Dating a Finnish man was without a doubt one of the best decisions I made in my life. Who knew that loving Tuomas would have me moving halfway across the world and starting a life together in Finland.
Looking back it all seems so crazy, but I can say without a doubt dating a Finnish person was something I needed in my life.
Compared to my Lantix American background, dating a Finn taught me all about living life more slowly and enjoying nature more.
In 2017 I found myself in a long distance relationship with Tuomas, a Finnish man. I am an American who only knew a little about Finland.
I knew Finland’s geographical location and Ithat there was a lot of snow there.
What I didn’t know was the cultural differences in dating. Especially when you were adding a long distance relationship to the mix.
Honestly, I felt so lost 😫
And while you could say, “aren’t all people the same” if you find yourself in a relationship with a Finn you will begin to see otherwise.
Finnish people are very quiet and humble people compared to boisterous Americans like myself.
After dating Tuomas and making friends with people in Finland I have found that when it comes to dating, that Finns have a different mindset than in the US.
Here are some of the lessons I learned after dating a Finnish person.
12 Lessons I Learned While Dating a Finnish Person in a Long Distance Relationship
~*This post may contain affiliate links to products I found that are perfect for long distance relationships. This means when you purchase using my link below I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.*~
While a lot of these dating rules can apply to most relationships, there is definitely going to be a unique Finnish perspective on them.
I even asked Tuomas to look over all of these, and he definitely agrees that this will help you out so much if you are just starting to date a Finnish person
I guess you could say this post has been approved by a Finn.
Don’t Ask Yes/No Questions
A little backstory on me, in the US I was a Physical Therapist and I specialized in Geriatrics, which is a fancy way of saying I worked with old people.
When working with older people you learn that you can’t ask them yes or no questions, because if you do there answer will be either yes or no.
They will no give you a reason for why, they will just answer the questions as is.
Finns are a lot like these grumpy old patient’s that I had 😆
When you find yourself dating a Finnish person, make sure you ask open-ended questions, questions that would spark conversation.
A good example would be
“What is Finland like during November or in the Springtime”
I guarantee you’ll get a hilarious response from them about the darkness or how miserable it is.
If there is one thing I have learned while dating Tuomas it’s that Finns love to talk about Finland and they are genuinely interested when someone else is interested in Finland.
Finland even has an expression describing this phenomenon it’s torille tavatan
If you’re in a long distance relationship with a Finn then check out this post for 50 questions to ask in a long distance relationship.
Do Learn More About Finland
After breaking the ice with your Finnish partner, continue learning more about their culture.
When Tuomas and I first started dating I followed all the Finnish accounts on Instagram like HerFinland.
I was able to learn so much about Finnish culture as well as signed up for her courses to learn more about Finnish language.
If you are dating a Finn, then start with Varpu from HerFinland, she will teach you everything you need to know about Finland and get you on the right track to learning the Finnish Language.
Trust me, learning Finnish is something you want to start sooner than later. And it is also a great way to learn more about your partner.
Learning their language and culture gives you the ability to see and understand a side of them that you wouldn’t be able to learn if you are only speaking English to each other.
If you want to start learning Finnish today and how to connect with Finland then be sure to check out HerFinland’s course Spark Your Finnish
You can find the information about the Spark Your Finnish course here on HerFinland’s website.
Don’t Be Afraid to Show Your Independence
As an American, our dating culture is different from that in Finland. In the US you date around, you would be talking to multiple people seeing which one you like the best.
It’s not like that when dating a Finn, if a Finnish person is making time for you, and showing you they are interested then know they are truly interested in you.
If they weren’t, they wouldn’t make the time for you.
With that being said because they are interested and are making time for you know that they will feel comfortable spending time away from you.
For Finns it’s really simple, they like you, they want to be with you, now that you know that they can go hang out with their friends.
This was something that took me a while to get used to.
This fact also helped us out as a long distance couple. We had to get used to spending time apart and not being in a call with each other 24/7.
It was liberating because it allowed me to focus on my personal growth and development while Tuomas focused on his education.
If you find yourself in a long distance relationship with a Finnish person, don’t be afraid to show your independence, it’ll only make them more attracted to you.
Do Take the Lead
When I was younger, I was taught that ladies should be seen and not heard. Well I was never able to follow that rule as a kid and the older I got the more outspoken I became.
My friends and family worried that this outspoken behavior would prevent me from finding somone to spend my life with.
Then I started dating a Finn.
With Tuomas I learned over time that it was okay for me to take the lead. I was able to tell him the things I liked and didn’t like without hesitation and he accepted.
If he didn’t accept them then he would challenge me on my thinking.
Dating a Finnish person teaches you to embrace a side of you that is buried underneath cultural norms and expectations, especially if you’re coming from the US.
Don’t be afraid to take the lead, Finns are a pretty go-with-the-flow type of people. You can feel ambitious around them and go after your dreams.
If it’s something that makes them uncomfortable they will be sure to let you know, so don’t be alarmed.
Don’t Be Late
This to me is just good manners. It’s also more than just not being late, it’s having open communication about what is going on.
When Tuomas and I were in the long distance phase of our relationship we had a call schedule with each other.
We did this so we could respect each other’s time and know that we were setting aside time for each other.
Finns won’t let you know through flowery prose how much they love you. Instead, they will show you through the time you are spending with them.
If a Finn is making time for you and spending time with you then you know they care about you.
Don’t trample on their feelings by showing up late without giving them a heads up on why you’re going to be late.
