Daily life in Finland

Finland is an easy country to visit. Finnish customs and manners are clearly European, with only a few national variations, and attitudes are liberal.

There is very little chance of a visitor committing fundamental social gaffes or breaches of etiquette that would fatally damage relations with the hosts. Such breaches are viewed by Finns with equanimity if committed by their own countrymen and with understanding or amusement if committed by foreigners.

Codes of behavior are fairly relaxed, and reputations - good or bad - are built up over time as the result of personal actions rather than conforming to norms or standards. It is difficult in Finland to make or break a reputation with a single social blunder.

Finland is a country where considerable weight is attached to the spoken word - words are chosen carefully and for the purpose of delivering a message. Indeed, there are very few other culture-specific considerations that visitors need be aware of. Finns place great value on words, which is reflected in the tendency to say little and avoid 'unnecessary' small talk. As the Chinese proverb puts it, "Your speech should be better than silence, if it is not, be silent."

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