So You Want to Date a Scandinavian?

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?

From the amazing online cartoon series Scandinavia and the World.

From the amazing online cartoon series Scandinavia and the World.

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.

Dating rules

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.pripps ringnes tuborg
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!

Drunk Sweden

Drunk Sweden (Scandinavia and the World)

Edit: Someone pointed out that I hadn’t linked up to Scandinavia and the World. That’s awful because SatW is really worth a read! But it comes with a warning: If you start reading, you can`t stop. Read Scandinavia and the World.


639 responses to “So You Want to Date a Scandinavian?

  • Ange

    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.

    • thyra10

      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.

      • Chocolate Crackle

        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…

      • thyra10

        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.

      • Nadia

        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.

        Well-written post!

      • thyra10

        I`m sorry, this made me laugh. I couldn`t help picturing your date leaning over you to grab your candy :-D

        Thank you :-D

      • Thomas

        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 ;-)

      • thyra10

        I’m actually working on it – I just need to finish another blog post first ;-)

      • Hezaa

        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?

      • thyra10

        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 ;-)

  • fffbone

    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.

    • thyra10

      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 :-)

      • fffbone

        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

      • ReefChic7

        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

      • thyra10

        @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 :-)

  • MistressCinder

    My suggestion to US gals who want to meet a Scandinavian guy is to go to Minnesota. We have plenty of them here. : )

  • Tynee23

    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.

    • thyra10

      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!

  • aeryn

    Hey, I enjoyed hearing how other parts of the world get together, it sounds do much less stressful :)

  • gwynwyvar

    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!

  • suki59

    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. :)

    • ReefChic7

      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. :)

      • thyra10

        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!

    • fffbone

      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.

      • thyra10

        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.

      • Lise

        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! ;)

      • thyra10

        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 :-D

      • Lise

        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

      • thyra10

        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 ;-)

      • Erland Nettum

        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. :-)

      • thyra10

        I owe you a big hug then. This reanimated party has been a lot of fun. Thank you :-)

      • hezec

        Reddit did. You may have heard of it? “The frontpage of the internet” and all that? :P

        http://www.reddit.com/r/Nordiccountries/comments/1ybtll/so_you_want_to_date_a_scandinavian/

      • Greta

        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…

      • ReefChic7

        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).

    • thyra10

      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 :-)

      • fffbone

        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

      • thyra10

        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.

  • Liliput

    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!!

    • thyra10

      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 :-D – 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 :-)

    • Veronica Jonsäll

      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”.

      • thyra10

        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.

      • Miri

        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.

  • Sarah

    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 :P

    • thyra10

      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.

  • Elle

    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.

    • thyra10

      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 :-D

  • Elle

    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?”. :)

    • thyra10

      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 :-D

      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.

  • BB

    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?

    • thyra10

      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 :-D ) 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 :-)

      Good luck!

      • BB

        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 :)

      • Lise

        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!

    • thyra10

      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!

      • Johan H

        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.

      • thyra10

        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.

    • Ole

      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)

      • BB

        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 :D
        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 :)

      • Lise

        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

      • BB

        Lise, I will do. My guy and yours are pretty much the same. Damn, it’s never easy huh?

  • Erisi

    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!

    • thyra10

      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 :-D

  • Stnj

    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.

    • thyra10

      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 :-/

  • Blurp

    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.

    • thyra10

      Haha, indeed. I know people who`ve lived together for 20 years but who still haven`t had that conversation.

    • Lise

      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/

      • thyra10

        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 :-D

      • Johanna

        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 :)

  • Mario Rossi

    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.

  • Enur Belafonte

    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.

    • thyra10

      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 ;-)

      • Enur Belafonte

        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 :)

    • thyra10

      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.

  • stu4890

    Surely you can’t ALL be socially awkward alcoholics. But if so, hey – I like a challenge :)

    • thyra10

      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.

      • stu4890

        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! :)

    • thyra10

      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!

  • molahok

    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.

    • thyra10

      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 :-D

  • Bjerkemo

    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)

    • thyra10

      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 :-)

  • Robert

    I don’t get why the article starts with “Tough luck!”, whats described here is paradise…Now I really want to go to Scandinavia…

  • Olav Jørgenvåg

    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. :)

    • thyra10

      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!

  • A Scandinavian

    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.

    • thyra10

      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.

      • Gustaf Sjögren

        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.

  • Adrien

    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?

    • thyra10

      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 ;-)

  • H.L. Le Chatelier (@lechatelierite)

    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.

    • thyra10

      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. :-)

  • D

    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.

    • thyra10

      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. :-)

  • BMS.

    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…

  • Audun

    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 :)

    • thyra10

      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. :-D

    • ThatNorwegianGuy

      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! :D

      • ThatNorwegianGuy

        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.

      • thyra10

        Haha, we may just have to make our own tøffel contest :-)

  • BB

    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!

    • thyra10

      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 :-D

  • Minamus

    Haha! this is SOOO true! Tho i wish it wasn’t cause i have trouble taking the initiative ;)

    • thyra10

      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 ;-)

  • Karry Arvag

    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.

    • thyra10

      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 ;-)

      • Karry Arvag

        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.

      • Lise

        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!)

    • thyra10

      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 :-)

      • callelokke

        Omfg thyra.. Are you in the retarded group OTTAR?

      • thyra10

        Why are you so aggressive, Calle?

      • callelokke

        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..

      • thyra10

        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.

      • Karry Arvag

        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.

      • thyra10

        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.

    • ThatNorwegianGuy

      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.

      • thyra10

        Thank you! And I love how you got together with your girlfriend :-)

        I would love to hear more about that score board :-)

      • thyra10

        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 :-)

      • Karry Arvag

        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 .

      • An outgoing Norwegian guy

        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.

      • An outgoing Norwegian guy

        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/

  • ella

    This is SOO true!!! This is how we do it! Both me and all of my friends are like this! Fun to read! :)

  • Sade

    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).

    • thyra10

      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 :-)

  • Storm

    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.

    • thyra10

      Thank you!

      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. :-D

  • Ivero

    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.

    • thyra10

      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) :-D

  • Spider42

    Sounds completely like my kind of people! :)
    Maybe a migration is in order…

  • Brendan Monroe

    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.

  • callelokke

    Wtf.. Clearly the person who wrote this is mad and inzane.. Couldnt be more wrong..

    Best regards
    Romantic norwegian man age 25..

    • Karry Arvag

      I agree,I do not see this side whatsoever.

    • thyra10

      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.

      • callelokke

        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..

      • thyra10

        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.

      • Karry Arvag

        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.

      • thyra10

        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.

      • Karry Arvag

        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.

  • fffbone

    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?

    • thyra10

      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 :-D

      • fffbone

        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).

      • thyra10

        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).

    • ThatNorwegianGuy

      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.

  • X-36

    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.

  • A pedantic asshole

    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!

    • thyra10

      Hi.
      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 ;-)

  • Julie

    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! :)

    • thyra10

      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 :-D

  • fffbone

    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.

  • Wombat

    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

    • thyra10

      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 :-D

  • Nanna7

    Hey Thyra.

    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.

  • Simon

    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.

  • Spørgsmål til kvinder om udenlandske mænd

    […] her er lidt sjov (og lidt sand): So You Want to Date a Scandinavian? | Thyra10 We don't flirt with strangers. Så simpelt er det faktisk. Danske – og skandinaviske – kvinder er […]

  • Norwegiangirl

    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!

    • thyra10

      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 :-D

      (and you`re entirely correct – this was never meant as the absolute truth)

  • Andreas

    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.

    • thyra10

      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.

  • Fransk Fyr

    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 …

    • thyra10

      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.

  • Anna

    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!

    • thyra10

      I’m glad I made you laugh. That was the whole point of this blog post :-D

      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 ;-)

    • Christian Borup

      Finnish people are more russian than scandinavian…. someone had to say it.

  • Odd Egil Varøstrand Hagen

    “Kjæreste” can also mean dearest:)

  • gngärdin

    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.

    • thyra10

      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!

  • Name

    ` is not an apostrophe

  • k-dawg

    Try to find the ‘ key and write it proper like

  • Claudia

    Hello!

    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!

    • thyra10

      Thank you!

      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 :-D

  • Lars

    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.

    • thyra10

      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 ;-)

    • Dag Kvello

      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.

      • thyra10

        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.

      • itshael

        Silly?? Scripted?? Unreal!! Watch it Kvello!!

    • Mats Paasche

      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.

  • Marie

    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 ;)

    • thyra10

      No, definitely not. These rules are painted with a big brush and they won`t fit everyone :-)

    • Mea

      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.

  • Emil Bruun

    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

    • thyra10

      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 :-D

      • Adam Phillips

        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.

      • thyra10

        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! :-)

  • Jonas

    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.

    • thyra10

      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 :-)

      • Typical Norsk

        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).

  • Anna

    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 ^^

  • Ramalama

    Yep. What more to say?

  • usaliv1

    Reblogged this on Liv(e) in the US and commented:
    Yup, Thyra10 pretty much sums it up right here :-D

  • Romain

    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 …

    • thyra10

      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!

      • Veronika

        Thyra,

        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).

        – Veronika

  • Emily Kendall

    Please link to Humon’s actual site. She deserves the credit! http://satwcomic.com/

    • thyra10

      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 ;-)

  • wtf!!

    who really cares about dating atheist scandinavians?

    • thyra10

      A lot of people apparently do (though, I`m not sure where religion comes into the picture).

      • wtf!!

        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.

      • thyra10

        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.

    • Guðlaugur Ellert Birgisson

      lol obvious troll is obvious – gtfo hahah

      • hezaa

        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.

  • Maria

    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.

    • thyra10

      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?

  • KC

    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!

    • thyra10

      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.

  • Ida

    This is great! Laughing me head off whenI read this!

  • Jess

    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.

    • thyra10

      Aaaw, my romantic heart beat an extra beat here. What a lovely story! Thank you :-D

      And I do agree with your last words. Relationships are between the two people who love each other and no one else.

  • armenuhy

    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 :)

  • maggiemyklebust

    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.

  • Gummibjörn

    You Norwegians are so prudent ;) We Swedes have started exploring open relationships.

    • thyra10

      As a Dane I try to stay clear of any Swedish-Norwegian wars ;-)

    • Nina

      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.

      • thyra10

        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.

  • Thomas

    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!

    • thyra10

      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!

      • Thomas

        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 :)

  • Tonelise Rugaas

    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.

    • thyra10

      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. :-)

    • romain

      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 ;)

    • Fransk Fyr

      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.

  • Ln

    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!

    • thyra10

      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 :-D

  • Emelie

    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

    • thyra10

      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 :-D

      • sofia

        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?
        Thank you!!

      • thyra10

        Thank you!
        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 :-D

        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 :-D

      • sofia

        Tack sa mycket, Thyra! Do you recommend any scandinavian dating sites? (I tried okcupid while I was there but it was mostly foreigners haha).

      • thyra10

        You’re welcome!
        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.

  • rolf.G ( Bremen )

    agree. ;-)

  • Guðlaugur Ellert Birgisson

    I’m from Iceland and I approve of this message!

    • thyra10

      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.

      • Guðlaugur Ellert Birgisson

        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.

  • Håkan

    Scandinavian Date Rules

    1. Bullshit.

    2. Agree.
    We don’t have a norm for that

    3. Bullshit.
    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

    5. Agree.
    99% if cases are like that.

    6. Agree.

    7. Bullshit.
    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.

    8. Agree.

    9. Agree.
    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…. :-)
    /Male Swede

    • thyra10

      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 :-D

      • Håkan

        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.

      • thyra10

        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.

  • lars elias ( copenhagen )

    du måske in love din pige.

  • Stephanie the Danish Girl

    What a load of bullshit!!!

    I’m from Denmark this is in NO WAY TRUE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • thyra10

      Well, it can`t be true for everyone :-)

    • Faun

      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.

  • Magerget

    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…

  • Phyl

    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?!

    • thyra10

      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.

  • Marianne

    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

    • thyra10

      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 :-D

  • Norsk mann

    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 :)

  • Nicki

    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.

  • petra

    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

    • Kathrin

      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.

  • Jolie

    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 .

  • sunnyD

    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?

  • Boardelia

    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.

  • Pripps Blå

    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.

    • thyra10

      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 :-D

      Ah yes, where would we be without beer?

  • Arevik

    Such a big thanks!! Now I understand him much much better :)))) I wish I could know about this earlier :P

  • wesley larsgjerd, ( christiania copenhagen.)

    det skitt å bli gammel. samba.

  • bettysix ( christiania copenhagen.)

    hahaha

  • Cathrine

    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?

  • Stina

    How funny.
    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.

  • Max

    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.
    Max

    • thyra10

      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!

  • Friðrik Jónsson

    “In the other two scandinavian languages” for getting about Iceland, Finland, Farao Islands? Sweden, Norway and Denmark arent the only scandinavian country’s.

    • thyra10

      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 )

      • Hronn

        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

      • thyra10

        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.

      • avve

        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”

      • l0k

        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.

    • Melkorka

      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” ;)

  • Bjørn Hyldkrog

    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!

    • thyra10

      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 ;-)

      • Bjørn Hyldkrog

        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. ;-)

  • Max

    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.
    Max

  • Max

    - My computer turned off the instant I sent the first comment.
    Please consider the second comment superfluous :-)

    Max

  • Ricardo

    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.

    • thyra10

      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 ;-)

    • BB

      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!

      • TaBom

        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.

      • BB

        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 ;)

      • Ame

        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).

      • Bb

        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!

        Good luck!
        X

    • Juju

      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.

    • L

      That’s why southern European men are commonly refered to as “sleasy” in Scandinavia. We simply don’t se a fake ritual as true love.

    • anadallin

      Now, now, didn’t you notice the universal key to Scandinavians. Give them a bit to drink and the shell disappears. Then they dare to get to know you and you’re in.

      Warning – add only a bit alcohol to scandinavians. It is not without reason, several bars in Spains states – “Dogs and Swedes not allowed.”. Alas their inablity to differentiate between the Scandinavians fell a bit harshly on our neighbours.

      Warning 2 – Never call a Norwegian for Dane or Swede, or the other ways around ;-)

  • Maria Martinez Gimenez

    I ve just have this sent with the following message: see anything familiar?

  • Marianne Kamikaze

    Found this hilarious! Norwegian living in UK here. Shared it on Facebook, and now it has been shared 10 times already! :)

    • thyra10

      Haha, thank you! This has really gone viral. It was meant as a little thing for my foreign friends and these last two days 250,000 people have read it. I can`t stop smiling even if I am a bit embarrassed too because I certainly could have tightened up the language in that post. Ah well.

