore completely the opposite of the cool and patient attitude described in this post. Unless I am missing something?
Yes, it is a paradox and I think it`s because the problem isn`t that Scandinavians aren`t *willing* to date strangers but because we just don´t know how to do it. Dating sites help us there.
Dating sites also challenge more than one of the “rules” I stated because people do date several people simultaneously when they`ve met them through dating sites. At least that`s my experience.
Oh, you definitely are missing something. I never described us as cool. I described us as shy (or socially awkward as one of the commenters translated it into). I`m sure most of us would love to take more initiative and be less patient. Patience is not always a choice 😉
The movies don’t also depict the reality of dating in America 100%, either. The quasi-traditional rituals of courtship are “more honour’d in the breach than the observance” – a lot of relationships start with people hanging out alone frequently and then starting to have sex (or the other way around). Some people do the whole “I’m taking you out for dinner” thing, especially as teenagers, but as daters get older interactions become more freeform.
I guess it’s maybe best to understand “dating” as a social activity, maybe a kind of hobby. You like meeting new people, trying new restaurants, etc, and dating provides a framework for that.
No, I would think that Americans also have a billion different ways of meeting that special one (and all the not-so-special-ones) but I was caught by surprise by all the dating rules when I lived in California a while back. I never could understand why he was supposed to open my car door or pay for my food – and I had NO idea what he expected in return.
Dating as a social activity – meeting new people and trying out new restaurants – sounds like fun but I think I would have to ask for guidance before I jumped into it. 🙂
I get the pay for food bit, but I thought it was a universal rule to hold open door’s for ladies regardless of dating/attraction/etc. It’s a very gentleman like thing to do here in the States at least. My ex norwegian gf used to appreciate it anyways…apparently guys just don’t do it much these days. It’s just a way to show the woman you care, or are pretending to care about her. Also, we like to pull the chair out for the lady on a “date.” That I don’t get as much…but similiar to above.
It’s nice to hold the door regardless of gender but you’ll find that quite a few Scandinavian women will be surprised or even slightly offended if they find that you are holding the door just because they are women. And Scandinavian men might be surprised or even slightly offended if you tell them they should forever be the door men of the women in their lives.
It all boils down to gender equality. If women want men to participate more at home then they can’t expect men to hold their doors for them. Tit for tat, if you want.
I’ve discussed this with female American friends who love how Scandinavian men seem to take equally care of their children and cleaning their homes but think Scandinavian men are rude for not holding their doors. My response is always: “How can they hold your door if they are busy carrying your child?” 🙂
Thyra, I have solved the door holding “problem” in my usual manner.
I hold the door for EVERYONE. Be them male, female, kids, or elderly. 😀
In fact I have noticed some Anglos in particular sometimes wonder in their blogs from Finland how weird Finns are holding the door even if you were over a dozen metres away and not hands full carrying something or pushing a cart / carriage.
And no, we don’t expectyou to run embarassed.
Of course not all Finns are so polite. Not at all. There are assholes for every train and some are even left on the station (Finglicism).
Fun article, I enjoyed it. As a swede I have to say that point 9 is some kind of utopian wish. In reality if I or my girl or anyone I know spent the night at, especially in the same bed as a friend of the sex they were interested in. There would be a shitstorm waiting if they told their loved one about it.
Hehe, I did have to chew a bit on that one but I`ve seen it happen so often that I had to include it. And really, if there was just one (big) bed and you were two people – would you sleep on the floor? I think most of us could manage to sleep in the same bed as a person of the gender we`re attracted to and still keep our fingers to ourselves. Two people in one bed does not necessarily equal sex in these parts of the world. 🙂
regel 1: passer ikke helt, i Danmark – her flirter med andre – kassedame, på skole,osv.
det bliver dog et gråtområde hvis man har en kærste, hvor langt kan vi gå…
Ja, Danmark er nok det mest flirtende land i Skandinavien. Men der er stadig en himmel til forskel mellem Danmark og feks USA og Sydeuropa 🙂
You are quite right about the things here, and I assume you exaggerate a little bit to make the differences clearer for foreigners.
But the sleeping with a friend of the opposite gender I disagree on. I would not tolerate that, and I know most of my friends wouldnt either.
Maybe you girls have a different view of it, but in my opinion the guys who are ok with you sleeping at other guys places, especially if you are sharing the bed are either to “tøffel” to object or they dont really care that much if you cheat and are prone to cheat themselves. We might have a different type of friends of course, but I wouldnt say that the sleeping part is something that is true for all scandinavians.
Just my input, in case some foreigners got second thoughts about dating a scandinavian after reading that part 🙂 Because I think most norwegians make excellent partners for a long steady and comfortable relationship, at least after they have matured 🙂
Oh, I definitely painted with a big brush and it`s impossible to describe all 20 million Scandinavians 😉
Put in a different way: If your loved-one was stranded somewhere (too drunk to drive home, too cold to go outside, someone stood him/her up etc) where he/she had to sleep over with someone of the gender he/she was attracted to – would you assume he/she had cheated on you? I know I wouldn`t because I do think we`re perfectly capable of sleeping with someone and actually sleep.
And I know that I always find it weird when I see American movies where he has to sleep on the floor and she has this huuuuuge bed to herself. To me, being in the same bed does not equal sex.
I agree with you. Most Scandinavians/Norwegians do make excellent life partners. 😀
Well, to put some balance in here, I can tell you that I have no issues with my gf sleeping in her friends beds. It has happened several times, even with her ex, which has become a good friend of mine since I met her. However, I do not believe its because I’m a tøffel. In fact, my gf is the only girl in the tøffel-scoreboard(not an actual scoreboard, but an ongoing competition of social hassle and funmaking) in my group of friends. She’s not in the lead, but my computer/racing-simulator setup in our bedroom does give her some hefty points in that competition. I think it’s about trust between a special type of people. I have friends whose relationship would never survive this, but I just wanted to say it happens.
And further, this post is excellent. Spot on. As a guy who found his girl in my bed one morning, a girl who just never left and is still here three years later, I totally relate to your rules. a great read, forwarded to all my non-scandinavian friends! 😀
Since this comment section doesn’t string together properly, I will answer thyra10’s question about the tøffel-scoreboard here, I guess you’ll find it since you probably is the moderator on this blog 😉
The Tøffel-Scoreboard is a very undefined social game or competition that comes up in my group of friends from time to time. It doesn’t really have any rules, but I’ll try to explain the concept. Keep in mind that this is purely fun. No ill feelings between any of the participants, no aggression, maybe just a bit of good natured embarrassment. Whenever one part of a relationship gives up something in the relationship, without making a fight out of it, that part gets some tøffelpoints. It can also be too kind favors. Keep in mind the lack of clear definition in this game, there has never been a actual number of points given. The discussion, or “game” if you will, consists of friends discussing who has the most points. In other words the scoreboard doesn’t contain any scores, it’s just a unwritten list of who is the biggest tøffel at a given point in time.
Example of what gives tøffelpoints: If the couple’s shared apartment/house clearly has the profile of your partner(colour, wall decorations, level of tidiness etc) you get some points. If you easily change your plans to fit your partners schedule(enough grunting may get you out of the incoming points) gives you some points. If you get “commanded” around by your partner you get some points. If it happens in public(“public” meaning people in this group of friends) you get more points.
…and thousands of other funny and more or less relevant tøffel-situations. It’s really up to the mood and imagination of those involved in the discussion of the scoreboard at the given time.
Serious Tøfling, as hinted at by Audun over here(actual controversies and situations that might actually cause a fight) is never a part of this game. The game’s good natured setting doesn’t allow seriousness. And of course, this game is best played while drunk 😉
Hope this explanation of our unofficial, undefined, fluid piece of social fun makes sense.
Haha, we may just have to make our own tøffel contest 🙂
Some of you are just missing the point here. These are general rules, and they don’t apply to everyone from those Nordic Regions! Yes they are awkward. They are extremely awkward in bringing up their feelings – if they have any! But I believe that everyone should have a little emotional intelligence here, so everyone should understand how much the other person is willing to bring into the not so called “relationship”… otherwise there is no point in getting yourself into something that upsets and hurts you.
One comment above says that Scandinavian girls cheat….so do Italians, French, Americans, Australians etc, etc, etc! There is not perfect formula here when it comes to this. Again, it’s emotional intelligence and respect for the other person; so if you are a player, keep cheating otherwise get involved!
I have found this blog extremely helpful, as I got to understand the man I “hang out” with a little more.
Read between the lines and pick the rule that suits you best!
Thank you! 🙂
I must admit that I was quite surprised at how much my tiny little blog post mainly written for friends around the world suddenly gained a lot of attention. 40,000 people have read this blog post yesterday and today!
I`m glad this blog post was helpful to you 😀
Haha! this is SOOO true! Tho i wish it wasn’t cause i have trouble taking the initiative 😉
Haha! It does sound like a dream that someone walks up to you, declares his undying love (or at least that he`s attracted to you) and invites you out. Unfortunately, I always end up tongue tied and almost annoyed whenever that happens (which would be abroad – because it never happens here in Scandinavia) and I`ve come to realize that I prefer having the initiative – and to be left alone whenever I don`t take initiative. It`s probably because whenever a guy does take the initiative – it`s always the wrong guy. And I`m terrible at batting my eyes and waiting for the right guy to notice me 😉
I lived in Australia for a year and I found them to be ugly drunks and dirty people. The state of they’re environment was disgusting and the people were lazy and verbally abusive to each other. I have been married to a Norwegian man for 4 years now,who is stubborn and strong but loving and kind. He is not cold nor does he drink very much at all,to Swedish women he was and did drink to bed them,and procreate ,lived together for awhile then it dissolved. Want the 411 on them? They will marry outside the Scandanvian countries especially Canadians or Americans,in fact I have randomly met these happily married couples quite frequently in this northern Swedish town.That is my opinion and no I am not 24 in college where everywhere in the world people hook up for one night stands, sorry you don’t have the copyright for that.That sounds a lot like North America campus life to me.You never heard of spring break or girls gone wild? Trust me I married a Northman who did presue me and talk to me every dam day,maybe they need more mental stimulation then the sucking in of air for an acknowledgement.might keep in mind what relaxes and enchants them because koselig is what warms they’re beautiful hearts.
