Norwegian Autumn
Expat life,  Norway

The weather: ultimate ice breaker in Norwegian conversations

Talking about the weather?! One can just check the weather forecast, no need to analyze why and how much it’s raining/snowing/shining. I thought the weather was a boring topic and only people who have nothing to say find consolation in discussing the weather. It turns out, it’s the preferred way of talking to strangers in Norway.

British weather has a cult status and, I guess, talking about it has its merits. Especially in a combination with British humor.

Norwegians are famously shy people. They won’t say ”Hi” to a stranger, smiles are out of the equation. ”Excuse me” and ”Sorry” are also nearly extinct species. The Nordic people may relax and have a laugh or two after a few drinks. Then they might even engage in a conversation.

Before the drinks, it’s often awkward to keep silent. This is where the weather comes as a savior. It’s a safe topic, there are no controversies and no one gets hurt. Probably many friendships have their roots in meteorology.

The weather is a universal topic in the Scandinavian country, especially helpful when one meets someone for the first time. If it’s raining, snowing, blowing and/or just bitterly cold, regret and empathy are triggered. On the contrary, when the Sun is shining in the summer with a maximum temperature of  25°C, people become excited, happy, and even adventurous. As long as there is sunshine, people go sleeveless and rush to the beach. Even just to enjoy the sea from a distance because the water rarely gets warmer than 19-20°C. Some have freezing swims on January 1st. Another possible evolution of the weather talk.

From interviews to first introductions to family members, the weather melts any ice in communication. I tried it and it works like an aspirin: quickly and efficiently, usually with no side effects. Luckily, when I first met my partner E. in 2010, we didn’t talk about the weather. Probably because we didn’t meet in Norway and had many things to talk about.

Norwegian autumn

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