  • Må jeg høre fra Jer singler, som IKKE trives ved single-tilværelsen? - Side 551

    […] er her en date-guide og lidt indsigt i det lokale jagtmarked!! So You Want to Date a Scandinavian? | Thyra10 "The best way to a man's heart is between the 4th and 5th rib" – Richard B. Riddick […]

  • Medkid

    This article has good points – but they are way overdone – take all the points and reduce the absoluteness of the way they are written by about 50% – and you’ll end up close to my dating experience in Denmark

  • Matt Czekaj

    You have a hand created to writing ! Topics I know, bot shown in really simply and enjoyable way :)

  • Shane KP O'Neill

    I married a beautiful Scandinavian woman, and it was…. painful…

  • hezaa

    Wow, this sounds like… Being people! Just plain being out there in the world bein’ a person and doing people things. No unnecessary judgement of how you choose to live, no matter how you choose to livw.

    I’m not remotely Scandinavian (well, i’m a quarter Danish – does it work in such small doses?) And i live in upstate New York, but this describes perfectly how i tend to live and to form relationships. Just… Be with people, and then you’ll find someone you especially like being with, and be with that person more until you’re Together. It rocks. I’ve been with my boyfriend (we DO need a better word than , Husband or Partner) for three years, and we live together. No thought to marriage, though it would mean better tax rates. Too complicated. Why not just live? It helps that we don’t want kids (which process is also a NIGHTMARE here in the US).

    It scares me when I think how many people in the IS would judge me harshly for how i live, simply not being married and living together… God forbid i were gay or had children outside wedlock. There are actually people who would think i was a slut, or will and should burn in hell, just for cohabiting. Central NY is quite rural and there are plenty such people up here, and there are whole counties amd states full of deeply dogmatic people – you have to sort of insulate yourself in certain social groups if you want to live the Scandinavian way (the godless Socialist way, of course). Can you believe how people waste their time and their own precious life away, making their opinions known about other people’s choices? Our politics, you can clearly see, are based ENTIRELY around just that. America has some crippling issues. I wish my boyfriend-partner-samboer and i could live in Scandinavia , not in a starry-eyed way but in an earnest, pragmatic way. But i bet y’all don’t want or need American transplants and i wouldn’t blame you.

    • finn

      Helsinki welcomes you two with open arms.:)

      • Hanna

        Does it? I’m gay, and don’t have the right to adopt in Finland OR to be recognised legally as cohabiting (different KELA rules apply – my cohabiting non-Finnish parter isn’t recognised as my partner the way an opposite-sex partner would be in Finnish law, so we have to get married in a country that has equal marriage to move to Finland…straight couples don’t).

    • thyra10

      People should stay out of other peoples’ business, in my opinion.

      And you`re welcome here any day :-D

  • Claudia Coons

    Thank you! This was so spot on and just too funny! I’m an American married to a Norwegian (shocking as we’re both under 30), we currently live in Norway. This was so, so true and it’s difficult to try to explain it to someone not from here. I come in contact with a lot of expats and when asked about meeting people I always draw a blank.

    • thyra10

      I`m glad you liked it!

      I wrote this whole blog post because I had so many questions from friends from other countries about how they could find Scandinavian people for dates and relationships. It was hard to explain to each and every person so I ended up writing this. All in good fun, of course, but there`s always a grain of truth in every joke :-D

  • Clumsy With Words

    Even though I agree on most of your comments, I think that times are changing.
    It is my fourth year of living in Sweden and I have noticed that more and more guys are actually “brave” enough to start the talk out of nowhere while sober. Not to mention that they actually ask for some sort of contact and/or offer to meet again – which I guess counts as a date.
    Again, from personal experience, Scandinavians have a trend of “testing” their friendships by sleeping with their friends of opposite sex. Furthermore, what I found annoying, was the fact that in a small group of around 8-10 friends most of them have slept with each other and just continued to stay close after it didn’t work out as a relationship or in case one of them met someone outside of the circle.
    Other than this I believe you described the whole “circle of non-dating” quite well.
    There might be a bright future for the people of Scandinavia that does not involve alcohol for social interactions :)

    • thyra10

      It`s good to know that times are changing. And why not? I suppose we can`t stay in our Scandinavian bubble forever ;-)

      Oh yes, we Scandinavians might just live to see a sober day :-D

    • Odin

      I hope you are wrong there. Personally i hope things do not change. Life is easy as a social extovert from Canada/Norway upp here in the cold. All the men commenting here should see the potential. Scandinavia is a great place for picking up women seeing as most men here are introverts. ;) Great read by the way :).

      • thyra10

        Thank you :-D

        And it’s a good thing to see the potential. Not only is it a good place to pick up women – it’s a good place to be picked up by women.

  • Ade

    This was an interesting article, and most certainly a fun read :)

    I am a Romanian and while I cannot speak for all Romanians, some of your “dating rituals” are a bit strange to me, simply because I have a different view of how “hooking up” should “work” (just to be safe and try to avoid any haters, I am not mocking the courtship dance when using words between “”).

    I’ll try and go at it point for point:
    * not flirting with strangers – depends :) I for one have no problem in flirting with strangers on forums, or in any other internet related environment. I met my former boyfriend on an anime chat, chatted a bit, went to dinner (not in the same day tho :) ), and had a 5 year relationship. But I cannot, for the life of me, flirt in bars or any other public place with strangers. Just, no. Especially bars or clubs.

    * in Romania, it is considered custom for the guy to pay. Same with opening doors. No idea why though. I feel going 50-50 is fair to both parties, or each pay for what he/she ordered. If you want to treat the other person, then go right ahead. Yes, as a a girl it is comfortable to have everything paid by the guy, but I don’t see any reason for this behavior.

    * taking the initiative. When i really like a guy, I get extremely shy. I almost NEVER take the initiative. I can have the hots for you, and you’ll never know. But I know girls here that have no problem going to a guy, and make the first step. However, I think we were raised with the belief that the guy should approach the woman and court her, and shower presents and whatever. And I think this is mostly because the Romanians are more conservative, and the “old ways” are deeply rooted in the way we are raised.

    * driving to/from dates. I think it’s a matter of status in Romania: if you want to impress a girl, you bring your car to the date :) While this is not a general view, based on my own observation of “modern day courtship rituals”, I feel it represents a good portion of today’s dating ritual and beliefs.

    * being “exclusive”. You said it is implied once you start exchanging bodily fluids on a regular basis. I ask you: what is considered “regular basis”? :) It’s open to debate, as each person has his/her own view of what “regular” means :)

    * friends outside of the couple are IMPORTANT!!! Social life doesn’t end after you found your current-hopefully-forever prince charming :)

    * sex before commitment. You said in a comment that sex is important and you should see if you are compatible with the other person before going for the couple. While I can see the logic in what you are saying, I cannot agree with it. From what I read in your article, I understood that it’s a somewhat normal occurrence to have one night stands. And I can’t understand that. I see sex as a way to show your appreciation and love to for your partner. Some are fine with it, I am not. I have tried having one night stands. Felt like sh*t after, because it went against my beliefs. I think that before you get naked with someone, there should already be something between you. It’s always best with feelings involved

    These are my 2 cents so far :)

    • thyra10

      I don’t think Scandinavian women in general want to be impressed by cars or other things men can buy. We want to be impressed by the guy – who he is and what he stands for.

      Exchanging bodily fluids on a regular basis. Hmmm, I would say that if you have sex more than once and it’s not clearly indicated that this is “casual” – for instance that you’re “friends with benefits”, then you’re “exclusive”.

      Everyone has to follow his or her beliefs. I know plenty of Scandinavians who want to wait for the only true one before they have sex but I do think sex outside of marriage/relationships is fairly common here.

      I agree with you that there should be something between you before you have sex but that something might very well be sexual attraction and I’m fine with that :-)

      (And I really shouldn’t mention that my first time was with a Rumanian guy because that would definitely be TMI).

    • anadallin

      Opening doors for a Norwegian woman is a big NO NO!
      At best you will be given a furious speech of how she is quite capable to do this herself and that you are condescending for even thinking of opening the door, alternatively she will give you a faceslap before she walks furiously away.

      I tried once buying a cup of coffee to a date. She became totally flustered and stressed and insisted on buying the next one. It was like she believed she would be in debt to me for a cup of coffee, imagine a dinner.

      • thyra10

        I would probably be flustered too if someone bought me a cup of coffee. I would, at least, make sure I was buying the next one – just as your date did ;-)

  • jennygunnars

    Really nice article! Speaking from Iceland here this is very accurate. It may seem difficult to outsiders, but I think it works quite well for us. Here, when you start “dating” someone, you simply say that you’re “meeting”. Maybe that will turn into something more or maybe you just end up as friends. I myself can’t visualise meeting a stranger and deciding to go out to dinner, how weird! I’ve heard that this often confuses tourists here, girls that are conserned about their looks on a night out since they’re not getting any attention from guys or guys that are surprised that their approaches are usually ignored.

    • thyra10

      It does seem to work quite well for us, doesn`t it?

      I feel sorry for foreigners who want to be romantically involved with one of us because we tend to follow a completely different guide book but it seems, judging from the replies to this post, that it does work out for quite a few non-Scandinavians as well :-D

  • Lusine

    Great article and really most of it I have personally expereinced :) I still havent figured out one issue though and i would ber glad if you/someone else can explain that to me: when is the exact point when a Norwegian will actually start considering u a friend? example: i know a guy, we went to a wedding together ( basically hanging out for 2 weeks during and after the wedding), are neighbours, go to the same gym, he is super-friendly and flirting with me at the parties( of course when he is drunk)… but still i am not classified as a friend.

    • thyra10

      Oh, I have no idea. I can tell you that I spent over a year here in Norway before I got my own friends (as opposed to my husband`s friends – and you really want to have friends of your own). I met a lot of people since I`m fairly outgoing but true friendships seem to develop slowly. The good thing is that when they`ve developed, they last.
      Are you sure he doesn`t consider you a friend already? It sure sounds as if you might be friends?
      Good luck! :-D

  • Viktoria

    Just sent this to my Minnesotan “kjæreste”, and I’m sure he’ll find it as hilarious as I did. This is brilliant and accurate. I Salute you for insightful writing. From a relatively young, Norwegian girl.

  • luca

    While I don’t agree with of us Scandinavian being shy and bad at taking the first step, it is a perfect picture of what a non-Scandinavian would see it. I think there is a lot social rules about how it’s done, but everything is very subtle.
    I could easily hug and have intense eye contact with a good friend, but in certain social settings (which can be hard to decipher if not used to it) this would also be a sign that I’m interested in a girl, and then I would probably just wait for a sign of mutual attraction from the girl.
    I think a lot of Scandinavian people can remember meeting some foreigner they thought were arrogant, brutish or old-fashioned and sexist because of their behaviour which are often a more direct way of doing things.
    I don’t think we are unromantic, cold people who are afraid of loving, but we have a social “dating” codecs that is very low-key. I think a good dating advice to foreigners is to humble yourself, and take the time needed to catch a Scandinavian and to never think you succeeded before you’re living together. Sex doesn’t need love in Scandinavia :)

    – A happy Danish guy with a lovely sambo

    • thyra10

      I agree with you. I don`t see us as unromantic or cold either. But I think we can seem a bit strange to foreigners who can`t see all our subtle rules.

      Give a hug to your lovely sambo! :-)

  • Henrik

    *lol* so bloody true.

    I am Danish but I’ve been living abroad therefore I see things same way you do. Most of the relationships I know of have started with a one night stand (drunk off course) and a lot of visits to the cinema afterwards.

    Dating is completely awkward and often you only go out for a coffee or a beer (never spontaneously) and in a place where you’ll never meet anybody you know.

    Off course it doesn’t fit on everybody. But your article is a great help to a non-Scandinavian who desperately wants to date someone in our part of the world.

    I was wondering about all the religion talk people brought in? In Denmark we hardly ever bring up our religion and find it rather strange if people do. Not a good ice breaker if you want to get closer to a Dane.

    Anyway I love what you wrote and your sense of humour.

    Big hugs from Frederiksberg.

    • thyra10

      I have no idea where the religion bits came from. I`m like you, religion is not a topic I discuss with people. If they believe in a god, good for them. It`s frankly none of my business :-)
      Ah, thank you for those kind words. Maybe you`ll run into my cousin. She lives in Frederiksberg as well :-D

  • Lusine

    Great article and really most of it I have personally expereinced I still havent figured out one issue though and i would ber glad if you/someone else can explain that to me: when is the exact point when a Norwegian will actually start considering u a friend? example: i know a guy, we went to a wedding together ( basically hanging out for 2 weeks during and after the wedding), are neighbours, go to the same gym, he is super-friendly and flirting with me at the parties( of course when he is drunk)… but still i am not classified as a friend.

    • thyra10

      Oh, I have no idea. I can tell you that I spent over a year here in Norway before I got my own friends (as opposed to my husband`s friends – and you really want to have friends of your own). I met a lot of people since I`m fairly outgoing but true friendships seem to develop slowly. The good thing is that when they`ve developed, they last.

      Are you sure he doesn`t consider you a friend already? It sure sounds as if you might be friends?

      Good luck! :-D

      • Lusine

        i have taken the initiative for many times, to have coffee or something, but he didnt accept. in one occasion he also said that he is not interested in friendship. well, i guess that’s another case then :) thanks for the reply :)

  • Pauline

    Wow, never read so much bullshit before. Born and raised in Sweden and i can tell this only stands for the person who wrote it and maybe a bunch that feel the same way. Good thing we are all not the same in scandinavia.

    • Erica

      Hmm me and my Swedish friend are both born and raised in Sweden (more than 10 generations) and we both agree that this artical is well reflected upon Scandinavian dating, Well the alcohol part is not so true but the rest is

  • Dan

    That’s a very fun guide. 3 corrections…

    1. ‘Boinking’ – you may have meant ‘Bonking’

    2. You have used the wrong apostrophe. The correct one is either ‘ or ’, for example- [They’re].

    3. When quoting something, generally you should use single apostrophe. For example- [Which means ‘together-liver’]. There are differences with this rule depending on style guide, but if you choose single, enclosed quotes are then double, and vice versa.

  • dimis

    Well

    Interesting view / guide of how a Scandinavian interpreters the Scandinavian social life which in a way leads to various partnerships

    I live in DK and really appreciate your courage to be honest and be independent from norms/cliches etc

    It is indeed healthy to date only once at a time and give the space and time(which differs the most with other cultures I guess) due to the fact of high rank of individualism and low context culure(see dimensions of hosftede)

    But just to come in my thoughts sometimes I think you kinda wanna live the american dream (into danish unwritten rules) and there is a clash at least for me. No norms as (I guess what you are trying to point out my dear writter) equals various difficulties for us being foreigners in Scandinavia.