I`m glad you found that special Norwegian. I did too 🙂
Oh, we Scandinavians do successfully marry outside of Scandinavia but I do feel we sometimes need to come with warning labels. Which was what I tried to write here 😉
You then need to realize there are warning labels for everyone, I don’t like your generalization of the men here being cold and drunk and sleeping around, because it sounds more Swedish then Norwegian to me.The 2 are not the same .My Northman comes from very old stock, and I did not find him he found me .Sounds like campus 20 something drunken messing about, which goes on all over the world.And so saying there was a strip bar opened up not to far away and the locals fought like mad to close it and the uproar was heard all the way down to Stockholm, so much for that nudity open mindedness.Or is it sexuality that throws you off?I think you are speaking for 20 some maybe a few 30 yr olds that have not grown up yet to be drunk constantly and sleep with whoever they stumble into bed with, which i repeat is more of an American thing to do.Why not focus on the warm and kind side and how these huge families open they’re hearts and homes to you wrap you in wool knitteds and take you to the summer cabin for ligon berry cakes and strong black cooked coffee.Or how they show up and embrace you and bring food and hand made woolies? And if they are so stunted to chat or make conversation when not drunk what is Fika? but a chance to bond over cakes and coffee.maybe you need a refresher course on being scandinavian.http://afroginthefjord.com/2014/02/02/how-to-make-things-koselig/ read this then reply please =) maybe it is you who needs warning label.
Karry: I actually recognise myself a lot more in thyra10’s blog post than in afroginthefjord’s, and I’m Norwegian born and bred. :p Though I do agree that Scandinavians are more warm and welcoming than the stereotype often make us out to be – it’s just that we need time to warm up to strangers!
(Although after living in both North America and Africa for a while before coming back home to Norway I do miss being able to meet strangers’ eyes out in public without being afraid that they think I’m invading their personal space and being nosey. But that’s a topic for another conversation!)
Generalizations are just that – generalizations.
I`ve been out demonstrating against strip bars too. Not because I can`t handle nudity but because I don`t want it to be commercialized. Nudity is a beautiful thing and a natural thing – not something for people to buy IMO.
I`m 47 so I`m not exactly in my 20s or 30s myself. But I listen to people of all ages and tried to sum up their experiences.
If you think this blog post is showing the negative sides of Scandinavians, you`re wrong. I think it`s very positive that Scandinavians are honest and not too flirtatious. And yes, there are open hearts all around. I never said the opposite.
I think you may have read my blog post as something it`s not. And I love A Frog in the Fjord. I even referred to it in another post 🙂
Omfg thyra.. Are you in the retarded group OTTAR?
Why are you so aggressive, Calle?
Because if you represent OTTAR, this whole post makes sence..
OTTAR that states that love shops should be banned cuz the shops are bad for our minds and future.. Clearly without thinking that theese are safe arenas to buy safe protection and help aids for thoose who actually needs this.
One of many bad judgements from this group that shows why im protesting against this post..
I hardly know what Ottar is or if they even exist. Like most people in Norway I`m against sex as a commodity. I don`t mind sex shops because they`re for both genders.
And I have absolutely NO idea what my opinion on these things has to do with anything.
Sexuality in dance form has been around since B.C. I don’t see you saying honest or non flirts, You said the only time you make a move is drunk, and you have sex before you care to know someone.Thats not honest thats passing disease.You do not speak for the general population, I have shown this blog to a few SN friends now they think you are painting an unjust portrait of them and neglecting to mention how loving they are and how passionate they can be .Like i said maybe the warning label should be *if you meet a drunk SN at a bar *instead of so you want to date.and dating here can be as simple as fika at friends.47? You need to get out more and be abroad yourself to see what it is really like in the rest of the world, then come home to warm cuddles here, honestly I have never been held or cuddled this much with a man since my father when i was 4.I adore the warm nature of these people.
Sure sexuality in dance form is beautiful but not as a commodity for men to buy.
I think you might want to read the blog post again if you can`t see me saying anything about honesty or non-flirtation.
It`s honest to act out your sexuality if you`re horny. If you use condoms you don`t pass diseases.
Maybe we should just agree to disagree. This blog post was never intended as a serious portrayal of all Scandinavians on this planet. Just a bit of fun. If you`re offended on behalf of the Scandinavians you know, that`s really not my problem.
It seems to me that you somehow feels attacked on behalf of your hubby here. Try this: show it to him, and see how he responds. You might be surprised by the reaction.. 😉
As a Norwegian male I can tell you that this fits me and my friends perfectly(with a broad brush, obviously). The fact that you seem to think that having a lot of sex partners is somehow degrading just shows the point; it isn’t degrading in Scandinavia.
Thank you! And I love how you got together with your girlfriend 🙂
I would love to hear more about that score board 🙂
You`re quite right, NorwegianGuy. We have sex when we feel like having sex. There`s nothing to be embarrassed about and it`s certainly not degrading 🙂
No sorry, and i’m not surprised by yours at all.There are jerks all over the world , and disease as well glad to see you don’t mind spreading it.Drunks jumping in and out of bed was the 60 and 70’s in Cali wasn’t it i see you are still behind trying to catch up to the U.S.Best of luck with both=) Being married to a real Norwegian male and not afraid to say who I am shows I got more balls then you darling and i’m not afraid to show it, Attacked ? not at all because I stand up and speak and I am a woman does not mean i am threatened by either of you=) I have had more then enough confidence to wander the planet and speak my mind,If you can so can I , I’m replying and giving my thoughts and feelings on a blog that was doing the same,but you rushing in to save the day makes me laugh. I am sure Thy can speak for himself in reply to me .
Karry Arvag, you need to grow a sense of humor. You clearly don’t see the light-hearted affection for our Scandinavian quirks in the blogpost. As a Norwegian who has travelled extensively and lived in Australia, i find it to be very true. Although, if you do it right, many Norwegian women are very approachable, even if you don’t share a social context other than being in the same bar/café or whatnot.
Also, Karry, since you used A Frog in the Fjord as a reference earlier, perhaps you should read this post: http://afroginthefjord.com/2013/06/27/the-norwegian-art-of-seduction/
Exactly my point. People treat you the way you allow them to treat you. Show self-respect and ooze with self-esteem – and nobody will try to procreate with you and will marry you instead.
Karry, you may not have enjoyed your time in Australia but that doesn’t mean that you need to blatantly insult their people or culture. There may be an element of truth to your comment in regards to the drinking and “dirty people”, by which I assume you mean what they call “bogans”.
Insulting your friends in Australia is viewed as harmless banter. It doesn’t mean anything. They aren’t lazy – what is lazy about them? Please explain. Where did you live in Australia that had a bad environment?
I myself am a Swede. My parents, and much of my family, are Australian.
This is SOO true!!! This is how we do it! Both me and all of my friends are like this! Fun to read! 🙂
I`m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
Very interesting! From the viewpoint of a Finn (Finland isn’t a part of Scandinavia Proper, which shows in our quite-similar-but-different culture and our not-even-related-to language compared to the other Nordic countries), again an interesting example of how alike we Nords can be 🙂
Interestingly enough, even though Finns are usually thought to be the most shy people in Fennoscandia, I’d say we do get married quite a bit more than what you said about the Scandinavian people. I would guess that would have to do with our progressive-but-not-there-yet jurisdiction – it’s only been a couple of years since they introduced the law giving rights ‘n stuff to samboers (avopuolisot) here. And we’re only fighting for the gender neutral marriage law here now (it’s entering the parliament tomorrow).
I did want to make my blog about the Nordic countries but then I figured that I`d never actually lived in Finland and though I have Finnish friends and even an uncle from Finland, I just don´t have the same kind of knowledge about your beautiful country as I do about the three Scandinavian countries.
My guess is that we`re not that different (apart from language, of course) and i`m glad you agree 🙂
Im a norwegain guy and this article is spot on!
I’ve had this huge crush on a girl for some time now, she’s one of my (female) friends best friends. But I wouldn’t dream of hitting on her unless there was a bit of alcohol involved. I would be to afraid of getting shot down, but I’m shy and afraid to show emotions even after norwegian standards
I agree on all your points, maybe except for the one about sleeping(and i mean sleeping, not sex) together. As a single I wouldn’t blink an eye if my one of my female friends wanted me to sleep in her bed. But when Im in a relationship thats a no-no and I would take the floor or the couch if my friend was in a relationship too. Of course, If my GF was stranded some place, or so drunk she didn’t know what was up or down, or it was effing cold I wouldnt mind her sharing bed with a male friend. But I would have to know and trust the guy.
The thing that this article really shows though, is how commited we are when we’ve finally found someone. I would anything for a girl im in a relationship with. Take her out, do all the romantic stuff, be there in 5minutes if she says she needs me, because then I know who she is and how she’ll react.
I suppose we`re a practical people. If it`s too cold to sleep on the floor – why not share the bed? It`s not as if we go looking for someone to share our beds with but if the circumstances are what they are, we do what we have to do. We can keep our fingers to ourselves … most of the time, at least 😉
I agree with you. The Scandinavians I know really are committed when they`re in a relationship. Just because we don´t date or knock over strangers with fancy love declarations doesn`t mean that we aren`t romantic or that we don`t want relationships. 😀
This seems pretty accurate to me, although some points are perhaps a bit exaggerated for the fun of making a caricature. This stuff about sleeping without sex with friends needs an explanation, though. I would be very surprised if sharing beds with friends of the opposite sex, even without sex, would be common while being in a relationship. But It can happen without being a problem. And it is not so strange for young people to stay over with friends regardless of sex, and without having sex, for several reasons. One is the tradition of going on weekend trips to cabins, often rather small huts where one has to be flexible if all guests to find a relatively comfortable place to sleep. Another is the party customs. Norwegian parties do involve quite a bit of alcohol, and more often than not last into the early hours of the morning. As we do not allow ourselves to drive while intoxicated, and there are no buses or trams at 3 or 4 AM, and riding a Taxi home might easily cost 100 USD or more, sleeping over is a common practice. And friends in their twenties usually rent or own small apartments, often with very crappy sleeping furniture. And at 3 or 4 PM, after perhaps ten beers, dancing and conversation for 6 hours or more, sleep and rest often take clear precedence over sex.
Thank you for adding these explanations. You`re quite correct that there are quite a few situations where it`s very common to share bedrooms and even beds. And sleep does take precedence over sex if you`re drunk or if you`ve walked around in the mountains all day (with or without skis) 😀
Sounds completely like my kind of people! 🙂
Maybe a migration is in order…
You`re more than welcome! 😀
What a great article! I’m an American for the record, and I’ve always found our dating and social rules incredibly restrictive. I feel in some way as well that Hollywood has kept us from evolving into a more Scandinavian system because movies constantly repeat these time-old relationship standards to us; the man paying, the woman initially playing prudish, and don’t even get me started on that whole nonsense about sex only after the third date! Insanity! It’s nice to see that civilized cultures don’t have such constraints.
We probably have other constraints but I do agree with you on the rules portrayed by Hollywood. I just don`t understand why one would want to play prudish if that`s not how one feels (well, I understand why one would do it if the alternative is to be condemned). If you`re attracted to one another, why not act on it?
Brendan you are for sure living in the wrong state then .
Haha, I’ve actually been living in Italy for the past 13 months. Not that the rules surrounding relationships are much different here 😛
Dæven den dama her skriver aggressivt og er veldig kritisk. Går an å eie et snev av høflighet og ikke gå ut i fra at dine egne standarer er de beste og alle andres standarer. Just saying.
I’m from Kenya.
