Hate small talk? You’re not alone … turns out there’s an entire country of people that don’t like small talk: Finland.
Here’s how Laura Studarus of BBC Travel describe what it’s like there:
Small talk outside social situations between close friends is virtually non-existent. Interactions with baristas? Limited to the name of the coffee you want to order. Sitting, walking or standing in a way that requires acknowledging a stranger’s presence? Never. … If you’re a foreigner, congratulations – you’re probably the loudest person on their often (voluntarily) silent public transport.
Finns even had to be taught how to chit chat when interacting with non-Finns:
As Tiina Latvala, a former English instructor in Sodankylä, Lapland, explained, part of her job was to introduce her young students to the concept of small talk.
“We had a practice where you had to pretend to meet someone for the first time,” Latvala said. “You had to pretend you were meeting at the cafe or on a bus and [that] you didn’t know each other and do a bit of chit chat. We had written on the whiteboard all the safe topics so they didn’t have to struggle with coming up with something to talk about. We brainstormed. They usually found it really difficult.”