    I am very aware that you deeply love and respect friendships here up North but honestly we do not have to start drinking beers(more tha 4,6) just to make a conversation incl the weather. I find Danes very polite and shy but at the same time very double standard living( if it works this way is fine, if not there is the easy way).Yes from a point and on I guess besides your family and 2,3 close friends your social interests are narrowed and the most important is that it is hard to accept other standands(such as this way is not the right way and implying that to your every day life)-And in the end is sad cos Danes have traveled more than the average European and is ‘bad habit’ not checking something else than U.S coming (No offence to my U.S friends-I got a few and I adore them)

    In conclusion I find my living in CPH very luxurious compared other places in the global,beautiful and smart people but when it comes to culture is insignificant and partnerships work better among Scandinavians. The rest is just an interesting mix (waking up and seeing a blonde girl next to you-who might not give you her tel number :) )

    Scandinavian women rock and that´s why we love to hate them:)

    Love from Greece

    • thyra10

      You know, I used to live and work in Athens, Greece when I was younger. I loved it there, had great friends and a very sweet boyfriend. I loved the easy going life style and I was lucky to have a boyfriend who interpreted things for me – not just linguistically but also all the social rules I didn`t understand. Because I was an elephant in a china shop, I can tell you that. I probably insulted everyone at least twenty times with my Scandinavian ways.

      So I can relate to what you`re going through now. But hey – at least I had a great Greek boyfriend and you occasionally wake up next to a blonde girl. Life isn`t too bad after all, right?

      • Annita

        What did you ‘hate’ (even if i don’t like to use this word) most in Greece, Italy, Spain or France?

      • thyra10

        I can’t say that I hated anything apart from the fact that it wasn’t my home and that I always knew I had to go back one day (I’ve never lived in France or Spain – only been there on vacation. I have lived in Greece and Italy). In both Greece and Italy I had great friends who helped me understand the cultural differences and who made me a part of their world so I wouldn’t be bothered by the guys who went after blond tourists (I’m 180cm tall and have long blond hair so I’m not easily hidden). Because those guys would probably have been what I would have hated if I hadn`t been so well received in other groups.

        I have very fond memories of Greece in particular. My stay there will always be a very fond memory. :-D

  • Dan

    This site changed my straight apostrophe above to curly… so here goes again:

    That’s a very fun guide. 3 corrections…

    1. ‘Boinking’ – you may have meant ‘Bonking’

    2. You have used the wrong apostrophe. The correct one is either straight apostrophe or ’, for example- [They’re].

    3. When quoting something, generally you should use single apostrophe. For example- [Which means ‘together-liver’]. There are differences with this rule depending on style guide, but if you choose single, enclosed quotes are then double, and vice versa.

    • thyra10

      There is definitely something weird with the apostrophes here.

      1, No, I do mean Boinking. Which, as I`ve been explained by American friends, is supposed to be slang for having sex ;-)

      2, I know. But something weird happens here on WordPress and I’m currently trying to relearn my fingers to hit a different key. It’s haaaaard when they’ve been hitting the same key the last ten years :-(

      3, I know. I just tend to forget :-/

  • kittyindk

    Reblogged this on Kitty in Denmark and commented:
    Petit conseil de lecture concernant nos chers geants blonds. J’ai trouve cet article tres bien ecrit, et tellement vrai!

  • sylver

    So, you don’t follow the same rules unless drunk, but you fail to mention that drunk is the default state. :D

  • Martine

    WOW! how funny!
    I am 18 from Norway and this is spot on!
    Many of us goes to a party and gets each others Facebook or snapchat. If it is a good interest it will be contact.
    Had som much fun that I hade to share it with my friends (Y) Thumbs up!

  • Reykjavík foodie

    Great article! And holds true in Iceland as well, even though you won’t put us in the “Scandinavia” category! ;)

    • thyra10

      Nope. I`m keeping you as a Nordic country ;-)

      (I love Iceland, though. Amazingly beautiful and home of the sagas – for a lover of the Viking age Iceland holds a central place in my heart!)

  • izzaelly

    This is just how it is in New Zealand too. As we say, we don’t have a dating culture; we have a drinking and rooting culture (rooting=sex).

    • thyra10

      They do say that New Zealand is Norway upside down (well, and divided into islands and kicked off Sweden and with the occasional earth quake) – or maybe Norway is NZ upside down?

      I have to make it to your country one day. If for nothing else (and there are plenty of good reasons) then for the opportunity to use the word “rooting” and people will know what I mean. :-D

  • Ursula

    Just wondering regarding -”kjæreste” (in Norwegian, but it`s similar in the other two Scandinavian languages”- if that word really is used in Swedish? Being Swedish I’m aware of ‘pojkvän/flickvän’ but nobody normally says min ‘käraste’.

  • Jan C.

    I’m a 2nd generation American, 50% Norwegian “blood” as they say. And, while it’s dangerous to generalize, I find this article curiously accurate for me on many points! What fun to identify and justify myself.

  • finn in denmark

    Finland here and I have to say we are mos def a part of Scandinavia! I don’t know what they teach to you guys in elementary but at least we associate ourselves as Scandinavians :)
    I do agree to some extent with your article but you’re being pretty absolute about those ‘facts’. Maybe its a country side vs city thing also? I’m from Helsinki, in my mid-twenties and we definitely do date. Go out. Hang. Whatever you like to call it. This doesn’t really happen that much with random strangers, you’re right there, but I have invited several interesting ladies out for a walk after a fun night of partying in the same gang of friends and gotten a few invitations myself.
    Whoa, sounded a bit judgemental. It was a good text!
    Terveisiä kaikille teille rakkaille <3

    • thyra10

      Sorry, you`re not. But you are a part of the Nordic countries and we still love you :-D
      Here is Wikipedia btw: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scandinavia

      Oh yes, I`m being absolute. It`s fun to be absolute. Saying “in some cases” or “to some people” isn`t as funny as “this is the one and only truth about all Scandinavians ever born”. Well, at least I think so ;-)

      Thank you! I`m glad you liked it.

  • Eric

    I am Brazilian living in Scandinavia (first Sweden, then Norway). This couldn’t be more true! At first it was quite shocking to understand that my girlfriend (and I) could go out with friends so freely. After all, I come from a place where jealousy is not even tolerated, but seen as an evidence of interest.

    Also, in Brazil there are well-defined degrees of commitments that you have to someone. But only when you reach the equivalent to “dating” is that really implies that you’re exclusive with the person. Before that it’s not technically considering cheating. So, I’ve already been called a cheater (and angry names) because of that, though in my culture it was not cheating.

    Booze is definitely the oil in the social machinery. It’s unbelievable how Scandinavians turn into someone completely different once drunk. Also, there’s no bound for drinking. Rarely you see someone realizing about the turning point from “tipsy/funny” to “annoying/sentimental/quarrelsome”.

    • thyra10

      Jealousy as evidence of interest? Oh, that has my skin crawling in a weird way ;-)

      I hope you’re enjoying yourself here in spite of the differences? And in spite of being called angry names? That sounds just terrible!

  • ReefChic7

    Wow! I can’t believe how this has blown up! You’re internet famous, doll! <3

  • vasediaz

    Confusing for Southamerican men that are supposed to be in charge :)

  • Annita

    Thanx God it’s not the whole world Scandinavia. My world it too pink for that. So keep it for Scandinavian people phrases like ‘ You are so beautiful , would you like to fuck tonight?’ And let us ‘foreigner people’ to dream alone about dates and romantic dinners with somebody who understands that woman is not just two legs that you have to open Friday and Saturday night.

    • thyra10

      Actually I`m not sure the phrase “You`re beautiful” would work very well ;-) . But there`s no shame in having sex, is there?

      • Annita

        Have you ever thought that life could be easier if you just had small talks and flirt everywhere? When you express yourself daily you don’t need alcohol to say what you are thinking during the weekend.
        Scandinavians guys are the most beautiful guys i have met in my life and the biggest disappointment ever. I am sorry for my negative attitude. I really tried to find people to understand and accept my spontaneous nature but every time i ended up the fool foreigner who doesn’t respect the unwritten rules of an unsocial life. :(

        P.S: English is not my native language so be tolerant of my mistakes. :)

      • Annita

        *Scandinavian*

    • Erica

      No women are not just for sex as you put it but they do crave sex too and that is okay.

    • thyra10

      English isn’t my native language either so I hope this is a language tolerant place ;-)

      I can certainly see how it can be hard to get to know Scandinavian men and women romantically. But I do think it`s hard for us Scandinavians abroad too – then we’re the fool foreigners who don’t understand the unwritten rules.

      I must admit that I prefer the Scandinavian way but that’s probably because I know those unwritten rules and get nervous when someone tries to flirt with me.

      I wish I had advice to offer you but I think all the people who’ve commented to this post, saying they are married to or living with Scandinavians would, would do a much better job at it than I would. How did they overcome the differences?

      • Annita

        Maybe there aren’t any differences because they both are coming from Scandinavia. I grew up in a different culture and i guess in my own dreaming world so some things are really hard for me to understand.

        Why are you getting nervous to flirt in a bus on Monday evening and you are not getting shameful to wake up by the side of a woman that you dont even remenber her name? (Not you, i am talking in general)

        Recently i gave up on the idea of having friends or boyfriend from Norway or Sweden or any other Nordic country. It’s less harm for me. I would love to live in a world without borders but as i realized in Norway these borders rule our life and our inner self!

      • thyra10

        No, there are plenty of people commenting here who aren`t Scandinavian but who met the love of their life here.

        I have no idea why we`re nervous about flirting on the bus – I just know that I would never do it. And I would probably find it annoying if someone did it to me. Almost a violation of my privacy. And I remember the name of anyone I wake up next to (which are only my husband and my kids these days :-D ).

        I`m sorry you had bad experiences here. I wish you all the best in the future!

  • Wenke

    This is so funny and it completely describes how I met my swedish husband (and yes we got married) and all my relationships with swedish friends. I moved to Sweden after our wedding and it was not strange at all that we lived apart the years before. My parents-in-law have three kids, are together for about 30 years and never thought about getting married.

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  • pinselchen

    ha ha, yes that describes pretty good how I met my älskling.
    I saw him, I wanted him, I invited him into my bed but he wanted to get into my heart and here we are, 2 years later crazy in love.
    you have great men up here in the north :D

  • Daniel

    Swedish girls cheat quite a lot, don’t deceive people.

  • Tine

    Interesting read – although I don’t agree with all of it (I’m a Danish woman). And I know that I am a grammar nazi, but I don’t judge, I just want to help you perfect your writing: There is a difference between the ” ´ ” and the ” ‘ “. The first is an accent (without a letter underneath it), the latter is an apostrophe, which is what you want when writing “I’m”, “it’s” and so on. ;)

    • thyra10

      I know :-(. A lot of people have brought this to my attention these past couple of days. I’ve been writing like this for years without anyone noticing and now I’m frantically trying to relearn how to write apostrophes and that is haaaard. Old dog – new tricks and all that.

  • Jegsi

    You made an accurate description our ‘dating life’ here in Finland, which is by no means coincidence. At least here at the coastline, vikings are our ancestors. It must be in our blood. :) And sure, we were the eastern Sweden for ages. The sea was the old highway. That explain, why re had even the second largest city of the old Sweden, i.e. Turku.

    • thyra10

      The sea was indeed the old highway and it’s interesting to see how dialects and languages are alike across water but how two valleys next to one another will have quite different dialects. :-D

  • Jemina

    Thank you for this great article :).

    Finland is not part of Scandinavia, but we have the same non-dating culture here. And of course we have same thing with marriages. The words we use are avioliitto (marriage) and avoliitto (open marriage). It’s very much normal to live together and have children without getting married.

    • thyra10

      Thank you for teaching me a bit Finnish. I’ll use it tonight as I’m invited to dinner at a friend’s house and he’s in an avoliitto – being that he’s from Finland :-)

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  • dany

    Well I am dating a swedish boy right now! his culture is very very different of mine (latinamerican culture) but yeah maybe it is a little stressing at the begining… I really thought that he was not interested at all in me when we start going out with friends, hopefully my brazilian friends help him to ask me for a date =) I do not regret to wait for him, he is so a cutie !

    • thyra10

      Or maybe you should just ask him for dates? :-D

      Good luck with your cutie!

      • dany

        LOL yes, that´s what I mean with differences between us… where I come from girls gives indirects and boys ask us for a date. But when we met each other I had no idea about all his rules, and he has no idea about my rules.
        And that was the first prove… personal contact, open the door, let me get into a place before him, buy me flowers, pay the restaurant check at the begining … and all ridiculous and meanless things for him. I respect those ideas but sometimes they turn more complicated than that … what if he never ask me for beeing his girlfriend… how can we celebrate our anniversary ? (anyway I took a random date to celebrate it).

        I mean I understand your answer “I can invite him” but there is so much more behind “me asking him for a date” in order of culture. It is not easy but for sure the value most important between us (after love) is respect. I don´t ask him to change , He doesn´t ask me to change. (at least not that much)

        by the way I loved your analysis, thank you that explain a lot of things =)

    • thyra10

      Cultural differences are hard – especially when you’re unaware of them. You have expectations that he doesn’t know about and the same goes for him.

      I never thought of the anniversary thing and I can see how that might be a problem. I asked a friend of mine who lives with her boyfriend of 20 years and has two kids with him if they ever celebrated anniversaries (since they have no dates to celebrate) and she said: “Sure. Whenever we feel like it.” I kind of liked that reply :-)

  • David McMillan

    I should certainly hope that sausage like appendixes (appendices?) Determine who pays, unless it’s some sort of policy to make people who’ve had their appendix out feel better after the surgery…I no longer have a sausage like appendix, just a scar where the doctor took it from me…I do have a vaguely sausage shaped appendage though, I wish I knew it was my appendix that determined the who pays problem though, I’ve been paying for meals all these years!

    • thyra10

      Hehe, good point. I truly think people with appendixes should pay for all the meals. I mean, people who’ve had their appendixes removed have been through surgery and that’s pretty scary. I’m not sure if appendixes are sausage like but hey, I’m no doctor ;-)

      (and I changed that bit in the text :-D )

    • Patrik

      Priceless comment, I laughed for a full five minutes :D

  • Thinh

    There’s a difference between ‘ and `.

    I’m, not I`m.
    Don’t, not don`t.
    That’s, not that`s.
    We’re…. you get the point

    • thyra10

      I know but I only realized I was messing up on this two days ago and I’m trying to teach my fingers to do it differently.

      Also (I need to blame something) I think WordPress messes things up a bit too….

  • Vix

    Where’s Finland? We are Scandinavian people too! \(^.^)/

    • Erica

      No you are not. Scandinavia has two accepted definitions; the “historic” and the “geographical”.