Wow!! Seeing this post now and thank you Americans for brainwashing us!!! I don’t know any other form of ‘dating’.!
Wtf.. Clearly the person who wrote this is mad and inzane.. Couldnt be more wrong..
Romantic norwegian man age 25..
I agree,I do not see this side whatsoever.
Hehe, I never claimed to be sane 😉
And I never claimed that Norwegians weren`t romantic. They`re just romantic in a slightly different way than what we see from Hollywood.
Still wrong.. You have just met loosers who think about themselfes.. There are many assholes even in Hollywood.. Unless you have lived in Hollywood for a couple of years and also been dating more than 100 people u have no right to make this statement.. If a couple is as you describe, you cant make this be for ALL scandinavians..
This was painted with a big brush and common sense tells you that I can not speak for 20 million Scandinavians. It was meant as a fun blog post for my 200 friends abroad – not as THE TRUTH about Scandinavians.
What is your infatuation with Hollywood? or with the U.S for that matter do you think they run the world? I sure don’t as being a lady of endless travels around the globe they are not much liked .and I live abroad and have lived in many countries working and going to school, i believe you are giving the wrong ideas about your fellow countrymen and women.and I never said you spoke for them all but you are generalizing them here.Drunk , cold and bed hoppers.
Because Hollywood is culturally important in my part of the world.
Of course, I`m generalizing but I never said we were cold. I also don`t think we hop beds more than most people – only that we are not embarrassed about the fact.
No actually they’re not.Roses and candles and gorgeous furs are more romantic then anything in the movies. I feel bad for you that you feel this way and only see your view.
Hey Thyra I was just wondering what age does this usually start at? What about the younger kids and teenagers? What do they do? Also what’s the drinking age there? How old to get into bars?
The drinking age is 18 (it may be 16 in Denmark, though, I`m not familiar with the drinking laws now). Some bars allow 18 year olds and at some bars you have to be 21.
I think younger kids and teenager do the same as mentioned in the blog – minus the alcohol (or maybe plus on alcohol – I`ll know soon enough with my young teens :-D). They do meet through friends and will be friends for a long time until they`re suddenly more than friends. It`s kind of cute to watch, actually 😀
Back when I was still in HS 16 or 17, A bunch of friends were going upstate to a friends place. My mother would not let me or my sister to go. Even though my brother was going and she knew all our friends. Her reason Boys will be there. Yes my sister and I were very hurt she didn’t trust us and pissed off too.
I was wondering if and when your kids get to that stage, or any teenagers are they able to go do things like that.
(btw this was going on back in 1979).
My kids have already started going to the cabin with friends. They`re stills to young (12 and 14) so there will usually be adults around too but that`s mainly for practical reasons (driving, making sure they don`t starve etc) not for chaperoning. I can`t really imagine chaperoning my kids or telling them they can`t be a place where they`ll meet kids of the opposite gender, at least not if it sounds like something nice to do (going to the cabin would certainly fit that description).
Being a bit younger(27) I can say that ten+ years ago this was the way of the young ones, with the alcohol. I can obviously not speak for everyone, and there were exceptions, but mostly this starts happening at about 13-14, with alcohol entering a bit later, 15-16. I can also report that my brother(22) has the same impression. My guess is that the kids are just starting earlier now, but that’s purely guessing.
I’m a 24 year old Swedish Australian born in Goteborg and have never been with any Swedish women or even able to speak Swedish which is a thing of shame and sadness for me really. This article has somewhat really just seemed to suggest that I am really not ever going to. I’ve been to Sweden and know this isn’t all totally right, but how disparaging.
I`m sorry. I never meant to discourage you from speaking to Swedish women. We do manage to work things out, you know, I`m sure you will too 😉
Great article! I’d hate to detract from it by being pedantic, but it’d be so much more pleasant on the eyes if you used proper apostrophes (‘) rather than accent marks (`,´). On a Scandinavian keyboard, you’ll find the apostrophe to the left of you enter key, together with the asterisk (*). I’m terribly sorry for being such a bore, but now I’m done. Thanks again for a very amusing article!
I was just told about this apostrophe business in another post a few hours ago and I’m still looking for the correct apostrophe (and telling my fingers not to use the one I’ve been using for ages). Is the one I’ve used here the correct one?
Thank you for letting me know. I know my English isn’t perfect and it probably never will be but I hope I’m not too old to learn 😉
Great blog, I found most points to be fairly accurate! I read that many people disagree with the point on sleeping in your friends’ beds, however I believe this to be very individual, thus you would get some who agrees and some who don’t. I’m in the first category. I have no problems sleeping in the same bed as my male or female friends, and I would certainly not have a problem if my wife did either. My reasons for sharing a bed would be (some as the writer pointed out); if you can’t get home, if there is a bed shortage, if it’s freezing or if you simply just need comfort. I’ve discussed the comfort levels of nudity among friends etc with my English wife and her friends several times, and I (I am Norwegian) find it to be very natural, however the UK side finds it awkward. Thank you for the blog, it put a smile on my face! 🙂
I`m glad I put a smile on your face!
And with 20 million Scandinavians there should be some who would disagree. Anything else would be very odd.
I liked how you added “comfort” to the list of things you might sleep (really sleep) with your friends for because that`s one of the nicest reasons ever. Good friends are able to comfort one another without thinking sex 😀
Yeah, my mother was very weird at times. Some things she let us do, like go to bars when I was 16, 17 with someone else’s proof (drinking age was 18 at the time). but not go camping with friends. Go figure.
Very busy here today. LOL I would have fun here back when I was younger.
So you were allowed to go to bars but not to a camping with friends? Yes, that sound a bit strange 😉
VERY busy. Not sure what`s happening, though 🙂
It’s called “going viral”, just google it 😉
well i was laughing my ass off. yes, thats absolutely true.. i was always wonderign why scandinavian women “miss” the whole “get to know each other” part and start right with the “maybe have sex, talk later..” thing..
Hard to get their honest attention but once you got it, there is no room for “maneuvers” and it goes straight in direction bed.. =D
Maybe because sex is so uncomplicated compared to dating? 😉
I have no idea but I’m not complaining. I like things just the way they are. But I can imagine how strange it may seem to people moving here 😀
I really enjoyed your article. I am a danish girl (21) and I can definitely recognize many of your points. I only have one disagreement: who’s paying! In my expererience it depends on who’s got the most money. My first boyfriend (I met him at a club) had more money than I did, so I he would often pay for both of us. My second boyfriend (friendship gone drunk) made less money than I did, but he would still pay the largest amount a sometimes (He would pay for movie tickets and I for the candy). But I guess it’s also an issue of pride. I don’t mind being spoiled I guess (although I never expected either of them to pay for me)
A whole other very interesting thing is “dating” JAPANESE people. Their idea of dating is SO different and surprising in every way.
I`m glad you enjoyed the blog post!
And now you made me all curious about Japanese dating rules 🙂
As a french very young man (turned 19 a few weeks ago), I always felt kinda special about love. I mean as an early teenager and even lately, people around me were bugging me around, asking me why I hardly had a few girlfriends while they had tons of girls around them, dating strangers everytime(I feel very uncomfortable when I’m not with very good friends, when talking about the lovey dovey stuff) while I always hated flirting with strangers.
Well, I read your article and thought : “Godamnit, I was born with a Scandinavian mind”. Now I want to get my diploma as soon as possible to live there haha.
Hehe, maybe you do have a Scandinavian mind. You`re very welcome here and I hope you`ll like it here if you choose to move north 🙂
As a Norwegian girl living in Australia (where I met my Aussie boyfriend) this is SO spot on. Had to share it with him. If only he knew back then!
We certainly had to learn each other’s ways after we started “dating” Scandibavian style And he wanted to start labelling everything straight away :p hehe
I had never been on a date until I got to Australia, and must say the ones I went on when I first got here were rather awkward. Although the dating culture here is much more relaxed than what I’ve seen in the States.
Great post, funny how things suddenly go viral! Hope people see it for what it is, and don’t interpret it as the absolute truth I have friends who would not fit any of the 9 points, but in general it’s most certainly spot on!
I`m glad you shared the post with your boyfriend. I`m vain enough to enjoy the thought of two people in Australia discussing my blog post 😉
It is funny how things suddenly go viral. Apparently this started with someone reposting this post in groups for Norwegians/Scandinavians abroad and it just spread from there. This was just meant as a bit of fun for a couple of hundred people and now more than 120.000 people have read it. Crazy 😀
(and you`re entirely correct – this was never meant as the absolute truth)
This whole thing is completely wrong, and must be written by a very old person. I am 17 years old and as i see it we do ask strangers out and guys do pay for the meal all the time. Also we flirt with strangers in bars etc. without necessarily being drunk.
Oh, I`m ooooold 😉
Maybe you`re part of that new Americanized generation they’re talking so much about? It’s the same generation that is embarrassed about nudity and is more conservative than people just five years older.
I work with 18-25 year olds from all over Norway and I also see a change. Data from Gallup and Norsk Monitor suggests the same thing. It`ll be interesting to see if your generation will change as you grow older or if society will.
Nah, i’m 18 and norwegian and I have never experienced people asking strangers to go on dates. i have slept with strangers on one night stands though. when i go to a cafe or something the day after we split the bill unless the other person is broke. paying for the girls food or asking them on dates is a kind of childish behaviour you would expect to happen alot when we were like 14 or 15, but now we act much more like thendating culture you describe. Spmething happens around the time you move out from your parents. I think it has something to do abpit the fact that you suddenly have a place to go to after a wild night out. At my age when most people live home with their parents, the few of us who live alone are often in relationships that happened soon after we moved out. I Think that our living situation has a lot to say in how we do “norwegian dating” Especially for young people.
Great article! It allows foreigners like me to understand the specificities of Scandinavian and Nordic culture. Very specific culture indeed
So many things are so great about Scandinavian culture, allowing people to be fully happy and to blossom, that the dating aspect comes almost like a big weak point.
From what I understand by reading the article, and also from the comments of the Scandinavians on this blog, if there’s such a need to drink in order to be able to start a relationship (sex, then movie, etc.), that means that there’s a huge uneasiness, « akwardness » in the daily life when it comes to love relationships. I find it pretty sad. Love and sex, flirting, are I think an important and central aspect of life. Not being able to be fully comfortable with that must make many people unhappy.
How many young or less young Scandinavians would love to make the first move, have been craving for months to be in the arms of this person of the opposite sex, but just don’t know how to do? How many will never dare to do it? How many missed opportunities, and in the end, how much missed happiness?
If there’s the no-dating of Scandinavia, and the codified dating rules in the U.S. (which make me cringe), there are other countries where dating is allowed, and practiced, but with no (or much less) rules. I am from France, and I believe like other Southern Europe countries, dating and courting is something important to us. It is something pleasant, beautiful, not a serious matter (or on the contrary it can be a serious, a most important matter). You can call it a game, or a normal way to interact. It is fun, both for guys and for girls. Yes, French girls tend to be annoyed by weird or insisting guys, but they also get funny and attractive guys, that they’d like to put in their beds. I believe they less have to wait for ages that the guy will do the first move. And they like to seduce, to attract, to play, even if it is to say « no », in the end. I heard some foreigners saying French girls were difficult to understand. Maybe it’s because French consider that, sometimes, the dating game is almost more enjoyable than the kisses and sex that follow.
