The Finnish distance
In a company in Finland, Jean and Ari are colleagues. One day during the working day Ari, who is originally from Helsinki, receives a call to tell him that his father just died. Jean, his French colleague sits in the office next to Jan since the last eight months and has the impression that he knows him quite well now.
Ari is generally quite calm and inexpressive, although pretty friendly. Jean understands at once that he has just received some very bad news and read the grief on his face. When Ari gets up to go out, John decides to express his condolences and tries to give him a quick embrace – Ari is obviously very unhappy.
Although he does not say anything, Jean immediately feels that this embrace was the wrong thing to do.
WWhich way would be the best in Finland to show your compassion?
In Finland, physical distance is required. One does not touch each other, one keeps a meter of distance, for example in front of a bus stop. But besides the Finns have no problem to be naked when they go to the sauna together. Contradictory? Not really. The Finns hold their own private sphere, but are not shy when it comes to showing their bodies. And it’s also a matter of hygiene.