      The first includes Sweden, Noray, Denmark and the Swedish talking parts of Finland. The Geographic is just Norway and Sweden as the Scandinavian peninsular.

      • Joanna

        Actually, Denmark isn’t on geographical. Norway, Sweden and Northern Finland is. Historic/Cultural Scandinavia includes Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
        Term Scandinavian Countries are mostly used to refer all Nordic countries but the most strict definition is Denmark, Norway and Sweden due to their cultural heritage.

        But anyway, Finnish people are quite similar to other Nordic people. The article fits mostly also to Finns and I assume (not sure) also to Icelandic.

      • Kail

        Finland is a finno-ugric country, as is Estonia where I am from, and I assue you it is the same in both of these countries, too :)

      • Erik

        What happened to Iceland, its also a part of scandinavia!!

      • thyra10

        No, sorry. Iceland is a part of the Nordic countries – not Scandinavia ;-)

      • avve

        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”

      • markus.bergstedt@hotmail.com

        Historical. Hmmm… Woulden’t that mean that Finland is part of Sweden? Thats what’s it’s been the most of the last 2000 years.

      • Joel Kalsi

        There are two definitions, the tighter one which is favored by the Swedes who don’t like Finns (and vice versa, thanks to historical heritage) but the broader includes all five Nordic countries which is my view of Scandinavian countries. Icelandic heritage of course is more closer to SE/NO/DK in cultural and lingual heritage than to FI, but especially FI and SE have heritage derived back and forth from each others. Russia gladly didn’t have that much effect on the Finnish culture, which might have something to do with at least a millennia long rampaging of Finnish villages by the Novgorodians.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scandinavia

    • katrilukka

      Finland belongs to the Nordic countries, not Skandinavia. And perhaps this can also be seen in the cultural differences. As a Finn I do not relate to many of the points in this article. We have a word for date “treffit”. I for one was asked out by men, went for dinner with strangers, many times drove there, could talk and be talked to and even flirt without being drunk, etc. And now I’m engaged and waiting for my wedding day! So my advice is, if you want to date a lady who looks like a Scandinavian, but will date like everyone else, date a Finn! :D

      • Jools

        I’m a Finn and relate to every single point in the article, both personally and in the context of my own social group. I am aware that some people in Finland and in other Nordic countries have adopted the foreign dating culture you described. It doesn’t make it a social norm, nor does it undermine the point this article was making about the northern mindset. So, if you want to date a lady who looks scandinavian without actually being scandinavian, do date a Finnish lady, but don’t expect to find the few who act out ameican movies in their social life.

    • V

      We’re Fennoscandian. As a Finn I can relate to most of this article in fact.

    • avve

      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”

  • Alex Carrera

    THIS EXPLAINS SO MUCH. Takk!

  • John

    Great article, very true in all :)

    On a side note, this is Scandinavia: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Scandinavia.svg

    • John

      Sorry for double post but I had to fill in that Finland is NOT part of Europe, we might be in the EU but we’re not geographically part of Europe.

      • Matti

        For John, Europe in most geographical descriptions goes as far as the Ural mountains in Russia, so Finland is certainly part of Europe. On one issue we’re distant to most europeans, that’s our language, which is not an Indo-European Language. Finnish, like other Finno-Ugrian (and maybe it’s part of Altaic languages) originates somewhere on the far side of Europe, Volga River and the Ural mountains where the Komi, Mari and other people speaking languages related to Finnish exist

      • Jools

        John, what do you reckon Finland is a part of? Asia? That’s the oddest thing I’ve heard a supposedly Finnish person over the kindergarten age claim. We may not be a part of Scandinavia, but we certainly are a part of Europe, both politically and geographically.

      • Vilen

        Sorry but this is bullshit. Finland is a part of geographical europe as well, the eastern border of “europe” is as far as i know the Ural mountains in russia.

  • bobban

    it’s a good read… but i have one BIG problem with the article. Scandinavia is not a country and Scandinavian is not a languish (is it even a word in it self?)
    Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland are similar in many ways.. but they are still different country’s that speak different languishes and have different cultures with different laws… so that you keep talking about Scandinavia like its Sweden is not only confusing to non-swedes. its wary rude to our fellow neighbors.

    • Lise

      Actually, where I lived in the US more people knew about and thought more about Scandinavia than about the separate countries that make up Scandinavia. Most people I encountered consistently referred to me as “Scandinavian”, for instance, even if I told them that I was from Norway. I think that our cultures and languages and history is similar enough that most people not intimately familiar with the different countries have problems separating them. :)

      Also, as a testimony to how similar our cultures are, I read the text as being about Norwegians, not Swedes – because I’m from Norway, and recognised myself in it. :p

    • thyra10

      Of course, Scandinavia is not a country. We`re three countries (sorry, Finland is not part of Scandinavia even if a lot of Finns seem to think so :-D ).
      Yes, we have different languages, but really … are they that different? We understand each other pretty well. I would claim that our culture is pretty similar too. And our laws.
      I definitely don`t talk about Scandinavia as being just Sweden. I`m Danish myself and I live in Norway. I would be stoned alive (well, at least given the evil eye) if I made a claim like that.

  • Frida

    Why does most finnish people still think that they are a part of Scandinavia? :D

    • M.

      Because we are usually carefully included in news stories and such about Scandinavia, when it makes the statistics look nicer etc… Maybe the rest of the world whould make up their mind whether or not they consider us a part of Scandinavia.

      But for real, we mostly consider that we should perhaps be included in the definition (or that the definition in some places could be replaced by Nordic Countries) when the content, like here, applies equally to Finland as well. It’s not out of any ardent wish to be “a part” of something we aren’t. It’s for practicality. Because we like practicality ’round here. And alcohol.

    • enna

      Good question, I think because people confuse “Nordic countries” (which includes Finland) with Scandinavia (which Finland is not a part of), and forget that Scandinavia is mostly a geographic definition of an area rather than a cultural one.

    • Erik

      Because of the very similar culture, and due to the fact that there is a minority of Finnish Swedes in Finland, and they manage to make themselves heard, and don’t forget that Finland was a part of Sweden for a very long time. So, there you have it

    • Reko

      Because when taught about “the nordic countries” in Finnish school, Finland is depicted as a part of the gang with the scandinavian countries. While it is explicitly taught that Scandinavia, Fennoscandia and “Pohjoismaat” (Nordic countries) are different concepts, many Finnish people might not remember or care enough to make the difference clear. It is such a chore anyway.

      In more detail, in Finnish usage, Pohjoismaat consists of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. However, in English the Nordic Countries consists of some other countries as well. Thus and also, in a slobby English the meaning of Scandinavia and Nordic countries can become pretty much synonymous by misinformed (or downright careless) accident.

    • Jonathan

      I think that’s because many English speaking people (and even Scandinavians) use the terms “Scandinavia” and the “Nordic countries” interchangably, which is.. well, wrong.
      Finland most cetrainly is our Nordic brother/sister, but it is not a part of Scandinavia.

    • Jaime Fong

      I´m from Panama, in Central America, and in school we learn that “Escandinavia” are Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland… but reading your comments I guess that was wrong….

      • thyra10

        What about Iceland? Did you learn that Iceland was a part of ‘Escandinavia’ too? I’m curious :-)

        And I celebrated Christmas in 2012 in your lovely country and have great memories. Thank you :-D

  • Timothy Bender

    I was lucky enough to marry a lovely Swedish woman of Finnish decent. Our initial meetings seemed to be “dateish”, most likely because I am American and old habits die hard (paying for drinks and meals etc). However you call it or describe it though, we that have cracked the “Scandinavian code” reap the rewards.

  • JP

    I married a Scandinavian woman from Denmark. She must be the exception to the rule. She is old fashioned, loving, warm and compassionate and does most of the domestic work. We also live in the U.S.A. together which makes a big difference since she has had to adapt to the way we do things over here. But having lived in Denmark for 4 or 5 years, I can say that much of what was written above is true. That is why we musicians always warned each other not to marry a Danish girl because the relationship usually ends up badly. Divorce rates are rampant in Denmark. Yet somehow, I too never heeded the advice. It is true that gender equality amongst Danes is highest in the world. But along with that equality comes equal selfishness and an overall lack of compassion towards their significant other. Males have become effeminate and more often than not are the ones ending up getting cheated on by their promiscuous girlfriends. It’s a great place to live if you are single musician. Having lived and worked as an entertainer in many countries throughout the world, I can comfortably say that Scandinavian girls are the most promiscuous of all the countries I have ever worked in. If you look at a map of the world based on the average age that people lose their virginity, Scandinavia is the youngest averaging at 15 years old. In Denmark, it is legal to have sex by the age of 15 and you are also allowed to have sex with animals (as long as you don’t hurt them). It is not uncommon for a 20 year old Danish girl to have already slept with between 20-30 men. But if you are attracted to head strong independent women, Denmark is the best place to pick one up. A little secret…….Chances are, if you come from a country where men play the dominant role, the Danish women will be attracted to that as they are sick and tired of their weak passive males and subconsciously crave to be with a strong man who knows when not to put up with selfishness and self centered thinking. She will respect a man that does that. The old adage that “Nice guys finish last” is especially true in Denmark. However, the Danish women are also used to being spoiled my adoring men and treated with respect so they come to expect ALL men to be this way and they will dump you as easily as ordering a pizza if they feel you are mistreating them. In the end, they just want a man who is strong enough to pass their subconscious tests for weakness. Many Danish men fail this test so they get dumped or cheated on or both. This probably explains why young Danish women love to spend their holidays in patriarchal countries like Greece and Turkey where the men are more “manly”. Good luck guys!

    • thyra10

      I must disagree with a lot of what you say though I’m sure we’re less embarrassed about our sex life – or that we sleep around – than people are in a lot of other countries.

      I definitely wouldn’t consider Scandinavian men less ‘manly’ (whatever that is) than men from other countries but – painted with a big brush – they are more considerate and they don’t put their own needs first to the same degree as many men do. I like that because if both men and women do this then that’s a great basis for a long lasting relationship.

      But we come in all shapes and sizes and one person prefers what another person despises.

    • Jools

      And this is why I wouldn’t date anyone from the US. The double standards have messed up their idea od masculinity, and it makes them slut shamers. A Scandinavian (or Nordic) man is less confused and embarrassed about female sexuality. And let me tell you, they’re all man. Not in your weird american definition, but in a less complex-riddled, down to earth way.

    • Simon

      You sound like a real pig! Typical American, strong men, dominant role bla bla bla… I am Proud to live in a equal country

  • F.

    This is cute, funny and waaay to true.

  • Anders

    I think you are fairly wrong actually. It’s true many Norwegians are reserved, and I take it this is exaggerated to make it more fun to read. But most Norwegians do know how to date, and having worked on cafés and restaurants for a little while, I should know.

    Maybe you’re just too reserved yourself? Or maybe you are too comfortable in your high saddle that no one would dare to try and bring you down. You silly little blog writer, writing silly little things about Norway from your metropolitan throne of enlightened vision.

    I’m only messing with you, Thyra. We all approve of the folklore that Norwegians are living in the darkness, and coming out in the light means turning into stone, like the mystical trolls we are. How are things working out abroad for you? Best to get away from this creepy little land, huh?

    And who the hell cares about the Finnish anyways?

  • katrilukka

    Finland belongs to the Nordic countries, not Skandinavia. And perhaps this can also be seen in the cultural differences. As a Finn I do not relate to many of the points in this article. We have a word for date “treffit”. I for one was asked out by men, went for dinner with strangers, many times drove there, could talk and be talked to and even flirt without being drunk, etc. And now I’m engaged and waiting for my wedding day! So my advice is, if you want to date a lady who looks like a Scandinavian, but will date like everyone else, date a Finn! :D

  • John

    Scandinavia is a historical and cultural-linguistic region in Northern Europe characterized by a common ethno-cultural Germanic heritage and related languages, which includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Modern Norway and Sweden proper and also northern parts of Finland are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula, whereas modern Denmark is situated on the Danish islands and Jutland.

    Danmark is not Scandinavia, Finland is.

    • Victor

      …… no…… Culturaly Scandinava is made up of Sweden, Norway and Danmark where we speak the Scandinavian languages. Scandinavia has in English-speaking countries been adapted to include Finland instead of using the more proper term “The Nordic Countries”. Really I am not going to debate this fact, I have lived in Scandinavia all my life and i bloody well know whats included. Though I will say that Finland har many cultural simularities and perhaps should be included but generally no one in sweden would include Finland when asked about the Scandinavian countries. Primarily because our languages are too different. And I don’t Think anyone would ever exclude Danmark except when talking about the Scandinavian peninsula and even then only the northern parts of Finland are included. Sorry to rain on your parade bro :)

      http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/scandinavia

    • Nikolai

      History lesson, which I am not sure is the explination: In the time when the scandinavian people were vikings we had a combinded Norway and Denmark, which then discovered Greenland and Faroe islands. The kingsdom struggled with Sweden because it was a different society. The first Danish Queen “Margrete d. første” combined the three countries Denmark, Norway and Sweden under one country. This is the Scandinavia I think off when people say. This includes all the countries in that kingdom (Denmark, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Norway and Sweden).

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  • Alken

    I am an Albanian who has lived in the US for the last 17 years.

    Parts of this article resonate with me too.

    People in small, homogenous countries are usually in the position to be friends of friends, if not all cousins of some sort, and so no dating is necessary. You can run but you can’t hide.

    When I first moved to the US I was puzzled by the rules of the ritual. What I learned is that Dating was adopted as a way to measure compatibility between people that are strangers in a strange land. And that ultimately there are no rules.
    One has to respect local custom as a way of showing that you are sensible and reasonable but given that all here come from everywhere, your common sense on what’s agreeable and what’s next in courting is entirely based on your intuition.

    • thyra10

      This was a very interesting comment! And it makes total sense. We don`t need to date when we’re already each other’a cousin but in countries where no one knows one another, you need to meet people on dates.

      Thank you for giving me something to thing about! :-D

  • nwood

    Vennligst bruk riktig apostrof! Blir sprø av å se ` i stedet for ‘. Du finner den bak æ-en på vanlig tastatur. For øvrig en kjempebra artikkel!

  • jesper

    interesting blog and fun to read, But why is it so hard to understand that the Scandinavian countries comprise Sweden, Norway and Denmark_ And there are reasons for that geography including political and culture.

    Why the area is referred to as the Nordic countries when adding Iceland and Finland is a bit harder for me, at least to understand, My guess is geopolitical reasons with Sweden controlling Finland or large part of it for a very long time and Iceland being part of Denmark until declaring its independence during the 2nd world ware while Denmark was occupied by Germany and the US controlled Iceland.

    But the description of dating in Scandinavia. or at least Denmark is grossly stereotyping. Yes, i do recognize aspects but the fact you can still meet, surprise surprise Danish women who appreciate someone who will open the door, help her with the heavy winter coat and pick up the bill.

