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How the Finnish Survive Without Small Talk - Slashdot

An anonymous reader quotes a report from the BBC: Finnish people often forgo the conversational niceties that are hard-baked into other cultures, and typically don't see the need to meet foreign colleagues, tourists and friends in the middle. As Tiina Latvala, a former English instructor in Sodankyla, 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."

"[They're] about basic conversation," she explained. "The answers are already there. We are taught to answer 'I'm great, how about you?'; 'How is your mum?'. It was very...(continued)

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