You need to have a certain personality to survive Norway. I’m lucky, I enjoy my own company and can amuse myself, so the standard isolation as an ‘immigrant’ is quite perfect for me. However, others who need social interaction have a much harder time of it. Below are some tips (well, more like humorous tactics) especially for our ‘immigrant’ readers who want insight into the Norwegian character and plan on surviving Norway:
1. Always say how amazing Norway is – Norwegians need to hear how wonderful their country is more than most. I think it is the ‘little guy’ syndrome.
2. Never get angry, speak your mind or cause a scene. I’ve seen other immigrants do this and this usually makes them alienate themselves even more.
3. Don’t complain in front of (or to) a Norwegain. Immigrants have developed a bad rep for being complainers.
4. Don’t bother saying ‘hi’ to a Norwegian unless they say ‘hi’ first. If they do acknowledge you, acknowledge them in the same way, for example: if they nod, nod back; if they wave, wave back; if they turn away hoping you won’t notice them, then don’t notice them.
5. Always be positive and pleasant no matter how you are feeling. Norwegians don’t like you imposing on their personal ‘stress’ space.
6. Don’t ask a Norwegian to do anything unless you are their employer. They don’t like commitments. But if you pay them then it is another story.
7. Don’t try to ‘make plans’ with a Norwegian. Everything is tentative until they call you up an hour before your meeting/event/get-together.
8. Don’t just drop by on a Norwegian. They don’t like surprises.
9. Never give Norwegians gifts or presents, especially when just visiting. If Norwegians invite you over it is because they want to entertain. Giving them a present like chocolates or flowers as a visiting gift makes for an awkward situation. (Although, a bottle of bubbly always seems to go down well.)
10. Don’t expect a Norwegian to talk with you even if you are the only two sitting on a bench in the middle of an empty room.