    I think the blog says as much about the blogger that it does about dating in Scandinavia

  • Reinuke

    Ohh you should have put down also that for us Kids are like little minions who have to serve us even when we’re 80 years old (by that time if kids are busy working or smth then grandkids will do just as good).

  • Nadjesda

    My date with a Danish man- First time he came to my table in a club.I didn’t expected anything by him,that is why i wondered, he didn’t give up writing me and inviting me for a date (for a dinner) ( we live 1200 kms away from each other in Europe.) At the first time i said him good bye with a kiss. But on the date i got a very strange short hug by him and he was walking 5 meters away from me,without any body or eye contact. Then after drinking a little alcohol he got a bit more extrovert, and the date finished perfectly. And he seemed to be romantical too. As i mentioned,we don’t live in the same countries,but he was writing me every day so much. And he tells rarely lovely things to me. He is not a compliment master,but what he tells is true, comes from his heart and i dont have any doubt in . So i falled in love with him. But despite the time,we spent together, he can’t tell me the same. He invited me for a whole trip,so he payed absolutely everything. I think, that he got more close to me,when i become his friend too. So maybe he is different,then the others there. Now maybe i’m pregnant by him. And he doesn’t want to see me/us anymore. So i can blow up the romantic. But we live at the age of Peter Pan-effect.

  • Rolf

    Lot of cliches here. Norwegians date a lot. Heard of online dating? Its usually a coffee date, drink or even dinner. (After chatting a while) . Then you have blind dates. Dates with collegues or via a friend. Happens a lot. Guys should offer to pay. We dont drive , thats true.

    • anadallin

      I don’t know if you noticed, but you just said that you need to get to know the person first before going on a date (After chatting a while).

      Blind dates are often set up by People you know and trust. So back the known, With a twist.

      Coffee, drink or dinner are classical time Limited chemistry test Methods, which makes it easy to back out gracefully.

      Dates With colleagues and friends. Again – People you have known for a while.

  • anna

    I could relate to this article:) we icelanders do have a word for date = stefnumót but i personally have never been on one before sex:). Sex first and then well see:) can you imagine the dissapointment when you find out the guy/girl youve been dating for some time, and you have developed some feelings towards, turn out to be a bad kisser or worse horrible in bed!! (small p****) No, sex comes first it makes more sence:)

  • Daniel

    The problem is that swedish people is more unhappy than rest of the world. 5.7. Test of the world 5.8.

  • glyphstone

    I’m a half-Swedish/half Galic-Anglo mutt 2-1/2 generation American on my father’s Swedish side. It’s interesting to note to what a degree these stereotypical tendencies of reserve apply to me, my siblings and to some of my children who didn’t get the hot-headed Gaelic genes. So much of who we are is “baked in”. However I can’t help but feel a little sad if it’s true that my Scandinavian cousins have to resort to alcohol so universally to break through their social shell. Sounds like some collective work may need doing. Not to get too heavy, I look forward to visiting my cousins some time and expect to experience a sense of automatic kinship.

  • cesoria

    Reblogged this on around the globe in 730 days… and commented:
    Interesting take on the scandinavian way of relationship.. :)

  • Sina

    Thanks for the post! Very helpful for me because I am going to live there for One year :)
    But one thing i didnt understand.
    If you never meet with “strangers” how you can find your “mr. or mrs right”
    For example if there is a boy in University i like i can’t get to know him? Can you say that scandinavians only get togetherliver if they were friends before? But even if you want to become friends you Need to met before and get to know each other?

    • anadallin

      If you’re in School together, then you see eachother daily. Good enough ;-)
      And if you attend a social gathering (often School related) a drink or two later and Barriers are gone.

  • Sarah

    The majority of comments are about the whole “Is it Nordic or Scandinavian” thing :l I want to read more about Scandinavian men please girls share your stories and experiences :D

  • UlisseP

    Is there a tiny group of islands called Scandinavia deep south around Oceania? Because you can’t possibly be referring to the european Scandinavia. We don’t date? What a load of bull. How do you think people end up together: arranged marriages like in India? That you’ve managed to cram so many clichés and half-baked lies in one piece is worth applauding, but the truth remains that you need to keep your day job, cause an investigative journalist you’ll never be.

    People here date all the damn time — and so what if we use the english word for it? We borrow english words all the time. It doesn’t change the fact that we’re not different from the rest of the Western countries when it comes to relationships.

    By the way, how is it that when people in Scandinavia go out, have a few drinks and talk to somebody, it’s because they’re drunk, but when people do the same in Italy, or America, or or wherever, it’s because they are spontaneous and jovial?

    On a side note, if you want to know which one of your friends are married and which ones only live together, here’s a shocking newsflash: check our the ring finger on their left hand. Bam! Problem solved.

    • anadallin

      Ouch – someone’s taking this serious. First of all, a huge lot of what is written is correct, but exaggerated to make a point.

      We are a bit more distant and introverted than many of our friends further South. This makes making real contact slightly more awkward.

      There is a saying “Norwegians don’t drink, they get drunk.” and alas from my observations as a non-drinker, this is true. Give, in particular, Norwegians Access to cheap alcohol, and they don’t stop before they’re drunk, nine times out of ten.

      Ring on the finger means almost nothing, it is merely an indication that the person MAY be married.

      • UlisseP

        Ouch – someone feels the need to defend a fellow blogger. A huge lot is correct but exaggerated? That’s called hyperbole and is a rhetorical trick that people usually employ to cover up a lack of foundation.

        I particularly enjoyed the way she managed to say that scandinavian men normally don’t talk to women, but those few who do “are rarely the ones you want to meet”. In other words… damned if you do, damned if you don’t. There’s no pleasing her, is there?

        So no, “a huge lot” is not correct: this is a poor collection of bull, and it’s a pity that som many foreigners here seem to think that this is the way thing really are in Scandinavia.

      • thyra10

        There is pleasing for those of us who want to be left alone :-D . This was meant as a warning to women who expect men to carry the heavy burden of taking that first step. Here in Scandinavia women are just as likely to do it as men are – and that’s a good thing IMO.

  • juan

    i am latinamerican and lived in DK for 8 years, dated a few scandinavians and the only part where i agree with this article is the part where you do everything drunk which is kinda sad cause you look so beautiful but so cold and boring when you are sober.
    I was asked several times to go on dates so i dont think you are totally right about the whole thing…
    good luck with all that happiness spilling out of your bodies!!

    • anadallin

      … which is the reason why it is a bad idea for a Scandinavian to marry a Latina.
      The cultures are opposites. While we have high regards for the latinamerican exotic beauty, I still have not met a couple that lasted much more than a decade. That is unless, the Scandinavian moved and learned the language (Spanish, portuguese etc.).
      Stuck in the North, things appear as you say. And we become who we surround ourselves with.

      I have had the same problem, because I have Scandinavian upbringing, but I don’t drink (for some reason it tastes like sh.. to me and I don’t like the feeling of being intoxicated). Which as you may have guessed is a real handicap when trying to meet new People ;-)

      • Liv Suaqui

        Then I must be the lucky one latinoamerican? I dont think so, I have met many latin women married with norwegian men with even 32 years marriage. My samboer can be norwegian, but he is smiling, talks alot, and just love latinoamerican culture. So I think its all about personality, family brackground, etc, etc. I am really happy, you can ask him, if it is a bad idea to have a latina woman as samboer. ;)

  • Madeline Madison

    AMERICAN HERE!!! Lol.
    Let me explain… at least this is what I do. Other people are different from me but I would say that probably half of girls in American would agree with me.
    Ok! Well, first off I want to say that I have NEVER went on a “date” with a stranger… I think it is soo awkward and creepy when a complete stranger comes up to me and uses some cheesy pick up line. I have NEVER thought it was cool and I have NEVER said yes. It’s just too weird for me plus like you said I DONT EVEN KNOW THEM! What if they are a murder LMFAO…. on a serious note what if I don’t like them? I really don’t want to put myself in the position where I am going to be stuck with someone who is strange… However many girls in America do go on date with strangers… I don’t… I won’t even give my number to a strange boy who comes up to me with some pick up line. 9 times out of 10 they are jerks who ask ten girls a day for their number and are dating 20 girls at the same time… NOT INTERESTED lol.
    Ok, I want to explain this now…
    I honestly have never really been on a date either… every boyfriend I have ever had did not come along by going on date. Usually I would end up liking one of the guys in my social group or someone I spent time with at school ext. Then we would start hanging out on our own and eventually he would ask me to be his girlfriend. Then yes we might go to the movies or somewhere like that but I wouldn’t really consider that a date. I would just consider that going out with my boyfriend… Also, if sex happened before we were officially boyfriend girlfriend then it happened. I don’t have any rules about how long I have to be with someone before I would have sex with them. I don’t think you can control stuff like that and plus you need to try out the goods before you buy them right? Which is why I think people who wait until they get married to have sex are CRAZY! What if you marry someone with a 1 inch wiener lol! UNHAPPY WIFE, UNHAPPY LIFE! lol.
    Ok now, the whole guys paying for stuff…
    Well, I mean… it’s kind of like a test I guess?
    If the guy does not pay that means he is either a cheap ass, broke, or just plain rude. It is just part of being a nice gentleman, in no way do I think he thinks I’m helpless. It’s just something they do to impress a girl… which honestly they usually only do at the beginning. Well… from my experience… mostly though because I start to actually care about them and want to help out with the bill. Then like you said we figure out who is more able to pay, who paid last time, ext!
    Btw in America people use the word dating and going out to describe a boyfriend girlfriend relationship… It doesn’t always mean GOING OUT ON A DATE…
    Btw, Going by things you see in MOVIES, is crazy lol. Most movies are just sooo not reality… don’t even pay attention and think that’s how it is lmfao. IT’S NOT! It’s like saying the reality show Jersey Shore is how all of the state of New Jersey is… or well, I’m from Las Vegas and every reality show I have seen that was here in Vegas has been crazy. That is not at ALL how I live my life… or any of my friends. Or shit even Laguna Beach is set in California and that’s not how all of California is…. Movies are just MOVIES, not reality. REality TV isn’t even reality…
    LOL.
    I can’t really explain everything, however because every situation is different everyone’s dating methods are different! Things happen how they happen differently for everyone! People also have different standards for what is acceptable and what is not. As I stated I would never go on a date with a complete stranger… however I’m sure plenty of women in America would. That’s just my opinion and my story!
    Here in American some people date strangers, some don’t.
    Some people have one night stands, some done.
    Some girls get married, some don’t… actually I take that back. Pretty much all girls get married here. Not sure if there are a lot of religious people there but there are here, marriage is religious ceremony. I’m not in any way saying that all people who get married are doing it for religious reasons but a lot are. Plus here in America it is many little girls dream to meet her prince charming and have a big princess wedding…
    I wasn’t one of those girls… However I would like to get married some day… it just isn’t are import to me as it is to some girls. Some girls are obsess with it, and have been planning there weddings since they were literally children. Not sure what triggers this… I havveee nooooo ideaaa… Daddy issues? idk! lol Not to mention the government gives a lot of benefits to married couples. They get a lot of tax breaks and getting married is important for health care reasons. Our government doesn’t give us free heath care… actually I think Obama did some stupid health care act but it isn’t a good health care plan… I mean I really don’t know much about it but I’m sure it isn’t very good… probably close to not even having one. When you are married though you can be on your partners plan that they get from there job. If you aren’t married to them YOU CAN NOT BE ON THERE PLAN! Some people get married LITERALLY only for the benefits from the country.
    Back to where I was…
    Some girls date many guys are once, some don’t…
    (The word Dating is used in different ways. It can mean that two people are together like girlfriend boyfriend. Or it can mean that they are not official yet and they are just going on dates. It just depends how you say it… A woman can be going on dates with several different men and not be dating any of them…. Going on dates is usually just to see if a guy is right for you or not. Once she really starts to like a guy she should stop going on dates with all the other men and focus on the one guy. Key word there SHOULD, there are the sleezy women and jack ass men who are cheaters. They are in relationships with several woman at once, pretending they are only with ONE. They always get caught though and usually get slapped lol.)
    Some women in America expect the man to pay and some don’t…
    Some women go on dates… some don’t
    Some women only end up in relationships by going dates girls….. some rather it naturally happen, like me… I think it’s better not to force things… some girls are soooo obsessed with finding “the one” that they are going to marry…Then they end up settling for any stranger that asks them to dinner…then end up settling even more so and marrying them… just to soon be divorced. I think if you just go with the flow, live life, and the right person will find YOU. That’s me though, everyone is different as I said. I hope I helped explain a little bit what it is like here in America? I know TONS of girls here in America, my friends, who share the same views as me on relationships. So don’t be thinking “well that must just be you, you must be some kinda of freak cause that’s not what I saw in the American movies” lol! I can assure you many other girls in America feel the same way I do! I am; 24 years old, Caucasian/white (Irish, and Scottish), blonde hair, blue eyes, 110lbs, 5 foot 4 inches tall!, and if I do say so myself the coolest girl in the world. LolOlOl Kidding jkjk…. kinda of ;) :) :P ! just so you know who this is coming from… and that it’s not coming from some old hairy 50 year old man who has never even touched a boob. LMAO! Ok, now i’m just getting delusional from writing so much! Have a grrrrr reat day! Send me replies if you have any comments, questions, or disagree with anything I said! I’m open to whatever you have to say, I swear I won’t cry! jk:P <3

  • Jorma-Päivikki

    Haha! I thought this was only what the Scandinavians think of us Finns, especially with the drinking and all (I’m not saying it’s not true, though). Good to know it’s just projection ;)

  • Miriam

    I loved this article! I’m Norwegian, living in Australia. My Norwegian friend sent this to me, and suddenly I met people down here who had also read it. I think you’re spot on (of course, there’s always people that will disagree with some details). I think dating/relationships are pretty hard for a lot of Norwegians, it certainly is for me, haha.

    And though I know many will disagree with this, I find Norwegian women to be WAY more initative-driven than guys. I also think Norwegian women are so god damn pretty it’s really competetive to get some of the guys. The Norwegian dudes have no clue how lucky they are, the women are in general not only striking, they’re independent, down to earth and really cool. At least my friends are! :) I would just urge both guys and girls to take more initative, especially sober.

  • Sandra

    Me and my “samboer” met at party as typical scandinavians, have been together for 8 years. We travel alot to the US, I usually just call him my husband there because people find it so strange that we have been together all this years and – No marriage ! I am not interested in marriage at all, for me marriage is just a good reason to throw a great party ! Can do that without getting married.

  • Mojo

    it’s missing some countries btw…finland and iceland, you know.