If we have of course shy guys who wont make any move, girls that are not afraid to make the first move, most of the time, the guy is expected to answer the signals of the lady, and make the move. And it doesn’t work so bad. French society remains quite conservative in terms of gender role, but it is evolving.
About dating, there are no clear rules. Holding the door or paying the drink is not a prerequisite, many guys and girls consider it ok, but perhaps an equal part consider it a bit outfashioned. Most of the time it means to go out for a drink, a dinner or to a movie for dating, but here again, it is not really codified. It is more out of a lack of imagination than anything, we can date on a beach, in a park, doing an activity (sport or else) or going shopping. Talking and dating strangers can and does happen, but perhaps less than in other Southern countries of Europe. The social circle is still the first way to find a partner, with the work environment. In France, like everywhere in the world I guess, people tend to become more and more individualistic, shut in their own daily bubble with the smartphone and earplugs, and dating sites are a big hit, because there’s so many people who don’t know how to do to meet someone. Call it progress. Here, we are not that far away from Scandinavians, or people in other parts of the world: we still are lonely earthlings.
If there are akward and boring moments in dating, it is always the ones we talk about most, and not the most common I think. There are some great people out there, who are fun having a drink with, a walk, a chat. I have super memories from dates, evenings or days, magical moments. Romantic, movie-like moments. I had drinks or coffees with girls I went to talk to in the street or in a public place, because I liked them. It could lead to being just a coffee, and I never saw them anymore. Some I had sex with, or it could be the start of a friendship, or a longer relationship. I never started a relationship being drunk, and I’m sure I’m not the only French person, man or woman, like this. Still drunk sex is common, drinking comes often as a big help for many people, especially the youngest ones.
About this question of respect when talking to strangers: we have the same concern in France. Some people can talk naturally to strangers, it is considered like a quality, like being a social and confident person. But equally we tend to be afraid to step into the comfort zone of the other person, to pierce the bubble, to disturb, to bother. Society thinks there are « proper » places to do that: bars, night-clubs, social events, rather than in the street or the metro.
I think a guy flirting with a girl, and proposing to exchange numbers, or proposing a date, is someone giving an opportunity. It can be done with full respect. Saying no is perfectly acceptable, the girl is free to choose. Asking for 10 minutes, or most often 5 minutes from a stranger in a public place can actually represent a break in someone’s day. I’ve been told by girls « you made my day ». For many girls are waiting for the Prince Charming. That’s the conservative part of our culture. I’m sure even in Scandinavia this exists. And when the guy the girl has been eying comes and talk to her, proposes a date, it comes as a small victory for her, like she’s on a good way to a relationship. Either way guys flirting with a girl means the girl at least have some choices, even if they are bad ones. She has the choice to say no, to refuse the dates. More choices than if no one come to her and she has to wait.
The dating time is also a time which make two people come closer. It’s not the same to see the person at a party drunk, and to get closer to him/her the day after. Sexual tension is slowly building, you can imagine the kiss, the taste of the other person’s lips, the moment you are gonna hold him/her. The moment you will have sex together. This is so much more enjoyable than a drunk quickie.
The best would be to take the best of both worlds :
Guys and girls confident about dating, or not dating, drunk or not, holding doors or not, guys not afraid to talk to girls, even strangers, even in the street. Girls not afraid to talk to guys, even strangers, even in the street. Not afraid to be judged if they have sex with multiple partners. Not afraid to express their feelings.
Dating that wouldn’t have rules, but rather some guidelines for the beginners, and no rules for the initiated, only limits would be the imagination. Why are we making such a fuss about a thing that could be so simple …
I agree. We are making a fuss about things that should be simple. But it does end up okay in the end for most of us 🙂
Thank you for those insights into French dating culture.
Thanks for this article! I just laughed out loud the whole time I was reading this.
And you are quite right. I’m a single woman from Finland, 37 years old, and think you just discriped me and my friends. And the whole “not-dating scene” in nordic countries. I don’t want to get married, don’t know if I ever want to even live with someone, ’cause I’m pretty independent, but I do want a relationship. Usually they have started just as you said. Knowing someone from work or through friends, then making it so that you meet him in a place, party or bar, where you can have drinks and accidentally start to talk to that someone you have your eye on. If he likes me too, we end up in bed together. Simple.
(but have to agree with other Finn, Sade, that if I had children, it would have been best to get married, because of the law.)
Yes, I’m still a single, have not just found the perfect nordic man of mine 🙂
And I’m friends with almost all of my ex-boyfriends and one night stands.
I would not believe a guy, who is flirting with me and who I don’t know from somewhere, it would seem unreal. Because how could he want me, just by what I look like, if he didn’t know me?
And in a relationship, you don’t need words to express love, no, it’s in how you act towards one another, little things. If words are needed, there is something wrong.
I have tried out internet dating. I think it works, because you get to know other ones hobbies and interests, if they have a job, what is their religion and so on. Then it is not a stranger anymore! And you can go on to the date. To a bar, usually. Or a movie
( my last internet date was with a danish guy, we went to a movie, he paid ’cause he had free tickets that would expire soon.)
I think that a Finnish guy is more shy than the ones you descripe here, and is so used to the fact that a woman will tell him when they have chosen him that he just sits in the bar, and waits. Sometimes his whole life. It is often a woman who is in charge. You just need to pick.
And if a Finnish guy smiles to you back more than once, there is something!
I’m glad I made you laugh. That was the whole point of this blog post 😀
And now I want to go to Finland to see if I can find a Finnish guy who will smile to me more than once. Not that I really need one, since I`m happily married already, but you made me all curious 😉
Finnish people are more russian than scandinavian…. someone had to say it.
“Kjæreste” can also mean dearest:)
I agree but I kind of see the couple in “When I`m 64” when I use that word. It is a nice word, though. The one you hold the dearest – that really is some title 😀
Or sweetheart 🙂
Me and my “Samboer” are Minnesotan, both with Swedish decent.
We knew each other through mutual friends and we started “being together”, is what I used to call it – the word “dating” seemed too meaningless. There was no “asking each other out”, we just slowly started being together; hung out more and more over time. And when we would go out to eat or drink we would just pay for our own meals.(None of that awkward “No, I’ll pay for it” back-and-forth).
We’ve been together for 4 years & lived together for 3. No plans on getting married – don’t have a strong reason to do so.
I hadn’t really thought about how having Swedish in your blood would have social impacts like that, heh.
Hehe, I have no idea if this is in our blood or just something we learn when we grow up. I loved to hear this Minnesotan input, though. I wish the two of you many great years together!
` is not an apostrophe
Try to find the ‘ key and write it proper like
I found it – now I have to relearn how to write. Not an easy task…. :-/
This is a great article about Scandinavians. A lot of the details that you described about the culture I myself experienced with Scandinavians.
I am a Mexican woman married with a Scandinavian man and we have been happily married for 4 years and counting =)
In my experience, of course there are cultural differences and this is for me a great ingredient for a non monotonous relation.
Love come first for all and for good and it has been the key in our relations. And I am talking about self love, because nobody can love if there is not love in their hearts. The more unconditional love we have for ourselves, the more unconditional love we can share to others. This has set me free from paradigms, cultural labels that are not functional for me or in my relations.
I love the Scandinavian values which have fit me so good and taught me too. Mexicans are awesome but far from perfect, so I believe nobody have to change themselves for others but being smart and find beliefs that are not working good for us then it is great to change those beliefs for good.
Love, good self esteem (which defeat jealousy), communication, acceptance and respect are universal values that can work for everyone. =)
Have a great day!
I just love these inputs from people from all over the world. I agree with you that life would be pretty boring if the one we love was our twin and we were completely alike.
A great day to you too 😀
How did you do it? Im agree with have not paradigms. But I would like knows if he Is interested in me and continues with this thought.
I don’t know in which part of Norway you live, but I don’t recognize this at all. The stereotype might fit if the following conditions are met: The norwegian man drinks alcohol, is an atheist and is incredibly shy.
It all depends on which culture in Norway you think about the most. Most relationships derive from being friends, and then developing an interest for each other through conversation or just spending time together. Bodily language goes a long way to turn a normal friendship into something more, and before you know it you’re in someone’s arms.
I would not recommend the drunken kind though, they tend to respect you less.
I have no idea how religion fits into this. I don`t know whether most of my friends believe in a god or are atheists.
I live in Oslo but I have lived in other parts of Norway and there`s not a part I haven`t visited. I`m not sure the differences are that big – not when it comes to dating, anyway 😉
You’re spot on and Lars is way off.
Most Norwegian men a) Drink alcohol an are b) Atheists. The shy part is irrelevant.
I never got the point of the dating thing (even after living in California). Silly, scripted, social rituals that are based on sexist clichés.
If the sex works, then maybe it’s worth trying a relationship. Spending a lot of time building a relationship and then finding the sex uninteresting is such a waste of time.
Well, most Norwegians certainly drink even if all the drinking doesn`t show up in the statistics 🙂
Oh, I agree. The dating rituals made me nervous when I lived in California. For some reason it was the opening of the car doors that really threw me. Why couldn`t I open my own door? I do know from female friends in the US that many of them find it very romantic when he opens the car door for her so I guess it`s just about different upbringings and different cultures.
Yes, why wait? Sex is important and you might want to find out if you “fit” early on.
Silly?? Scripted?? Unreal!! Watch it Kvello!!
I’m Norwegian, live in Narvik a city of 20k, and his points absolutely ring true up here. To your point about atheism though, I think you’re probably right, myself and pretty much every young person I know are non believers, and I can’t deny that if you were are hardcore christian who didn’t like to party or have sex before marrige things would obviously be different. Thankfully I think christianity is dying out among young people in Norway, I barely know any under the age of 40, and the ones I do are usually a bit odd and segregasted from normal society, which of course is sad but understandable.
In Denmark alot of people date, but exclusive ofcourse. And I would be very disappointed if a person I date, or my (future) boyfriend was spending the night with a female friend of his. So these rules do not go with all kinds of scandinavians. But yes – I would never flirt or go on a date with a complete stranger 😉
No, definitely not. These rules are painted with a big brush and they won`t fit everyone 🙂
I don’t know your age, but its certainly not the norm to “date” in Denmark. Its fairly new and mostly due to internet dating. I live in Central Copenhagen and I have yet to see a man ask a woman out he doesn’t know. (unless its at a party and/or with alcohol)
Most danes meet though mutual friends, in school, at work.. Something like that. This article fits my view of Denmark very well and I have lived here all my life.