Do Get Used to Metal Music
I am going to be completely honest with you, this is probably a stereotype. Not all Finns like metal music but a GOOD majority of them.
Finland has the most metal bands per capita in the world. This means Finns appreciate their metal music just as much as they appreciate their morning coffee.
At the beginning of our relationship, I was taken aback by how much metal music Tuomas listened to.
I also thought I would never like metal music because it’s all doom and gloom.
After being with a Finn for the past few years I have learned that there is so many types of metal music out there.
Tuomas even made me a danceable metal playlist as a long distance relationship gift one time.
Best believe it had Amaranthine and Baby Metal on it
So while metal music may not be your thing initially, after dating a Finn you will learn to embrace the metal heavy side of their culture.
If you already don’t love it, I am sure your partner will be able to find a metal band that you will like.
Or just ask them to show you Hevisaurus and start your appreciation from there. Trust me you’ll love it.
Don’t Rush Things
Remember when I said Finnish people are a very go-with-the-flow type of people? This can also be seen in dating and relationships.
Unlike the US, Finns aren’t in a rush to live their lives.
Most Finns wait until their 30s to get married and are comfortable with having long relationships that don’t your usual milestones of engagement and getting married.
If you’re coming from a culture that has a lot more pressure on those milestones then this could come as a shock to you.
With us, we had to talk about those cultural differences and find a middle ground.
To me, it was important to get engaged. It let me know that we had the same goals for the future of our relationship.
Tuomas and I had talked about getting engaged for a year before we actually got engaged.
And the only reason why we got engaged after that short amount of time was that we made sure to also talk about what it means financially to get engaged.
Finns aren’t going to rush when it comes to life, so if there is something you want in your relationship know that it’s okay to take the lead in the conversation.
Just be sure to bring a lot of reasoning behind why it’s important to you.
Do Get Used to Doing Your Share
Finnish society is very gender-equal. You can expect your Finnish partner to do the cooking and cleaning as well.
When Finnish kids go to school they have to take kotitalous and käsityöt classes, or what I would call a Home Economics class in the US.
In these classes Finns are taught how to cook, clean, sew, and how to manage household affairs.
Since all kids have to take this class it makes everyone feel responsible for their household when they get older.
It’s not just one person taking care of everything, both parties are expected to play their role in keeping their home tidy.
This can also be seen in other areas of their lives. Like if you were to go on a date with a Finnish person you can expect to pay for your share during the date.
Everyone does their own share when it comes to dating in Finland, it’s not expected for one person to carry the team.
Don’t Worry About Awkward Silence
This was one thing my loud American self had to get used to.
In Finland, there is no such thing as awkward silences, in fact just get used to things being pretty quiet around your Finnish partner.
At first, the silence made me feel like I had to talk about something to fill up space. It made me feel nervous like I was messing something up.
Then Tuomas explained to me that Finnish people are just quiet people. If I had to guess why I would just say it’s because of how connected Finnish people are to nature.
In a sense dating a Finnish person is like going on a walk in the woods on a warm summer day, it’s both relaxing and peaceful.
And you don’t want to disturb that peace with an unmeaningful conversation, instead just sit back, relax, and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Do Respect Personal Space and Boundaries
Alright so this is a general dating tip so let’s look at it from a multicultural lens.
When you’re in a multicultural relationship there are going to be times where you don’t necessarily agree with how the other culture does things.
For example, when Tuomas and I started dating it was so hard for him to express himself and how he really felt.
It often led us to a lot of misunderstandings and arguments. But that was part of dating a Finnish person.
Finns aren’t going to open up to you right away.
You have to give your Finnish partner time and space for them to feel comfortable fully expressing themselves.
Again their culture is a quiet one, they do this out of respect for others. It may seem complicated or roundabout but it is what it is.
Don’t Try to Understand Free Buckets
I don’t know what it is about Finns and their thing with free buckets.
You can trust me that it is a thing.
People will wait outside for hours just to get a free bucket. To be honest, I don’t even think Finns know why they do it, they just know it’s free and they can use a good bucket.
If you are dating a Finnish person you can try to ask what the deal is with these buckets, but save yourself the headache and don’t try to understand it.
It could be part of what makes Finns so happy, maybe I should start getting excited about the free buckets.
Do Trust That Things Will Work Out
There is a reason why Finland has been voted the happiest country in the world for the past 4 years.
It’s because Finns trust in the thought that everything will work out.
This peaceful idea could stem from the fact that their government has its back when it comes to medicine and education.
New moms have the choice of getting a box filled with baby clothes and or money to help raise their child.
The government pays its students to go to school, and public transportation is very reliable.
This thought of trusting that things will work out has been the biggest culture shock for me since dating a Finn and moving to Finland.
Even though it’s been a struggle for me I am slowly learning to trust more and have faith that things will work out.
All because of that Finnish happiness magic.
Are You Dating a Finnish Person and Want to Learn More About Finnish Culture?
I have partnered up with HerFinland to help you learn everything you can about Finland and your partner’s culture.
Here are some courses I recommend:
I am a firm believer that food is the best way to get to a person’s heart. Your Finnish partner will be so excited to see you cooking some of their favorite recipes.
It also comes with a cultural guide so you can learn more about Finland while cooking.
I already mentioned this one but just wanted to talk about it again because that’s how great it is. If you are just starting out in your relationship with a Finn then this course is a must-have.
It teaches you everything you need to know about the Finnish language and will have you speaking Finnish in minutes.
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