  • elke H.

    liebchen! (fraulein hamburg)

  • E.T White

    PERRRRFEKT :-) i feel like “adding to the top” (as a “heads up!”) :
    -Make NOTE of “Fact Nr.9″ !! And accept that it’s a “culture thing! Accept it! Or, don’t even go there..?!” ;-)

  • Swedish male

    Wow, that’s a lot of bullshit on one page.

  • Victor

    I fucking loved this, it is always interesting to read how alike my folks are to me. Thank you person for writing this!!

  • Benjis

    I love the fact that Denmark has a beer in the hand.. pretty much sums us up xD

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  • Ell

    I briefly dated a guy from Sweden while he was in Canada and this is SO accurate. Hahahaha amazing.

  • Mo

    Reblogged this on mOOn life and commented:
    Good read. Would be great if every culture had a similar “How to date” manual for foreigners and sometimes even for locals who struggle to understand the culture around them :-)

  • Sang N.

    lol, interesting article. And nice pic of the tuborg, great beer!

  • john.h

    searching scandinavian girl in the bunadh . ( john.h , iowa.)

  • mbg

    Well, this is cute to read, but I actually dated a scandinavian, then lived together and recently we got married and are expecting our first kid! (imagine, married before kids!) I am Spanish btw. And yes, being with a scandinavian is great.

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  • Mia Sandstrøm

    So spot on for me too! I’m only 21, but at my age this fits for most people I know. You need the extra push by alcohol often. I met my guy at a concert though, and slept in his bed just as a friend a couple of times. (We became close friends, hadn’t even kissed or done anything sexual). A party came up and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to make a move. I was drinking for my first time (only being 16), we made out, I got really drunk and puked whilst he held my hair. (how romantic, right?) Well, after seeing each other for some time I finally asked him. “So, are we kjærester now?”, and he said “Uh, I guess so, we can say that and see how it goes”. Been together for almost 6 years now :) Funny how little we gave to eachother, turned out he was really into me to and was so happy that I asked him to that party.

    Your post made me laugh too :D loved it! Only thing missing is perhaps how cuddly we are, and that we love to snuggle up :-3 Both me and my guy have slept with friends in beds (opposite genders), but often we’re 3 persons sleeping together after a night on the town or something (NO SEX etc). After being together for so long we’re really upfront with eachother, and found out that its best if we let the person know in advance/ask them if they’re ok with it.

    again thank you!

  • Steven Højlund

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    The survey takes only 4 minutes and there is a promo-code in the end of the survey too!!

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  • e. brahmaputra.

    think scandinavian and european girls very beautiful. ( e. brahmaputra. , california )

  • Lusa

    Very nice post. I live in Norway for 10 years now and what strikes me most and it is obvious from this posts is the role that being drunk plays positively or negatively (I don’t know what to think of it) in the approaches or relationships between 2 people… and how it is valued. Being an european southerner where alcohol doesn’t have the mystic aura as in scandinavia and drunkenness is not well accepted it seems strange to me that any sort of interaction that express feelings can be based on this. No shame on having feelings, I suppose. Anyway, many of the things described here for scandinavians also don’t apply for other countries and i guess live in the movie imaginary… Also where I come from nobody goes on blind dates, they go out with friends, they can have sex with friends (though that might establish a close bond between the 2, desirable or not). We are not that slow on picking a good chance for a potential nice relationship and, most importantly, we do not spend time depicting our own characteristics about personal relationships… but I love scandinavia other wise I wouldn’t stick around for this long.

  • bob

    nice article :) all i gotta point out is that “together-liver” samboer exists in english too, cohabitant but sambo definitely sounds nicer ;)

  • tinasrabbithole

    Haha! Very well put. I’ve enountered a lot of problems having this attitude brought to me with the mother’s milk, and then moving out of Scandinavia… epic mistake! It’s pretty much impossible to change though!

  • Tomasito

    So, the steps in estabilishing a scandinavian relationship are as follows:

    0. Two strangers meet accidentally at some place (or not so “accidentally”, but at least for one of the them it seems accidental)
    1. The woman has the initiative
    2. They have sex (or just sleep together and have sex later)
    3. They go to the movies
    4. They go to the restaurant
    5. If they like each other, they become “samboers”

    Am I right ?

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  • Mike

    The worst thing is that it sounds just about right…. wow.

  • tourmama616

    As an American samboer of a Swedish man in Stockholm, I approve this post :-)

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  • Roy Bratbakken

    This is all absolutely true!
    Very well put!

  • John

    I met a Norwegian girl a year ago. She was in a relationship, a samboer as I now learn of it, with another man for seven years. We didn’t talk about it when we met. She was very flirtatious when it was drinking time, and took the initiative more than I’m used to, which I didn’t mind at all. We didn’t do anything, but she told me she would have sex with me if she was single. That comment has been stirring confused in my mind ever since, until now. I’d never met a girl who would say something like that, not a girl like her anyway. But I understand more now, after reading this. So thank you. She also told me that she didn’t know what would happen in the future. Once again, that twirled in my head for a long time, and I always thought she meant that there would be a chance with me some day. But you explained that as well, that Norwegians take it as it comes. But what about the morals? What if someone else comes along when you are already in a relationship? Are you not leaving yourself open to other opportunities, by taking it as it comes, and not focusing on the relationship at hand? I’m just a bit confused over the commitment aspect of not being sure about the future in Scandinavian relationships. If you can explain that a little bit more, my restless mind would appreciate you even more.

    • John

      Hey Thyra, if you don’t want to answer my question, that is okay. I don’t really mind. If that is the case, can you delete my comment please? Thank you.

      • thyra10

        Hi, I lost track of the comments at one point (I’m used to 20 comments – not really 500) and am working my way through them. So it’s not really a case of not wanting to but of not being able to find my way through them. I can see the newest in my editor but I can’t find the root of them in the discussion. Would you mind repeating the question as it may take me a while to have worked my way back through it all :-)

    • thyra10

      Ah, found your post :-)

      I’m not really sure what to reply as I don’t think taking each day as it comes makes you focus any less on your relationship. By being open to opportunities you might also very well confirm that you’re happy where you are. If you don’t leave the person you’re with simply because you have no opportunies to leave him then that might not mean you would never leave him but if you do see the “competition” and you acknowledge it and still don’t leave him then it would show that you’re happy with what you have.

      That doesn’t mean that you’ll never meet people you find nice and funny and attractive. People you might want to date if you were single. But you’re not single and you have history with the person you are with – a history you do not have with the new guy.

      I’m not sure about morals in this. My personal morals tell me that I’m not blind or deaf just because I’m married but I am sure my husband is the right man for me in spite of all the great men out there.

      I guess what I’m trying to say is that you should take it as a compliment that she was interested in you but that fate gave her a different man before she met you.

  • Sumantra maitra

    I am Indian, from Calcutta. My GF is Danish, from Haderslev. We met in Dunedin, NZ, have been “dating” for around a year now, and plan to settle down together someday in the near future.

    Scandinavians date too…you just need to ask the girl out. Properly. In a nice, polite, charming way.

  • Non-Scandinavian Fin ?

    “…Norwegian, but it’s similar in the other two Scandinavian languages”
    Other two?

    I was giggling while reading this, cause I do recognise my culture. And I live in Finland. Which apparently according to the writer has been detached from Scandinavia.

  • Mirka Adamicova

    Interesting article…now I have learnt to have more understanding for norwegian guys. I come from Slovakia, I never considered men from my country to be some dating pros, but after reading this and some personal experience I must say I am lucky I experienced “proper” dating :) I really have found norwegian guys very Elephant-in-the-fine-china-shop, almost impolite (yea, I like letting guy to pay on first date, holding door for me open, helping me into coat ). I like building up the tension and desire by attending dates, getting to know person better during talks over glass (one!) of wine…I have also had problem by sensing some “weakness” in guys here, I have heard so many stories where women were abusing their men and turned into complete biches, but what is more interesting for me is that the men actually let them to do it. It feels that years of brainwashing people with equality between genders had also its collateral damage…Men stopping being men :) Just short observation…Bit of the Melrose place model – if you are old enough to remeber this TV show where in house full of young people all were creating new couples in order to split up soon and move on on new partner ;p in desire to find bets match.
    Cant say much about norwegian women, only from what I heard from male friends (they definitely dont play hard to get and are wild but kinda selfish and cold in bed) , but from what I know I can judge guys..many of them have golden heart inside and with bit of guidance and tolerance they really can make perfect partners ;)

    • thyra10

      Thank you!

      I don’t think men are any more or less menn for being equal to their partner and I certainly don’t consider him weak. It really takes strength to be able to enter an equal partnership instead of just following some old rules, IMO :-)
      I must admit that I couldn’t imagine being with someone who did not consider me his equal. And I’m not sure we sleep around more than people in other countries – but I do think we may be more open about it … and less ashamed.

      I’m not sure I would go as far as to saying “perfect partners” – we all have flaws ;-)

  • Ken Tucky

    Vikings….. after centuries still basically vikings ;-)

  • Ken Tucky

    well, I see it like this. Vikings went off in ships “pillaging” and raping (casual sex) for months then returned home (if they were lucky) and had to make a “family unit” rather quickly before the next “trip”….. had to leave some roots behind to tend to things. There wasn’t much time for “courting” as in genteel societies… might not make it back after the next trip. Women became very independent seeing the men were off pillaging. So I believe this is ingrained in the character and carried on still today. Like cowboys in the wild west, out on the range alone too long ;-)

    • thyra10

      Actually one theory about who “went Viking” (as they called it) claims the pillaging came before the family unit for many men. They needed money to find a wife and build a home and all those lovely churches and monasteries had golden crosses lying about just for the taking.
      Of course, many Vikings were married men when they went Viking but it’s surprising how short some of the raids were. The ships were fast and they could manage to rob some gold in the short time between putting down the seeds and harvesting. Most Vikings were also farmers.
      Some Vikings were Vikings as a full-time “job” and explored land further away.
      Courting in the Viking age is interesting. I just read a new article about this and was surprised. Apparently you were considered out of your mind if you said no to a brave and rich man – even if you were already married. On the other hand, it was frowned upon for a woman to accept a cowardly poor man. This explains the need for gold – and for battles to prove how brave you were.
      I am not sure where the female warriors fit into this picture as very little light has been shed on that.

  • Ken Tucky

    Well my synopsis is this : considering your take on “Nordic-Scandinavian courting” and the various replies from Scandianvians, Nordics and others. There has always been a biologic and material need for survival in all “cultures”. That’s just basic humanity ;-)

    There are various differences in cultural development based upon, climate, security, access to food, shelter and clothing. The Nordic-Scandinavian model developed from these factors in the same way the “Mediterranean” model develped its particular cultures and Asia, Africa etc etc. It is not a question of good, better, best. It just is. Scandinavians and Nordics may find say “Anglo-Saxon” courting strange. Conversely others may find the Nordic-Scandinavian strange but that’s what makes us what we are. Criticism of the “Nordic-Scandianvian model” is not valid especially coming from “others” living in, immigrating to or temporarily residing in these territories. There has always been the universal rule of tacit consent ( for those who do not understand google it ). Unfortunately we are moving toward a world of “one size fits all” and that in my estimation is a pity. Just my take on the whole subject, we have a saying in America… “whatever floats your boat” :-)

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  • AGmikkelsen

    I’m a 24 year old dude from Denmark, and guys have a extremely hard time dating over here, as we don’t just ask out random strangers.

    • Andre

      how do you get in touch with the girl you like? Like, you are in public place and you see some pretty blondie girl. What should you do to get her number ( do you need number to get in touch? ) ?

      I met one norwegian girl in Amsterdam airport, I have just came and sit to her table in caffee and start with “I see that we are the only young people around, so I cannot loose my chance to speak to you”… and she was extremely happy with that and said me something like “its so strange that we do not speak to each other in Norway” :)

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  • Yazzulla

    Thanks for this post Thyra, I enjoyed it a lot! I’m a spanish girl dating (not sure which meaning :P ) a Norwegian guy for about a year now. He talked to me pretty drunk and no dates after that. I really could see him in all the points you wrote.

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  • Just a girl

    Definitely an eye-opening post!! I’m on a road right now with a Dane and lots of cultural obstacles with him. We met online but it took awhile before we met in person but now that we have we’re, or rather me, is in the “what is this and what are we doing” mindset. We used to message a lot and got to know each other that way, and there was a lot of sweet talking in the messages but now he does not do it so much anymore now. For awhile that really seemed weird, but am starting to think that it is because once the “i like you/you like me” is established, there’s no need to reinforce it with words?

    • thyra10

      Indeed – why say all the nice words when you’ve already established that you like each other? We’re tricky like that, not wasting sweet words even if we think them :-)
      You could say it to him that you miss him saying nice things to you. He’ll probably just appreciate a heads up!

  • Andre

    these looks like you dont have a family in Scandinavia. In a way, many other countries have. Like, when you visit your parents as often as possible, call them every day for a few minutes and have family gathering with granny and children. Also, looks like you are just friends more then family since you have big relations with other friends who can be as close to you as your partner. I think, in this case, there can be a high divorce level.

    • thyra10

      To a lot of people here friends are more important than family. Not that family isn’t important but very few Scandinavians would call their parents every day and we don’t have many of those family dinners or family gatherings that your hear of from other countries. We do have a lot of friend dinners and friend gatherings instead, though.
      We have a saying here: You can choose your friends, you can’t choose your family.

  • Gummitarzan

    I hope this is supposed to be satirical or funny in som way, because it’s nowhere near accurate as to how dating occurs in nordic countries (Oh, yes, dating happens)…

  • Jackie Jones

    This was an amusing post to read. I’ve dated two Danish guys for extended periods and most of what you said is very true lol. However, one of them was heavily influenced by American culture so there was some difference in how he would react to social situations, but at the core he was the one who’d generally sit back and let me take the initiative with most things, etc. I could say more but would be too much, thanks for the memories ^_^.

    • thyra10

      You’re welcome. I hope they were good memories?

      I’ve always wondered how long it takes for our culture to fade away when we move to other countries. Can we become more outgoing, can we learn how to date, can we learn to take the initiative when we’re interested in someone, if we live in another country long enough? I’m curious :-)

  • Liv Suaqui

    Hei, I definetely dated my samboer. I think it depends on your family background. He is a gentleman and in a way he enticed me. He talks more than me, and I am south american. He doesnt need to be drunk for approaching people, he is quite open, smiling and talkative. I did, thought, like so much your article, it was excellent. It makes me laugh. Its nto so far from reality.

    • thyra10

      I’m glad you liked the post – and I’m glad you found someone who does not have to be drunk to approach people :-)

      We’re all different, of course, but our culture does weigh heavily on us. Luckily some manage to break free of it.