This does not apply to any Danes i know (i am a Dane), but its an interresting view you have on this topic. Well written article
I`m a Dane too and it certainly fits a lot of my Danish friends – at least if you take the blog post for what it`s meant: a bit of fun and a lot of generalization 😉
Thank you 😀
As a none danish person living in Danmark your daing culture is really awkward.
All the compliments i have given so far in danmark have been met with the attitude that its wrong to give compliments to danish people. unless you are drunk.
It must be hard to come here and adopt to our non-dating culture. I can only imagine how your compliments have been received. I suppose a lot of people get suspicious when strangers give them compliments – we`re just not used to it.
I wish I had some good advice to give to you but I don`t, unfortunately. I can only wish you good luck! 🙂
I enjoyed reading this alot! I’m a 24 year old male from Sweden and I’d like to confirm everything you wrote to be pretty much spot on, from a generalizing point of view of course. Many people seem to not really understand the thing about drinking though, but it’s quite simple. Dating someone would normally put alot of pressure on me and my fellow scandinavians as it is said to be a date and something is expected from you. However, meeting up for a beer or two at a pub or a restaurant is not the same thing, it has more “casual” over it but it can at the same time accomplish the exact same thing as is accomplished by dating. The difference is that you’re in an area where you can just hang out and socialize in a more casual way where nothing about a date is said outloud. And you really don’t have to get yourself drunk, just taking one beer because it tastes good, or even water doesn’t take away the atmosphere of a safe, familiar and uncomplicated area where the possibility of bumping into friendly people all the time is at its best. At least that’s how I see it.
Very well put! It`s not as if we`re raving drunks every time we need to speak to someone we`re attracted to. But a beer or two – and a casual environment – will do wonders.
I really liked how you pointed out the casual bit because that`s important. I think Scandinavians in general like casual. I know I do 🙂
I’ve been with my ‘samboer’ for 3-4 years now, and we started like you said as friends, hanging out, then flirting, alcohol, then sex… One month later we where living together :p
We scandinavians are a strange people, but still pretty relaxed. (Norwegian btw).
Fun article, and ofc full of generalization, which I hope our foreign friends understand. I’m a swedish woman and during my time as single I have “hung out” with guys non exclusively, although in those cases the term “kk” (fuck buddy) was almost always used. But there was always an agreement that it wasn’t exclusive if noone said so (perhaps thanks to me stating in the beginning of the relationship that’s what I wanted).
The drunk part is frickin spot on ^^
I think most people understand that this is a generalization. You can`t make rules that fit 20 million people 🙂
I`m glad you liked the post!
Yep. What more to say?
Reblogged this on Liv(e) in the US and commented:
Yup, Thyra10 pretty much sums it up right here 😀
I’ve been living in Denmark for one year and I can tell you, Danish people are socially retarded people 🙂
They only become “normal” when they’re drunk like you said and it was so frustrating to see the change in behavior between the drunk cool person with who you talked for one hour and the cold sober Danish back in real life.
No wonder internet dating works so good over there … it’s fucked up …
I guess it’s same fight in all Scandinavia.
I just think it’s sad to limit yourself to your close circle of friends, friends they make basically because they’ve been closed since 1st grade !!
No room for anyone else, especially not a foreigner just stopping by to study, whatever cool he is.
So I guessed it was ok as a french student to fuck couple of drunk danish girls but like I said, kind of frustrating. Even to see them again for more sex was hard ! Like they don’t assume ? “It’s ok when I’m drunk but no sex if I’m sober” ??
Only Danish with travelling background are more open minded, the rest, well I guess they think they are happy where they are …
I wouldn`t call us socially …. well, I wouldn`t even use that word.
I`ve heard the same complaint from many foreigners – students, visitors or people who`ve moved here – that it`s hard to gain entry into the close knitted circles of friends and that it`s hard to meet people in Scandinavia. That`s really sad and we probably could do better at including people.
I hope things work out better for you in the future!
I would like to chime in and say that it could also be argued that when foreigners take that attitude, the locals may be right to not want to have anything to do with them.
I’m a non-Scandinavian but with a Swedish sambo, and we’ve lived together in Stockholm, and now in Finland (due to his work), and the locals are very nice – provided you don’t assume their social habits are ‘retarded’ and that you are ‘cool’.
Another point – I often have had questions about ‘so how do you “get” a Swede so you can move there’, and it makes me bloody angry. You don’t ‘get’ a Scandinavian, you are looking for a partner. And if you are looking for *insert nationality here*, then you are not a very good person, are you?
P.S. A lot of the article is spot-on, although perhaps Stockholm Swedes and Finnish academics talk more and drink less than you make it sound. On the other hand, I simply took the alcohol jokes in the spirit they were offered (punny, I know).
Please link to Humon’s actual site. She deserves the credit! http://satwcomic.com/
Absolutely! I actually thought I already did that. I love her comics and I would give her all the credit in the world. My only complaint is that she doesn`t draw a new comic every day. Or every hour 😉
who really cares about dating atheist scandinavians?
A lot of people apparently do (though, I`m not sure where religion comes into the picture).
A lot of people apparently do? I heard that scandinavian women are the most beautiful women in the world. But when i went to scandinavia i found that its not true.Why are people even buying this image of scandinavians its a mystery. Some people gain pride by saying that they are atheist. This is very pathetic. It’s not too late you can still repent and accept God in your life and you will see how wonderful your life and your marriage will become. Everything in this life is just vanity and will pass away.
I`m sure beauty is equally distributed through out the world and I`m not going to judge people by their (lack of) religious beliefs. I’m sure people have wonderful lives and marriages with our without religion.
lol obvious troll is obvious – gtfo hahah
I don’t wonder this person is an American. This is how all our comment boards are – just a bunch of this guy, and people fighting with him, NO MATTER WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT. It’s a cancer. Not to mention the strain on one’s wellbeing everyday when just to leave a comment, you are open to attack from people who hate how you live. Can you even imagine?
So as an American, i both sympathize and apologize.
Very well written and funny post but absolutely not true anymore, that we don’t date that is. Some if your other points were pretty bang on though. Maybe this is true in smaller cites but not for larger, like Stockholm. My friends and I went on dates all the time when we were single.
I`m glad you liked it! And interesting to hear that times are changing – at least in Stockholm. Are your dates the traditional dinner/movie/he pays for everything?
This is so terrible and untrue I want to cry. I’m norwegian and got alot of friends in sweeden and it doesn’t apply to any of us. And there’s not even an excuse that I’m from the north since I live in the east. TERRIBLE!
This generalization doesn`t fit 20 million Scandinavians. That goes without saying. You and your friends are apparently some of the 20 million that does not fit this picture.
This is great! Laughing me head off whenI read this!
I`m glad 😀
This article was very interesting to read. This article was very interesting to read. I think you did do a good job of summarizing or describing “love life” as it were in at least some of the Nordic Countries. Personally, I am dating a Norwegian, and have been for just shy of two years. Even though, I had been to Scandinavia several times before, and even lived in Sweden for a period, dating someone is still culture shock. In some ways it brings out some of the strongest differences between the country I am from (the US) and Norway or Sweden. All I could think about was when I saw my now boyfriend for the first time again after graduating college.
I flew out from the US the day after I graduated; I spent most of my time in Sweden as I have more friends there than I do in Norway. During the middle, I went to Norway. I was entirely excited to visit him. I knew that I liked him, as more than a friend at that point, but I figured there was no way he would possibly like me, so I was determined to be just a friend and nothing more, and to not bring it up at all to him. I arrived and he picked me up from the airport. It was so great seeing him. We took the bus back to the city center, or downtown, and then went to his apartment. As we were riding back he had put his hand on my leg for a brief moment. Shortly after, we needed to go to the grocery store to pick up food for dinner. So we were walking. We both considered each other to be close friends. With my close guy friends in the states, it is perfectly acceptable to walk arm in arm. So without thinking, I linked arms with him. But, he was so stiff, that it was awkward, so I soon thereafter unlinked my arm, and just figured, okay they clearly don’t do that here. The rest of the afternoon had passed by, and we were talking and hanging out. Well that evening there was a party that a really good friend of his was hosting. She was studying film, and she and another girl were having a “thank you for helping us make out film” house party. So we went to that. I had gotten talking with some other guys, (who were drinking…haha) then I had gone back to speak with my friend some, and eventually they had asked if I had seen the clip of the short film they had already finished editing. So I watched that. But then there was a couch, and some people had gotten up and left. We sat down and talked about everything from politics to grammar to philosophy etc. I get cold easily so I pulled my legs onto the couch. At some point he had put his arm to rest it on top of my legs. I didn’t think anything of it. Then the party move to the Student House. We were standing he had put his arm around my waist at some point, but we both had been drinking. Later, I asked if he wanted to leave (This was at like 2 am) We walked back and were holding hands. We got back to his place and one thing sort of led to another ,a nd I was definitely being braver than I would ever be normally, and I made a move and kissed him as we were listening to music. What shocked me most was that he kissed me back. I was shocked, truly shocked.
According to him, he had been basically throwing himself at me the entire day. But as far as I was concerned, he was treating me the exact same way my best guy friends would back in the States. Whereas it is perfectly normal for friends to hug each other here, he would never hug even his closest friends. He was saying he would not have personal contact with another person. It’s just not what you do. Which made me realize, well no wonder I wasn’t picking up any of his clues.
Even as we have been dating more differences have come up. In the States, I have countless friends who ask me, are you engaged yet? Is he going to propose? Are you going to get married? When are you going to see him again? Have you talked about kids, have you talked about finances? What is he (in reference to religion)? (Then when they find out he is not Christian, which is a huge deal to many people, the next question is:) “Are you going to convert him? (To which I respond: No.) In the States, as you can probably get from movies, and I never realized to the extent of which it is until I dated a foreigner, is that there is a very clear idea of what a relationship should be and how it should progress. Now that I am 25, I am supposed to be looking for someone to marry, and looking for a serious relationship, according to everyone else it seems. Typically, you meet someone, somewhere. Then you go on dates with them (this is not dating, we would consider it more of “I’m seeing someone, or I’ve gone on some dates with a person). Next comes dating. Dating is when you are steadily seeing someone, (however, this does not make them your boyfriend, or girlfriend. It would still be okay to go on dates with other people at this point, while you are dating someone else. A lot of my Swedish friends have said they wish they had “dating,” because they have felt it’s you are with someone or not, but you don’t have the transition period of getting to know someone to know if you would want to date them.) Then you become someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend. Typically, this is something you talk about, and actually would ask to call someone your boyfriend or girlfriend. Then here, unless if you are in high school, or in college, you date someone then after about 2 years, and especially after 4 years, (unless if there is some specific reason) it is almost expected that you will get engaged to that person. If you don’t then it becomes a question of, is the person committed to you? Is he or she serious? Because most people see it as, if you aren’t going to get married, then what’s the point of the relationship? And you are wasting your time. Whereas it is normal to get engaged in Sweden and Norway, and never get married, or to be engaged for over 10 years, people would freak out about that and question it, and criticize it here.
