4 ways you can break the ice and get to know Norwegians
If you ever wondered how to strike up a conversation with a Norwegian, then here are some useful tips for that.
1. Talk about the weather
Norwegians talk quite a lot about the weather. The weather in Norway (and particularly in the west) changes often, within the same day and from one day to the next, and sometimes this might be hard to bear, without talking about it. There are many jokes and proverbs about the weather. I’m sure you’ve heard this one:
Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare dårlige klær!
When translated into English, the rhyme falls out. However the meaning is this: there is no bad weather, only bad clothing!
2. Try some outdoor activities
Norwegians are great lovers of the outdoor, and you will rarely meet one of them who don’t practice an outdoor sport or recreation activity. Cross-country skiing during the winter, and hiking during the warmer seasons, are the sports of the nation. Up in the woods, the Norwegians are less shy and even greet strangers.
In the different ski huts close to the slopes you will find an openness and interest in other people that you do not find in the city.
3. Show interest in Norwegian life and culture
Norwegians are very proud of their country and talk a lot about it. They especially like it when visitors show an interest in Norway, the land, its culture and heritage.
The one thing that will surely captivate your Norwegians is talking about how your people view Norwegians. Whenever Norway is mentioned in foreign media, their Norwegian counterparts make a huge story on it!
Pro tip: Bring up the misconceptions or stereotypes that are common where you come from. For example, 'Norway is full of polar bears' is a typical misconception. There are no polar bears here, except for the Svalbard Islands.
4. Attend the dugnad
The “dugnad” is one of those activities that glue this society together. When the school, the local sports club, the “borettslag” (housing cooperative) or any other institution organizes a dugnad, it is expected that everyone attends and do their fair share of the work. The tasks are practical and don’t require professional skills, like painting and mowing the lawn.
The dugnad is also a very social activity, and usually involves food and some times also drinks. Here you will get to know your neighbors, which is an accomplishment in itself, especially if you live in the city.
And if all of the above fails, just bring up your smart phone, show this video and you'll have a great laugh together about the cabin life in Norway.