  • Anna

    Wait, wait… So help a poor foreign girl out understanding a Nordic man…
    I’ve met a handsome Swedish guy (though he grew up in Finland) three times where he works while he’s working. Always busy with lots of people & his colleagues around. I liked him immediately but am really shy. He’s given me lots of eye contact, even really looooong eye contact with a wink, some small talk with random questions, come over just to tease me once, didn’t step away when our legs were touching. I was disappointed that he didn’t ask for my number or at least ask to get a coffee or SOMETHING. So I assumed he wasn’t interested in me but this article has me thinking maybe I just didn’t understand. I’m sure I’ll see him again soon….
    How should I handle this special Nordic hottie??

    • Joona Vainio

      Anna. If he’s a regular guy, ask him to chat over a beer or two. Like one would do among any guys who have business to attend to. Be straightforward.

      Or if too shy, if you have a business card, just hand it to him with a smile. He’ll know what to do – if anything. As a bonus, you can leave fast giggling to yourself as the guy is red from head to toe and near fainting behind you.

      If he has an engagement ring, just back off, please. Most Nordics tend to be very faithful unless their present relationship is going to hell anyway. But then they wouldn’t prolly wear the ring.

      And if the guy is a cheat, you wouldn’t want him anyway.

    • thyra10

      Ah, you can never assume that a Scandinavian guy isn’t interested just because he doesn’t take initiative. We have no rules saying the guy has to take the first step so maybe he’s waiting for you to do so?

      To me it sounds like he’s interested. I would say that we avoid physical contact (legs touching) if possible – unless we are interested.

      So you might just have to ask him out or at least do something to make your interest in him clear. He may just as insecure as you are :-)

      • Anna

        Thanks Thyra and Joona! I’ll try my ‘shyest’ best to take some initiative beyond returning the endearing long eye contact 😊
        next time I see him. Though I’m a complete disaster in this field…. Ask him for a coffee (is it khavi?)… And that would take up every bit of courage!!
        But at least I’ll be thinking of what you both said… Better than letting him slip away! That’s for sure😉

    • thyra10

      Good luck Anna and let us all know how your “kaffe” (coffee) goes :-D

  • Joona Vainio

    I bet many have said this before (I ain’t up to reading over 500 posts now), but I don’t think it was cool to rule us out although Finland geographically speaking is not Scandinavia, but Fennoscandia. And politically and culturally Nordic.

    Meh, whatever. Just replace every “drunk” with “shitfaced”, and it suits us fine.

    • thyra10

      Hehe, you could probably say “shitfaced” about Danes, Swedes and Norwegians too.

      I am not keeping Finland out of this because I don’t like Finland. I just don’t know enough about Finland to do you guys justice. I’ve lived in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, but never in Finland. I just don’t want to assume too much about our great neighbor to the east. So no insult intended – just acknowledging my lack of knowledge ;-)

      • Joona Vainio

        None taken, Thyra. I was merely joking in the mood of the original bloggin’. And trying to state that this applies to Finns, too.

        If there is any difference, it is that the jocular stereotype described maybe just applies to Finns even more to the extreme.

        Ie. the Finnish stereotype guy needs even more booze to overcome his shyness. And they say Finns have a much bigger “personal space” radius in general. ESPECIALLY if both parties are interested, but afraid to do anything “indecent”.

        I have had lots of steady partners and been as wild as anyone is when younger. But fallen in love perhaps just one time in my life. Unfortunately, that didn’t end so good, but it was fun while it lasted (bout 5 years married).

        We were workmates. Kinda. Not physically in the same office, but I was the guy who writes game reviews and articles, and she was the editorial secretary who is responsible of keeping us guys in line and not to miss the deadline TOO much.

        So we discussed mostly via mail or chat, and things led to another. We had made a promise to each other that we will be “just friends”, and if anything else ensues, we will call it quits that instant.

        But, well. In one of those usual corruption parties where game publishers want to get you drunk to get favourable reviews (we were untouchable, but free booze is always welcome) we were discussing this situation over a drink as it had clearly got out of hand.

        Speaking of hands, our hands accidentally touched. We had accidentally breached the last line of defence by physical contact. It was like a huge electric shock.

        Several drinks later we were causing both amusement and embarassment by sticking to each other like two pythons and smooching. Not very, er, businesslike conduct even when everyone was more or less plastered.

        We married a few months later after she had got rid of her abusive religious fanatic husband.

    • thyra10

      Good :-)

      Haha, I must admit that what you’re saying probably corresponds to my (loving) prejudice of the Finns.

      I loved the story about you and your ex even though it both started (with the abusive religious fanatic husband) and ended badly. But you have to love the five years you had, right?

      And the situation you describe – deciding to be friends only and then clinging to each other like two pythons after a couple of beers – been there, done that, forgot to buy the T-shirt (because that would mean that I learned and one never does). But the electrical shock from the first physical contact from someone you’ve secretly wanted for some time, is indescribable and probably the main reason why one comes back for more…

      • Joona Vainio

        Well, all things considered, it ended well. If I don’t think selfish. After all in the end game I “saved” a very worthy (but not infallible) woman AND her three preschool daughters from a destructive cult – JWs or “dubs” as one says in English.

        And our “voltage” was so high it didn’t take a couple of beers. Those were the first drinks when any alcohol hardly has even entered your circulation.

        Why it went bad, I dunno. Certainly it was not religion (I am secular and have always been). As almost instantly she turned secular when given the chance. If someone could tell it to a 10 years younger me, I would give all that I own. Which is not very much besides the clothes I am wearing and this computer.

        And my freedom…

        Dunno if this blog takes links and it is impolite to smear someone’s blog with links, but Mal’s Song is exactly how I feel. Easily found from YT by that name. Extended version of the original Joss Whedon Firefly theme song by Michelle Dockery.

        Take my love, take my land,
        take me where I cannot stand.
        I don’t care, I’m still free,
        they can’t take the sky from me.

        I dunno… I may have got too old and cynical at this 44 of mine and bit and burned just a few times too much. But I am NOT gonna feel self-pity. As in the song, I’m still free ;)

    • thyra10

      Ah, I love that outlook on life. Even if things end badly, you still have the memories. And your freedom, as you say.

      Self-pity is selfdestructive so I’m glad you don’t have that. To stick with the quotes: “It’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all” :-)

  • Joona Vainio

    Every cloud has a silver lining. Or as we say, gold. Jokaisella pilvellä on kultareunus.

    One must just be sharp to see it, ‘cos at some times it is very hard to see. Thanks for your both amusing and uplifting blog… Maybe I should go out more and date another Nordic (aaaaarrggghhh!).

    • thyra10

      And we say “intet er så galt at det ikke er godt for noe” :-)

      I’m an optimist by choice, not by nature. Not completely braindead optimist but an optimist with a bit of natural skepticism. It’s a good thing to be able to see the positive side of thing – you need that sometimes.

      Haha, go find yourself another Nordic and your life will be full of joy and fun (and alcohol).

  • Joona Vainio

    Ahum… Thanks for the good wishes, but preferably as little alcohol as possible. That is prolly one of the primary reasons all went to hell. Or is it an effect, or the cause? And event with no meaning?

    From Turisas’ The Varangian Way, first song: To Holmgård and Beyond. Long live Nordic co-operation. Easily found from YT, too. But no links to another’s blog as netiquette requires.

    And we are forced to learn Swedish in school, so I do understand most Scandinavian languages fair enough, although I am not gonna make a fool of myself trying to write let alone speak them.

    All I need to know in Stockholm is: “En stor stark, tack.”

    • thyra10

      Alcohol is probably both effect and cause for at lot of things. We can joke about alcohol and how vital it is for our social life but that’s kind of sad too.

      As long as you don’t spam my blog with weird links to performance enhancers and date sites, you’re welcome to add links.

      Finnish-Swedish is probably the cutest Swedish there is. More Finns should speak Swedish for the cute-factor alone. I’m in a Nordic network and am thoroughly disappointed whenever one of the Finnish partners asks if we can speak English. Not because I mind speaking English but I reallyreally want to hear him/her speak Swedish. It’s a thrill up there with listening to Icelandic – and I have a thing for Icelandic (and even Icelanders speaking other languages).

      Were you motivated to brush up on your Swedish now? ;-)

  • Joona Vainio

    Ha ha. No, I won’t spam. Unless you consider being excited to find new friends and incessant babbling as spamming.

    You know, as smalltalk allergic and taciturn as Finns are to an “outsider”, with friends and especially over social media there is no end to our babbling. Prolly that’s why we “invented” cellulars. Oh the countless number of text messages that have both started, upheld, and ended relationships. It’s so easy to hide behind the screen or an SMS.

    Here I am, you know, telling personal things like nothing to people I have never even seen. And even with my own name. If I did it IRL (and sober) not only others but myself would consider myself as completely insane.

    I am, by the Finnish stereotype standard sorta extrovert. Which means IRL I need just one beer to get going. There is this self-ironic joke about two Finnish mates in a pub.

    Other (a bit worried about his friend sulking) asks: “how’s the wife?”
    “Grunt.”
    “Er, how’s the kids, then?”
    “Grunt.”
    “How’s things at the office, then?”
    Then the other guy shows at last some emotion.
    “LISTEN YOU MOTHERFRAKKER! DID WE GET HERE TO TALK OR TO DRINK!?”

    And if you insist, I can talk some Swedish to you, but not in public, and you wouldn’t get my “cute accent” through the net even then. Bit of a flirt, aren’t you? Look up “Finland” in the Hetalia archives if you want cute.

    http://hetalia.kitawiki.net/index.php?title=Finland

    Don’t take it personally if Finns generally prefer English. Most have horrible accents, but many could fool a Brit. Including me, as I happen to be a translator as well. They still generally know English a lot better than Swedish, unless born into the 7% or so of Finnish-Swedish families.

    And some refuse to speak Swedish out of national pride – as do Finnish-Swedish who know Finnish damn well refuse to speak Finnish. But those are extreme cases and nothing personal. Basically it is just the more comfortable feeling of speaking a “neutral” language so neither has the upper hand or face to lose with an ungainly accent.

    If you’re not a formula 1 fan (few fellow Nordics are for some reason ;), and don’t know how Finnish drivers behave in a press conference, this recent clip of the Jimmy Kimmel show about wraps it up. Except their accents are horrible.

    As for the Nordic co-operation I mentioned, if you didn’t bother to look it up, here’s an awesome fan vid of the song aforementioned:

    I always listen to that when feeling hopeless and need some BATTLE METAL to get me going.

    • thyra10

      Social media are truly a savior for introvert Scandinavians. We can actually talk (bitch, complain or troll, as it seems so many end up doing). It’s a new world where we can be eloquent and personal without uttering a single word. No beer needed.

      I’m considered very extrovert here but having lived outside Scandinavia I know this is by Scandinavian standards only. I’m shy and introvert by the standards of most other countries I’ve lived in/stayed in for longer periods of time.

      I had to laugh. It’s probably the first time I’ve been called a flirt. Ever. But if it motivates even one Finn to speak more Swedish then my work is done ;-)

      I have to watch the YTs later as I’m at a (boring) conference and I suspect the key speaker would objekt to me watching it while he’s talking :-)

    • thyra10

      Haha, I had to laugh at the two Finnish guys. They could have been from anywhere in the Nordic countries, of course. Why speak full sentences if you can say what you want with just one word? :-)

  • Joona Vainio

    Whoops SORRRY! The classic error! I forgot to copypaste the NEW link.

    Happens all the time. I’m afraid, Dave. My mind is going…

    • thyra10

      I usually like my heavy music a bit heavier, but I’ll take anything that includes Vikings. Especially when there’s also oar-running. That’s one of the coolest challenges they had!

  • Joona Vainio

    Oh… The album is a “theme” album that tells a story of Varangians going to Constantinople. It has plenty of heavier stuff along the road.

    Oar-running is of course fun, but really the lyrics tell Turo (a Finnish one among them) had eaten too much and was puking over the railing.

  • Xiánwén Chén

    I like the way you abstracts how Scandinavians “hook” up. And I really wish that I’d read it before I moved to Norway in 2009. But it’s never too late to learn.

  • Joona Vainio

    Chén, ?hat do you mean “abstaract? A word or gestrure is bidnigg. Always. Even an unspoken word.

    One of those things that go without saying. You hitch up with someone, it is self-evident you don’t cheat or there is hell to pay.

  • Morgana

    Hello there :)

    I have (or had) a Norwegian friend with whom I had a falling out in December 2013. After a short period of silence, I sent him a Christmas greeting that he responded. Then I sent him one text and two emails after the holidays, but he has not replied. The problem is that I miss him terribly, even though he is the one who messed up. Am I doomed to sit and wait eternally for a phone call I may never get or should I light a match under him to get him going again? I’m afraid he thinks I’m still angry about what happened, but I’m really not. I just miss him too much and wish he would take the first step.

    • thyra10

      I wouldn’t wait forever for him to take the first step. If you want something from him, you should let him know. There may be a lot of reasons for why he never got back to you – and you’ll only know if you call him :-)

  • Nev

    On second thought I’m not sure it sounds too appealing haha

  • desis

    Help please!
    Hi there,
    I need some advice regarding Swedish non-dating.
    Here it goes:
    I have come to Sweden on a short term work contract with absolutely no objective to meet or date.
    But, on my first date at work there is this really gorgeous Swedish starting work there as well.
    He managed , in the first day, to make lit if eye contact, to ask me if I am married and to offer me help with Swedish language….and 3days after to invite me , sort of, to a lunch date.
    Now, for me all this is a clear signal that he likes me, which, IMO is strange…..I am from Southern Europe, slightly overweight,although with nice face, I have a kid,which he knows, and I am older, which he doesn’t know.
    I need to say that I quite fancy him but I also like him as a friend.
    So the question is, are his actions sign that he is interested, and can I ask him out for a drink?

    • thyra10

      I don’t think being slightly overweight, having a child or being older than him should be a problem. If he seems to like you – and more importantly, if you like him – you should certainly ask him out for a drink. The worst thing that could happen is that he says no.
      You could also ask him for something easier – like some help into the Swedish society. Could he show you the best local ….. (fill in the blanks), could you cook him some of your local food if he cooks you some Swedish food, could he teach you some Swedish, could he explain to you why this and that in Sweden. The sky is the limit! :-)

      • ladyfromthelake

        Hej Thyra…. thanks for the advice… I actually followed it, and so, it seems that age, weight and kid from previous relationship is NOT an issue ( ….Go figure…)
        i explained to this guy why i think it is not good idea to date (because of age, kid, etc) and he said that I was fishing for compliments….
        …so next week, the person in question is “showing me the city” one evening after work…. but, according to him, this is not a date, but socializing… now, from where I am coming, if it is only me and him, this is definitely a date :-)

        I think that i need someone to translate me the linguistic difference between dating and socializing ( when there are only 2 people from opposite genders)….so far i understood that this is a date without the “date” element.. which , if true, corresponds with what you have written above…..
        is there a certain moment when the “socializing” and the not-a-date date clearly becomes date?
        sorry for the stupid post & question…. i feel like somehow being put back to high school….