The thing is, people here don’t think about it, because it is such a part of the culture, we don’t question it. It’s just, how it is. Also in the States, even though people have kids before marriage, the correct order is still considered to be marriage before kids. By dating a foreigner, or in this case a Norwegian, our relationship doesn’t exactly fit into the little box, Americans typically want relationships to fit in. On one hand, it’s made me realize that ever relationship is unique, and to make it fit into a little box is insane. I have talked with this to my other friends, and actually it has given them a sigh of relief about their own relationships at times, because it is sort of a new perspective, which is freeing in some ways.
There was one time I was talking with my boyfriend, we had gotten talking about differences between the US and Norway. I had come across some statistic about the average marriage age in the US. According to the survey it was either like 25 or 26 years old (mid-twenties). This completely shocked him, and he finally began to understand why I was constantly be nagged about how our relationship is progressing by others. Then we looked it up what it was in Norway, it was in the mid-thirties, I want to say 36, but I could be wrong on that specific age.) It was a very insightful and enlightening conversation.
I would definitely say advice to dating a Swede (I have also dated a Swede), or a Norwegian, or any foreigner for that matter. You have to keep an open mind, and you cannot project your country’s views of dating or dating expectations on the relationship. It’s probably not going to follow that. You’ll make it your own. That is okay to do. Sometimes, it means waiting, or taking initiative, be open and honest, realizing that some holidays are not celebrated in other countries, while others are. Your relationship is between you and the person you like/love, and no one else.
Aaaw, my romantic heart beat an extra beat here. What a lovely story! Thank you 😀
And I do agree with your last words. Relationships are between the two people who love each other and no one else.
Perfect article! 🙂 I could see all the points you’ve mentioned and I could really see loving couples and all that tender mood during my stay in Sto. It is totally differ from the country and culture where I live – Armenia – but I do like the way you do 🙂
Thank you! 😀
It must be a big change to come here and try to adopt to our strange habits. I`m glad you like it here, though!
I’m an American, married to a Norwegian (yes, married) and I got to say, you nailed this one! This post was funny… and true.
I`m glad you found it both funny and true. And I`m glad you enjoyed it 😀
You Norwegians are so prudent 😉 We Swedes have started exploring open relationships.
As a Dane I try to stay clear of any Swedish-Norwegian wars 😉
As a dane in an open relationship, I was about to point out that exact same thing.
There are Skandinavians in ethical-none-exclusive-relationships.
Oh, definitely but you`ll usually have a conversation about that before you go none-exclusive, right? It`s my understanding from US friends that it`s the other way around there: They have to have a conversation before they are exclusive.
Quite entertaining to have a look at a little different perspective on us Scandinavians. Like how you manage to sort of look from the outside-in, even you are inside looking .. in.
Lovely entries, and will enjoy reading on thus hereby following you 🙂
Med en venlig hilsen en inkarneret dansker!
Hehe, I do have a lot of foreign friends who ask me all kinds of questions about Scandinavia and that has made me wonder what we look like from the outside. It makes me laugh, sometimes, when I do manage to see us through the glasses of my foreign friends. We`re a weird (but lovable, right?) people 🙂
Med venlig hilsen en anden inkarneret dansker!
It certainly is interesting and quite amusing, gotta give you that. I have started pondering too, and actually asked some of my foreign friends how they look at me and Scandinavians in generel and all have come to the same conclusion.. That we are certainly a weird (but lovable indeed!) people 🙂
spot on! i am a norwegian woman, and have lived in many countries. completely disagree with the french person further up here who thinks it is “sad” that we don’t flirt, as love is important. he’s misunderstanding completely. we love deeply. we just do not depend on drama. and that makes life easier for all! statistically we drink less than the french, the spanish and the brits. we tend to binge, and not drink every day as they do. so you might see us drunk, but we have fewer alcoholics. the longer i am away from scandinavia (18 years and counting), i feel more proud of our egalitarian culture, and the way we relate, not depending on bullshit and dating rules other people have defined. sharing your blog if it is ok.
I agree. We DO love deeply. And I do think our approach is a bit more honest than all the flirting and drama. But then our way is the way I`m used to doing it so I would prefer it, right?
Swedes and Norwegians tend to binge drink where as Danes do drink more in their everyday life (they binge drink too, though).
Whenever I´ve lived abroad I´ve also come to feel very proud of my roots – and especially the egalitarian culture. I hope we can manage to keep it in the future. 🙂
Sad not to be social and to wait to be drunk to start socialising. You may not find any use of this word but i use it when it comes to interact with people that are not your friends.
Didn’t talk about flirting :).
Never said they drink more than us french actually everybody was very serious all week long and partying during weekend, pretty cool i think.
And I didn’t want to enter those circles of friends, i was just willing for some exchange, to talk with open people.
Open and loving people i found when alcohol was there, otherwise, well … i was … Acknowledge i would say.
So don’t wish me better luck, I’m the one that should wish them luck in their life because everything looks soo complicated when it comes to people 🙂
And Im going back there in May to win this kapsaldes race thing in aarhus and fuck a couple of dan girls on the way i hope. It’s easier now i know how to do. The one drinking they want something.
I have a lot of love to give and receive because it’s all about love right ?
So watch the news for this fit French guy winning the most traditional student danish race in aarhus ^^
Haha i know french guys we’re bad , sorry in my blood 😉
Arg, an another arrogant French guy above, great for our already terrible reputation 🙂
Another one of our countless flaws is that we tend to criticize and put in question everything, we call that discussion and philosophy 🙂
Well, at least in my comment above, I didn’t mean to criticize the way Scandinavians love, I think it is one of the best places in the world to start an equalitarian, sound and happy relationship. So gold medal for the Scandanavian couples, we definitely have a lot to learn from them.
What I find slightly (slightly) sad, is not being able to have fun and feel the love and desire raise with the dating phase, that can last few days, to few months. This is a cool, a nice period, with nice memories. I’m talking about NO RULES dating 🙂
And playing the good friend with the person you love and want to date, out of shyness, is as much a lie as flirting and giving a few hints to the other that you are interested.
I’d live in Scandinavia, I’m sure I’d be happy on all aspects, but I would miss this part.
Also the mere possibility to exchange a few nice words and laughs with a perfect foreigner (male or female) is to me precious, I think I would miss it. Shy foreigners must have a hard time in Scandinavia.
Anyway, of course that is not all bad, you don’t get all the prejudices from the conservative South European societies. And I guess you don’t miss what you don’t know.
I loved your article! It’s such a true synopsis, and made me laugh a lot! Having paradoxically been raised by a conservative latino mother to be an independent European woman, I spent most of my adult life subconsciously drawn to macho men stereotypes. Which was never really a good fit. However, through pure chance (and some uncharacteristically brazen conduct on my part!) I ended up “together with” a Norwegian guy. Surprisingly, one of the things I love most about him is his genuine, easy-going and straightforward character – miles away from those superficial alpha males I may have sought in the past. It is obviously a personality thing, not only the Scandinavian factor – but he is the best life partner I could ever have wished for!
Ah, that warms my heart. I`m not a fan of the macho men stereotype and have never understood why this stereotype seem to be preferred in so many countries.
Congratulations on your uncharacteristically brazen conduct. A lot of good can come out of that kind of behavior 😀
I think we can all agree this was a funny and well written guide. I guess this could be true for some people, it also may be built on some stereotypes.
I mean sure, being a Swede I find being approached by a stranger in public scary and I get offended when the other person tries to pick up the check at a restaurant. This unless I know there will be a second occasion for me to return the favor. But at the same time I really don’t drink alcohol all that much and I’m kind of loud and aggressive for being a Scandinavian I guess. If it’s a stranger in public then they’ll have to approach me but at a party, preferably without alcohol in my body, I will most likely approach the other. I also don’t sleep with random people, I don’t do one night stands. Which means that you have to have “hung out” with me a couple of times for that even to be on the table.
Personally the order goes more like this: meet, exchange facebook, chat on facebook, texting, phone calls, “hang out” at least 3-4 times, sex if we’re clicking on a non-drunk level and the other person also plays for keeps, boyfriend/girlfriend, live together, engaged, marry. So also there I’m one of those who want to marry but in a non-religious way. Having non-religious ceremonies, in Sweden at least, is also really popular. So if you’re really serious about dating a Scandinavian? Be sociable and approach because we do generally have a problem with that, don’t be aggressive about your intentions and ask the Scandinavian all your questions over a drink and go from there. We generally love answering questions. XD
Thank you! And yes, it`s definitely built on stereotypes 🙂
That was really great advice and I hope all the non-Scandinavians who want to approach Scandinavians read this. I couldn`t agree more: we generally love answering questions but don`t be too aggressive about your intentions 😀
Hey Thyra, LOVED reading this and particularly this comment.
I spent about a year in Stokcholm doing a masters last year and was seriously iN LOVE with the idea of the Scandinavian man even before going there (I had already met these beautiful nordic men before haha).
Unfortunately, it was SO hard meeting them while I was there! In line with Emilie’s comment, I also don’t (I actually don’t drink at all). And always wondered if that (not going to many clubs/bars and getting drunk) was the reason I didn’t meet Swedes. I only met one once in bar who took me out on dates, and I think he did so because he had lived abroad and knew about this “dating” business (but he ultimately ditched me when I refused to have sex with him! ugh!).
Then my masters class was full of foreigners so no chance of meeting a swede there. So I tried to talk to Swedes in the cafeteria (the first time it felt soo awkward, just like those high school american movies). And I met a couple of good Swedish girls! buut no guys! it seemed that EVERY guy was literally taken!! I even asked one of my swedish girl friends at a party to introduce me to her single swedish guy friends and she literally only pointed to ONE. #sosad
Anyway, I just found it sooo hard to meet these Swedes!! I kept seeing these gorgeous, fashionable, shy (which is what I love since I can be at times a loud latina haha) in the tunnelbana, walking around the city, in the gym, but I just didn’t know how to interact with them.
What would be your advice for foreign girls living in Scandinavia who’re trying to meet the guys without going to clubs/bars/getting drunk?
Oh, I’m so sorry you found it hard to meet Swedish men. I’m not sure what my advice to foreign women would be because we’re all different but I know what I’ve always done when I go to other countries, which is to just walk up to these guys (and women – I love meeting people and it doesn’t have to be romantically/sexually) and start a conversation. I might not do it on the subway but I’ll find things that interest me and start chatting with people. I’ve found that various subgroups are often easier to mingle with than people who’ve chosen a more “straight-forward” life. In Scandinavia you’d probably be able to meet a lot of great people through heavy/black metal music, for instance. If that kind of music makes your brain boil, you might want to look into something else 😉
I know it isn’t easy to talk to strangers here in Scandinavia and you’ll probably get a few stares at first but you’ll probably also find that most people really do want to talk to you and appreciate that you’re taking the initiative. Complaining about a bus that’s late is, for instance, a great conversation starter 😀
Apart from that I suppose I would try online dating. It’s become incredibly popular and you can meet a lot of nice people there. Or so I’m told 😀
Tack sa mycket, Thyra! Do you recommend any scandinavian dating sites? (I tried okcupid while I was there but it was mostly foreigners haha).
Here in Norway I hear a lot of good things about sukker.no and match.com (the latter is probably in several countries). I’m sorry to say that I don’t know any Swedish or Danish dating sites.
Thank you 🙂
I’m from Iceland and I approve of this message!
I`m glad 🙂 I`ve only ever visited Iceland and never lived there long enough to know if this blog post would also fit you guys.
Oh it does.. disturbingly spot on to be honest 😉 – but like you said there are ofcourse devations, I’ve “dated” a few times before having sex but never really with a stranger. You get to know the person you are interested in before going on dates but your article is in most cases is spot on.
Scandinavian Date Rules
We don’t have a norm for that
Seen it loads of times and it is exactly as you say – Quiet and akward. 🙂 hilarious!
4. Bullshit & Agree.
It’s a 50/50 situation. But it’s good to be prepared for that they split bills and see that as obvious thing to do
99% if cases are like that.
Many people do date alot of people before they decide to be with one…. You can thank Match.com for that, they just don’t tell! Swedes like to think it’s “practical” and “efficient” to find the One faster. I tend to disagree since you don’t get to see the depths you never give anyone a real chance. But in general I believe many do not have sex with any of those.. If they do I think they break off the others. However they might have a sexpartner they don’t date at that time. Until the sex with one of dates has occurred.
But sadly alot of cheating is exactly happening thru this. Very logical because when you tell intimate things to someone you form an intimate bond. So if it starts going bad in relationship you will be vulnerable and the person your intimate about those details usually is the one you do something bad with because you’re emotionally weak at that moment and its easier to withstand someone you don’t know so intimate. So I do agree about everything except cheating part.
Nice blog…. 🙂
Aaaw, your comment on 9. made me a bit sad because you`re absolutely right. Thank you for your run-through of my rules – I`m glad you like the blog 😀
This is exactly the reason why you shouldn’t be intimate with others that there is a possibility of sex/attraction to.
Normally ppl want you to be happy so when you ask them intimate questions about your doubts they still wont tell you something that is objective. They can only see that you are hurt and thats not a good thing so usually you dont get the answer you need just the answer that makes you happy now. Comfort… People shouldn’t affect other people that are in doubts about the relationship. They should stick to these question if they really want to help the person….
“What do you want?”
“What are your wishes for those situations that makes you sad. How do you wish they would turn out?”
Can’t tell a person what to do… Shield will go up. Only tell your wishes… if he/she loves you… they will listen usually otherwise its their loss but you gave them a chance to be on your side listening instead of opposite.
I agree. You can`t tell a person what to do – you can only be there for that person when he/she tries to find out what he/she wants to do.
du måske in love din pige.
Not entirely sure what you mean 😉
What a load of bullshit!!!
I’m from Denmark this is in NO WAY TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, it can`t be true for everyone 🙂
So am I, and I think it is spot on. Not at all all bullshit, that there are individual deviants from the general culture, doesn’t mean there is a general culture.
It’s of course also a very big brush and so the lines are fairly blurred. From my experience alcohol means a lot less in the dating-arena, than it is painted as here, but besides that, I agree. There will be deviants from the general culture, polyamory (which would contradict #7) isn’t necessarily rare, but it isn’t part of the general culture in Denmark, and I don’t think in Scandinavia either.
It is a very big brush and individual deviants will occur – you’re absolutely correct 🙂
Thank you for your comment!
Reblogged this on Juliacastorp's Blog.
Gotta say this was pretty spot-on. I´m living with a “sambo” since amost 18 years, two kids, a house, a dog, a cat and a Volvo. Pretty much the “IKEA”-family of Sweden if you will… We met through friends and shared a bed for about three weeks talking this and that, about life, how to think around the upbringing of kids, how we thought about those every-day things that impact life so much. Three weeks without ever even cuddle. Although often naked for some reason. As you said, nudity really is not a biggy in Scandinavia…
But then, on “valborg” (april 30:th) 1996 which is a big thing here in sweden, with a respectable amount of alcohol in our bellys, we kissed and so on… The rest is history…
I’ve never understood the dating-thing although it seems fun when you see Hugh Grant dating Julia Roberts in Notting Hill, but I guess that is not the normal date-scene…
As I said, pretty much spot on. Funny but true and I wouldn´t have it any other way.
Loved the “sunday-movie” thing. That made me laugh out loud. Done that myself…
I really wouldn`t want it any other way either 😀
And that “sunday-movie” thing – oh, I loved watching all those shy couples. You knew they`d slept with each other but they were still being very awkward about the whole thing. It was so cute!
“Sunday-movie” thing is hilarious, you know it’s gonna be awkward but still you power on through!
You do power through because you hope that one day it will be less awkward. And usually it is 😀
I’m a Scottish woman married to a Dane – interestingly after we had kids we decided to get married because the Danish government didn’t allow our kids Danish citizenship unless we married – having a Danish dad wasn’t enough – ironic?!
Oh, don`t get me started with the Danish government and their weird rules about citizenship. My kids have a dual citizenship (Danish and Norwegian) but they will have to choose between the two when they are 18 because Danish rules say you can´t have more than one citizenship. Norway is more relaxed in that department. I have a Danish citizenship but I can`t vote in Denmark – never could. It`s all very complicated and you can really tell that you should consider the Danish citizenship a blessing bestowed on the chosen few /sarcasm.
The government is about to change that. Thank God.
I don’t mind a man opening a car door for me, but I don’t expect him to do so.. I find it sweet 🙂 And I’m norwegian. Also I find it very charming if the man holds the door open for me, but that goes for anyone. Man or woman. And I do the same to others. As I find it polite, not to slam the door in someones face behind you. As well as letting someone through a door before you. Etc etc.. I don’t expect the man, or anyone to pay for my meal etc. And have no problem paying for both, or my part. And usually do that. But it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate having a meal payed for me. If he want to give me that, it’s no problem. I’ll usually end up paying something else anyways. I don’t find any of this sexist. Maybe not so surprising I’m married to an american, in Norway. He is raised up to treat women with respect. That is opening and holding doors, occationally pulling out chairs etc. I love all that about him and wouldn’t have it any different 🙂 I think it is so sweet! I think we’re all very different when it comes to our expectations and what we look for in a spouse. No matter where you are from. But I’ve noticed how girls (friends), seems to appreciate this about him. He’s an old school gentleman, but also helping out at home. No stuck up thoughts that I should do the house work. Think I got the best from both worlds <3
I get all embarrassed when a man opens the car door for me. At least if he started out sitting in the car next to me and then expects me to stay put while he walks around the car to open my door. I know it’s well meant but I still get embarrassed.
I think everyone should hold the door for everyone. I traveled the Southern states in the US last summer and I truly loved how people would hold the door for you. Not just men holding the door for women, but everyone being helpful to one another.
Lucky you – the best from both worlds sounds lovely 😀
Haha spot on 🙂 the second time i spoke to my girlfriend she told me she was pregnant. Thats 4 years ago and we’re still a happy family 🙂
HAHAHA, this made me laugh 😀
I am from Germany and never got the dating thing. I love the scandinavian way of being. I never liked when being out, if a guy on the bar (someone stranger) asked me, if he could buy me a beer or drink. I have my own money. If you want to talk to me…do so. You can’t buy my time or sympathy with a drink. That never impressed me, more the opposite.
The scandinavian way is modern to me. Marriage, not for me. Being together, Great.
No danger in being with male friends even physical close, great. It works for me. But not for most other people. Too bad.
If I could, I would still love to live in Sweden, never felt more happy and relaxed than there.
i probably would exclude a few things (- Because male Scandinavians over 25 are rarely afraid of relationships if only someone would take the first step. – We do not have to have any talks about being “exclusive”. – We`re comfortable with nudity) but the rest is kind of the same in germany and austria
I think to be comfortable with nudity in Germany depends on the age and where you grew up ( former ”East ” or former ”West” Germany ) For me it is completely normal to be naked with my male or female friends when we are in the sauna or at the beach.
I stumbled onto this blog .. and have learned a lot . I am in the southeast USA and it is different here . I am a Christian and do not drink .. not because of religion , but just do not like it … maybe a lite beer , but that is it . Dating here is not like the movies very much . We usually were with a group of friends who had known each other for years , went to school , worked and then out at night in groups . If a couple started dating there were several steps ..First date , the man paid if they went to a movie or whatever .. his choice usually .. After that it sort of depends upon who has the money or split the bill . I personally love to have doors opened , etc , makes me feel special , but again is a personal choice . Very few couples have not had sex before marriage or moving in together … I knew the first time I ‘ dated ‘ my man he would be for life and it was . Cheating does happen a lot but it was not something that was acceptable to us . Several things about where I live .. if you do not know the person / man .. you never go out ( date ) alone with them .. dangerous .. also if the person is overly aggressive about sex , best to steer clear because they do not want anything else and usually the first or second date you know whether that one is worth being with . This is from one who was very happily married until he passed away .. Now am living with one , not really interested in marriage again .. I have enjoyed reading all the comments and learning about different countries and cultures .
I would want to know if this tradition is used in scandinavia, is it equally hard to find good friends to hang out with, or to have a best friend amongst? Cuz as dating is out of the question due to the social awkwardness ( as some might call in the third world countries other than scandinavia , off course) , Cuz finding the one you love or want to be with , involves a high possibility of being a stranger which might ask you out, And alcohol is portrayed in almost all of the exceptions, Well My question is, is this also applicable while making just friends?
I’ve read text and comment and basically most of the scandos agree with what’s written here. The exception is few foreigners and other scandos who traveled around.
I’ll add my little stone and personal view as i lived in different countries at the south of Europe.
For me all this is weird BUT we have a totally different culture so i can understand. What i cannot understand is this whole sober / drunk thing. I mean what, is it ok to talk, flirt, and fuck strangers while drunk and totally unacceptable if you’re sober ?
This is fucked up and the worst part, it’s hypocritical. when people are drunk, they are more “open”, released from any personal and social rules. That means to me, scandos are holding back because of society rules and the thought of “what would my friends think if i…”. What i write is confirmed every summer, when i see bunches of tourist scandos say whatever and doing whatever with anybody. What is that, you dating and behaving rules don’t apply when abroad ? Talk to me about hypocrisy…
I won’t talk about cheating, which for me is totally unacceptable and respectful. Everybody likes to have sex with good looking people but there’s limits, if you want to be free, get out of you relationship first.
Last thing you guys seem to think that there’s something special and people are attracted to you. The answer is very easy, there are in Scandinavia some very cute people, blond, blue eyes and fine bodies. This you don’t see it often at the south and that’s why we like it. The equivalent applies to scandos when they see a dark haired / eyed (always nice body) individual, they like it a lot, there’s no mystery guys.