  • Greta

    As a Norwegian, this was fun. I wouldn’t have portrayed it quite this way myself, but I have had discussions with a lot of Americans (in my summer job with tourists) about how difficult we can be. For instance how we would look at you as a crazy person if you speak to us without knowing us at beforehand. And how we women would be somewhat offended by a compliment directed at our appearance, as if we’d throw ourselves at a guy for being able to string an unoriginal sentence together. All in all, how we tend to be skeptical as to the intentions of the stranger. I do find it facinating how we have formed our culture in this direction.

  • Nicol

    I am czech-bosnian girl with boiling balkan blood in my veins..and i am dating finnish guy, it is long distance relationship..he was always introvert and he had only one serious relationship before me..he couldn’t understand my smiling all the time and my good mood..and i couldn’t get his permanent grumpiness..:D I was also really scared before meeting his mother who is (according to my boyfriend) very finnish and rigid..but she was so excited about me that even my boyfriend was surprised..;) but we are working on our differences and we are trying to tolerate each other, because we simply can’t live without each other..;)

  • Nicol

    As czech-bosnian girl I know what is to date a grumpy guy from Finland..and it is actually long distance relationship..we are arguing sometimes through Skype but only about small stupid things..even though he makes me really happy..;)

  • sundahlm

    Reblogged this on ChriSM and commented:
    Har aldrig før prøvet det her “reblogging”, men efter at have læst den her tekst havde jeg simpelthen ikke noget valg. Den siger måske meget om os skandinaver og hvordan vi reagerer/agerer i “dating” og kærlighedslivet i det hele taget – måske er det ikke så slemt for alle, som jeg antager det er. Jeg mener bare at jeg kan se en del der passer på os.
    Eller i hvert fald: Så kan jeg se at det HELE stort set passer på mig. Ikke nødvendigvis den måde jeg gerne vil agere, men i hvert fald den måde jeg faktisk agerer på – og ikke mindst den måde, hvorpå jeg føler mig mest tilpas med at agere.
    Det er egentlig tankevækkende at læse om sig selv på den måde, set fra en anden persons opfattelse og fortælling, som samtidig er mig komplet fremmed (Thyra10, som skrev indlægget er tilsyneladende en norsk blogger, som jeg i hvert fald ikke kender personligt). Det viser bare lidt om, at vi (eller igen, i hvert fald jeg) er som skandinaver er flest.
    Men det har også lært mig noget, som jeg håber at kunne falde tilbage på senere. Jeg har i perioder har de her såkaldte “dates”, hvor de faktisk næsten som i de amerikanske film – men nøøøj hvor har det også været udfordrende og på en eller anden måde udmattende at skulle agere efter et sæt regler, som slet ikke ligger til ens natur. Og så kan jeg jo begynde at se på, hvordan min historie egentlig også har været – og mine mere succesfulde forhold har altid været efter den skandinaviske opskrift.
    Jeg har i hvert fald læst noget, der kan give mig lidt mere ro i sjælen på det her emne, fordi jeg ikke er så anderledes og i værste fald “forkert”, som jeg frygtede jeg var. Det er sådan jeg er, og det er sådan jeg finder mig bedst tilpas, som andre skandinaver synes at gøre – så når tiden kommer er det bare om at slå til igen og ikke tænke på at agere udenfor min comfort-zone (i hvert fald ikke ved fuldstændig at sadle om), men bare at holde mig til at gøre, som jeg finder det mest behageligt og korrekt.

    Læs Thyra 10’s indlæg og se om ikke også du har flere genkendte punkter end man skulle tro ;)

  • adventurerstacey

    It might sound very bad… but I’m an Australian, and I always distinguished between male friends and interested men by if they offered to pay the bill or not.

    I was in Portugal and met this very attractive Swedish guy who I thought was just being friendly, now I realise that he was likely hitting on me and had probably thought I had rejected him, when I thought that he was just being friendly and I’d felt sad because I liked him. Such a face palm moment!

  • Confused Latina

    Well this has been very enlightening, and I quite agree with most of what was written (I even took the time to read most of the comments).
    I am latin american and we kind of apply the usual rules of dating (going out for coffee, him opening some doors, etc).
    I have this norwegian friend whom I really like, and we’ve been friends for many years now.
    This posts explains so many things I was baffled about when we met, like I was carrying a big suitcase to the train station (in the snow, which was hard for me since I wasn’t used to walking on deadly icy slippery sidewalks) and he didn’t offer to help, which I thought was rude, but didn’t say anything :P
    After 3 years as friends, many drinks and us having to share the only bed at the place we were staying he finally made a move, although we spent hours talking before having sex, this article gives some perspective to that night.

    He travels back and forth from Norway and LatAm and I told him I had feelings for him because I wanted to put it out there, he said he wasn’t ready for a commitment yet, so I thought that was it. However we bummed pelvises again when he came back the next time and we usually spend time exclusively when he’s here, which is kind of confusing. This article has helped me understand some of his behaviors, I guess it’s a matter of seeing what happens.

  • c. jenks

    I am so incredibly happy that my Norwegian boyfriend doesn’t fit any of these rules… He approached me and made it very clear that he was interested. And I’m also a bit confused that my experience with Norwegians has been very, very different from this list; strangers have been very talkative, friendly, and helpful with me throughout Norway!

    A handful of Norwegian women have been less than sweet, but the vast majority have been lovely… far more lovely and kind than most American women. I’ve found it far easier to make friends in Norway than I ever did in the US. It felt like home right away here. People just seem more genuine.

  • emmymclean

    Loved this article – best summary of Dating or ‘ not dating’ in Scandinavia that I’ve ever read. So I wrote my own article in response – http://cphpost.dk/news/dating-the-danes-flirting-with-disaster.9226.html?fb_comment_id=fbc_465368823597150_474680552665977_474680552665977#f39dd6de1c

  • Joona

    Thyra,

    I guess I failed to mention the Finnish term “avoliitto” (lit: open alliance / marriage) which is the exact same as samboer. There is an older, more romantic term for it which is rarely used nowadays except as endearing: susipari (lit. wolf couple).

    In the old days the term “wolf couple” was derogatory by those pesky christians. But now it is a sort of honourific.

  • Petter

    Wow, you really made scandinavian people sound like depressing people.. a bunch of egoistic drunkan bastards.. Good job! haha, I will agree that a lot of this is in true relation to scandinavian “dating-culture”, but also feel like your brushing all scandinavian under one carpet, witch is a generalization i think is a little to black and white . And when it comes to Marriage, this is also very true, the numbers are dropping fast witch in my opinion is really sad, but that again, a lot of the people who get married have the divorce card in the back pocket anyway like it is some kind of triumph card. So maybe people not getting married is not that bad after all, unless they of course understand the promises and wows they agree to when they stand there in front of God and Man and say “I DO”. I like your insite on the matter, just don´t agree with all you are saying, witch IS ok:)

    Good Job. It is always fun to read of your own culture.

    • Joona

      Thanks, Petter. It is good to remember Scandinavia (and Fennoscandia) has its minority share of less than liberal jesus freaks, too.

      Getting married is for the majority is a deal of two. Done mostly for the excuse to party. It would be awfully awkward to have some voyeurist psycho “god” in your bedroom when trying to make love.

      Or by the kitchen table… Or under the lilac bushes on your patio… Or…

    • Joona

      Just a little hint, Petter. Most of Nordics are not (really) religious let alone conservative. And far from depressive. We take our fun very seriously.

      Funny you haven’t noticed that, cos you’re implying you’re one yourself. Oh, we do have our fringe group share of Witnesses and Seventh day Adventists and Baptists and so on. Usually considered “mostly harmless”.

  • Lil Miss Shalla

    thanks… this and a few other blogs i read today have kind of pinned down what i was trying to understand for the last 2.5yrs

    gives me a bit more sensitivity to why he is the way he is…above and beyond what i have pieced together

    it also gives me insight to who i am as a person…
    ha, i may be an american living in france but out of all the life styles i have read about or encountered… what you have written above is pretty close to who i have chosen to become over the years

    again… thank you

    • Joona Vainio

      Er, why me?

      Are you trying to be a matchmaker? :) Rest assured, I am the farthest kind from a Scandinavian you could imagine.

      Poor Shalla, tho.

      On Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 11:13 AM, Thyra10 wrote:

      > Lil Miss Shalla commented: “thanks… this and a few other blogs i > read today have kind of pinned down what i was trying to understand for the > last 2.5yrs gives me a bit more sensitivity to why he is the way he > is…above and beyond what i have pieced together it also gives me” >

  • Klaudine

    Wow. This post has a LOT of comments, but I’ll just leave one anyway. :P I couldn’t get over the part where you said “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.” I met this cute blonde Swede at a big costume party and we got to talking just a little until he asked me if I wanted to go to his place. And as a girl from a very conservative country I turned him down outright thinking that it would be improper if I slept with a guy I don’t even know. So right now I’m kind of like “regretting” since he was so cute and so blonde and so unlike any of the boys in my country, not knowing that “sex first” is actually a Swedish thing. Damn. This made no sense, but it’s been eight months since that night and I’m still thinking about it! Ugh

    • thyra10

      Aaaaaaaw. I’m sure he wouldn’t find it improper or think any worse of you if you went home with him but it’s how you feel about it that matters. Cultural differences and misunderstanding are really hard.

    • Joona

      Funny that you mentioned it, Klaudine. Now to come think of that 99% of my relationships when a teen or a young adult have been sex first. Usually from the club or pub.

      If that works out, THEN we might considering talking and a friendship or any relationship. If not, better hope you weren’t drunk enough an idiot to share your celly number or email address.

      To us Finns of the Nordics (usually mistakenly called Scandinavians) the Social Media and being forerunners of the celly culture has been somewhat devastating. Now you actually have to TALK with someone before clubbing her and dragging from her hair to a cave (Finlicism).

      I don’t mind. I love to chat. Other than all the nice and smart women online tend to be “reserved” ;)

      • Klaudine

        Now I’m completely wondering how I can possibly have a “scandinavian/nordic love affair” if I’m not willing to convert to a “sex first” routine. It’s totally alien to me! But well, it’s a lot to think about.. As if life wasn’t hard enough haha. Thanks, Thyra, too for your feedback and for saying that it’s how I feel that matters.

      • Joona

        Don’t take me wrong, please. I was trying to gently poke fun about the fact that even we brutes nowadays have learned to get to talk and know first. I should know, as my ex was a Jehovah’s Witness. But I was persistent, and love conquers all.

  • Zarina

    Wow! I heard about cold hearted Scandinavians <3 But how about LOVE? Poor me, still believe in Love and Real feelings… i'm not a scandinavian

  • asdf

    I’m an American girl in a long term relationship a Norwegian guy, and I’ve had a very different experience. He took the initiative in the beginning and was very fast on the uptake. Although I don’t expect him to, he always offers to pay for meals, tickets, what not. When I offer to pay for my half he says no. He also loves showing off his car. While we’re not ready for marriage quite yet, I’ve noticed that a lot of his friends back in Norway are getting engaged/married.

    I don’t know, maybe my Norwegian is an exception to the rules :P

  • Maddie

    A guy at work told me I had to read this article, because I was complaining about how fucked up the Norwegian/Scandinavian girls are, and how the men need to learn from the foreign guys how to treat a woman.

    I’ve recently come home from a month abroad and we were talking about the fact that Norwegian girls are ruined when it comes to flirting and taking compliments. In other countries the guys come across as almost scary because Norwegian girls are not used to the attention. Me and my friend were almost socially awkward when guys approached us, haha. Did not know how to react to compliments and attention because we RARELY get that in Norway, unless of course we’re/they’re drunk. It’s sad, but true. In Norway the guys who act like that usually just want one thing.

    • thyra10

      I can certainly relate to that! I have no idea what to say or do if someone offers me a compliment – and I’m almost annoyed if the compliment is on the way I look because, to me, that’s a bit shallow. I realize that it’s often meant well but it still doesn’t sit right with me.

      • Joona of Finland

        There are compliments and there are compliments. I don’t EVER compliment anyone as flattery or with a foxtail under my arm (a Finglicism for not having entirely honest intentions). Be it related to looks or something else. If I don’t have anything nice to say I usually just shut up – unless the other is being a pissant or heavens forbid insulted me first.

        “Nice tits” is perhaps not a very smart thing to say. Besides, any woman with any smarts knows it is an involuntary reflex for a man confronted to look at the bust first even for a microsecond before actually making eye contact. There is nothin sexist in that. It is how Mother Nature works.

        “Hey, I couldn’t help noticing you (insert some reason or another if applicable)” is so neutral and not intrusive, that’s okay. Most of the time. Unless the other is a two metre tall valkyrie contemplating on the next intrusive guy to send to Valhalla.

        As an example, I couldn’t help noticing Thyra is a smart and funny woman as a net friend who takes some things a bit too seriously.

      • thyra10

        Thyra is smart and funny but extremely slow on the uptake when it comes to checking in on her blog to see if there are posts that need to be approved ;-)

      • Joona

        Hm. Awaiting moderation although I’m “trusted”. Guess that’s because I used a slightly edited nick to joke about the respected gay artist Tom of Finland. I’m an impatient fellow, so reposting with my usual very own name. Which means dove, btw.

        There are compliments and there are compliments. I don’t EVER compliment anyone as flattery or with a foxtail under my arm (a Finglicism for not having entirely honest intentions). Be it related to looks or something else. If I don’t have anything nice to say I usually just shut up – unless the other is being a pissant or heavens forbid insulted me first.

        “Nice tits” is perhaps not a very smart thing to say. Besides, any woman with any smarts knows it is an involuntary reflex for a man confronted to look at the bust first even for a microsecond before actually making eye contact. There is nothin sexist in that. It is how Mother Nature works.

        “Hey, I couldn’t help noticing you (insert some reason or another if applicable)” is so neutral and not intrusive, that’s okay. Most of the time. Unless the other is a two metre tall valkyrie contemplating on the next intrusive guy to send to Valhalla.

        As an example, I couldn’t help noticing Thyra is a smart and funny woman as a net friend who takes some things a bit too seriously.

      • thyra10

        I like impatience :-)

  • freeman

    Dear god this is so true! I am attempting to court and date a really tall and handsome swedish guy. And boy when we talk its like we have never met.
    Our texting is very nice and have lovey dovey crap echanged between us. I usually take the first move each time to woo him haha. But lordy when it is face to face its hardto hit on him!! XD
    I aint giving up yet though?!

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