That’s all, never visited Scandinavia so far but I’ve always had scando friends from everywhere. It’s in my plan though to come and see your beautiful country.
I just hope you guys make an effort and evolve socially 🙂 It’s too bad not to be open minded and open to hang out with people visiting.
As a Swede I can just say, that this should be given to tourist/ immigrants or just passers-through when arriving in any Scandinavian country. This would probably be more educational than what the government agencies teach you haha!
Funny, true and it shows how similar we are up here in the north. Really not that much difference in our countries.. except that Norway’s oil ;)!
When it comes to the drinking I cant do anything else but agree, where would our countires be without this magical brew? Anyway, made me laugh and hopefully this will shine some light on how to get it done up here.
Haha, I`ll check with our tourist authorities 😉
No, we`re really not that different in Scandinavia. Except Norway for Norway`s oil and Sweden`s famous brands 😀
Ah yes, where would we be without beer?
Such a big thanks!! Now I understand him much much better :)))) I wish I could know about this earlier 😛
You’re welcome 😀 Good luck understanding him now!
det skitt å bli gammel. samba.
Ikke enig 😉
I couldn never date to persons at the same time. I would fall in love with both and then what do you do?
I’m a Norwegian girl and I asked a friend of mine out eight years ago. We have been together since and are now married. He is my bestfriend and my first and most likely last love. Many of my friends i the same situation as me and about half of them is married with their girlfriend/boyfriend from high school or college the other half are “samboere” and some have children.
I guess that falling in love with a friend is the safe way to get a relationship. The person is most likely already fond of you and taking it one step further may be a risk too loste a friend if it doesn’t work out, but is it really a risk when you have so much to gain?
I couldn’t agree more. If you’re already friends you have a lot of common ground and it’s a good basis for a relationship. 🙂
But it is not true about Denmark.
Life there for many before you make fun about People.
I have living inn Iceland and are danish born.
On Iceland you got some boy/girl friend no more fun just work.
And in Denmark you got boy/girl friend and still frie to go out with you friends.
It`s not true for everyone in Denmark, obviously, but I`m Danish myself and have lived in Denmark half my life 🙂
Great read, most definitely. And also quite sad if I may admit. I am a danish male, having been living in different countries throughout childhood, and I’ve had many travels as a youth. Which may explain my different approach to this.
Now I can’t get my head around the fact that scandinavian women like you, but they consider it a marriage proposal to being asked out on a date, if you don’t happen to know each other well. Therefore I typically end up spending weeks of absolutely non-sense texting before it is socially acceptable of me, to ask her out, and for her to accept my invitation.
It’s sad, cause the real dating part (for me at least), is actually to face the person and experience each other in a somewhat tense situation where you are curious to get to know each other – And not when you’re more or less completely aware of what you are getting yourself into.
Thank you for this piece.
You’re welcome! I`m sorry it’s a bit confusing and hard sometimes with our non-dating. I suppose date rules can be a good thing that way because they regulate things a bit. I must admit that still do like our non-dating.
Best of luck!
“In the other two scandinavian languages” for getting about Iceland, Finland, Farao Islands? Sweden, Norway and Denmark arent the only scandinavian country’s.
Actually not. Scandinavia is Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Iceland, Finland and the Faroe Islands are part of the Nordic countries but not Scandinavia. Confusing, yes, but that`s the way it is 🙂
(And my grandfather was Faroese so I would definitely not forget the Faroe Islands ;-D )
Actually, Denmark is NOT! part of Scandinavia as it only applies to the Scandinavia peninsula and therefore a small part of Finland is part of that, but NOT Denmark. Scandinavia = Sweden and Norway (and Finland). DK, SWE, NO, FI, ICE, Faroe, Åland and even Greenland (geographically part of North America) are the Nordic countries
This depends entirely on how you define “Scandinavia”. The most common definition is the one I gave: Denmark, Sweden and Norway. But there is also a technical/geographical term that relates to the Scandinavian peninsula. It`s much less used, though, and if you ask any school kid in Denmark he or she would say they live in Scandinavia 🙂
Greenland is a tough one. Yes, they`re part of the Nordic countries but not geographically. The Baltic countries were, at one point, named as Nordic countries as well. This was just after their independence.
Scandinavia is Referring to the countries that speaks scandinavian languages “Sweden, Denmark, Norway”..When entering Finland, Faroe Islands and Iceland Together with those three countries its called ” The Nordic Countries”
Actually, Hronn, you’re wrong. Scandinavia is still defined as Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Even though people oft get it wrong nowadays and take it to mean the Nordic countries, who knows, maybe it’ll be the official definition in the future.
Hahah… It’s so typical of an icelander to be pissed off for being left out of the “scandinavia” group….. we are sooo fragile and isolated up here, always trying to be a part of something bigger.. Lots of love to you Thyra10 for a fun read, a lot of things are similar here in Iceland when it comes to this “dating thing” 😉
Actually – Internet-dating is changing the mores. First you correspond for a while, mailing and maybe even texting and phoning. Then you meet for a coffee or beer (the ‘chemistry-meeting’), and that’s actually pretty much a date (light)… and mostly the guy does pick up the tab. And Internet-dating is getting VERY commin. So things are far from set in stone regarding the Danish/Scandinavian/Nordic dating (or non-dating) scene. Otherwise – fun piece!
I agree. I’ve never internet dated myself but, from what I hear from friends who’ve done it, it does seem to change things a lot. You have to go on a date if you’ve found someone through internet and that, right there, changes the whole basis for my rules 😉
Yup. Both have already agreed on what the deal is – two interested parties checking each other out for compatability. So it’s a date! And though the situation may be just the tiniest bit embarassing, it’s not really all that awkward… except when the reaction in one gradually no longer interested party becomes: “WTF am I doing here with that (insert appropriately inappropriate stereotype here)? How do I get out of this?” Then things get (sometimes more than) a little awkward… and you wish you’d never tried this foreign ‘dating-thingy-idea’ and go back to safely morsing your interest in others by the Scandinavian book. 😉
These points are unfortunately quite representative of the general Scandinavian population. Now, I have been raised in multiple countries, and I’ve traveled to a great extent. Perhaps that is why I struggle personally with exactly these things in our culture.
Take the whole dating scene. You can go out and have sex with most Scandinavian on the first initial meeting however, You may not invite women out for a date without spending weeks texting all kind of non-sense to each other.
It is a bit sad though, because the whole point of dating is to meet each other in a somewhat tense setting, being curious and anxious to get to know that person better – You don’t do that by ruining all the fun and excitement before a meeting.
Thank you for a great read.
– My computer turned off the instant I sent the first comment.
Please consider the second comment superfluous 🙂
Ok after read this article, I concluded I will NEVER go to Scandinavia!!!!! Jizas!!! So much boring, weirdness and cold together at the same time!!! I better stay in Portugal and make my trips to Spain and Italia… To see and meet real people.
Aaaw, that`s a shame. Never meant to discourage anyone from trying their luck here.
It really shouldn’t come as any surprise that the weather is cold here but I wouldn`t agree that people are. And we’re real people too 😉
Haha, this makes me laugh out real loud! I am Italian and I told myself never ever with an Italian guy! They may look charming, but the majority of them are just sleazy. I get it that you are a guy, and I am sure Italian girls are not sleazy as they guys are, but Italian mentality ( and I think, but I cannot vouch for the other countries) it’s very narrow minded, you have no idea.
These people are, yes, much colder than I am, but at least they live their “not so called relationships” without any drama infused in it. Cause, let’s face it – Southern countries are not happy if there is not drama in thier lives!
Thanks for blowing away every teeny tiny chance any Italian guy like me had with any scandinavian woman on this page! 🙂
As you know everyone’s behaviour depends on their nature and their experiences. I personally lived in Finland and Denmark and the longest relationship I’ve been into has been with a German. I wouldn’t say I’m the typical Italian guy (assuming the typical Italian guy is how you descrived them). Also, I’ve met a lot of Fins, Swedes and Danes that definitely do not belong to this general description of Scandinavians. Most of them lived abroad for a while though.
But I love how the Scandinavians are, and I’m not only referring to the non-dating aspect, I like everything about them and their countries, cold, long and dark winter included. I left a big piece of my heart up there.
I’m soooooo sorry! Again, this is a general rule…..and it doesn’t apply to every Italian man I have met in my life. I see that guys and girls of my generation (30s) who live abroad, have a different concept on how they relate themselves to the others…i’m sure you know what I mean by this.
I have lost a lot of my Italian flavour as I have lived abroad for a very long time; sometime is a shame, as you should never forget what your roots are, but on the other hand it is easier not to be classified as the sleazy, lazy, Italians that are just happy to be and nothing more.
I am sure you are a great person, and I am sure there a lot of great Italian guys out there. And I am also sure that if this is the case, people will notice straight away and you won’t simply classified like a typical Bunga Bunga dude 😉
I love this post and it really does demystify some aspects of Scandinavian men and “dating.” There is a part of me that totally gets the whole friends thing and hanging out, rather than officially dating, and sleeping together as just friends.
In Canada, where I grew up, I think we have it both ways. We follow British/American standards of dating, but we have a “cold charm” about us and “hang out” to get together too (much of it influenced by alcohol too 😉 ).This is similar to what happened when I was in university—close proximity to each other, similar schedules, similar ages. The problem becomes once outside of university the opportunity to have relationships like this become less common (e.g., people move away, not as much hanging out, etc.).
I guess my only confusion is now that I am older, mid 30s, and thinking of living abroad for a couple of years, I’m wondering if the only way I’ll meet someone is to essentially sleep with them first, which seems a bit off to me. I find it contradictory to be so forward as to go up to a Scandinavian I barely know and essentially tell them I want to hook up, rather than inviting them to a meal to get to know them better.
Thanks again for all the great insight. So far, Scandinavia is still on the list :). France is looking like a surer bet though (it helps that I actually know some French lol).
I’ve lived in France and even if it is a beautiful place, I found it a bit cold. Uk is definitely a great place to start from.
People are weird in their own beautiful way, so never forget that these are stereotypes and don’t apply to everyone. Sometimes we all forget that we are just human beings and we are trained to be like this. You’ll definitely find the right person who is fun, warm and worth to be around even if you don’t get to sleep with her / him straight away!
Wow Ricardo, define what “real people” means to you ?!! Where I come from (France) we don’t have such a strict dating system as seems to be the case in the US. Some things are very similar to what thyra10 explains: men don’t have to pay for everything or to plan for everything, and we usually hook up and then start going out. The thing we do though is flirting. Maybe sometimes we do it too much for my taste! But even if we don’t expect men to plan or pay for everything, in my experience I would say that we still have a lot of expectations based on gender roles. And I, for one, would be very happy to be in a relationship that’s not defined by gender roles. Just two human beings falling in love.