8 surefire ways to spot a Finn abroad

Ice swimmer looking happy

Every nationality has their own identifiable characteristics no matter how stereotypical they may sound. As a Finn I hardly recognize these behavioral traits in myself until I’m outside my home country, Finland. With this list you’re sure to never mistake a Finn for anyone else again, especially while traveling or residing abroad…




1. At first you won’t even spot us because Finns know how to lay low on the communal radar — virtually undetectable. You won’t hear us voicing loud opinions on public transportation.


2. But Finns are surely there. We’re super punctual. If an event starts at 10:00 a Finn will be there at 9:40. Tip: If there’s coffee, make it 9:20.


A digital wristwatch

3. Finns are the grumpiest looking people in the group. Finns tend to have unreadable facial expressions all while avoiding excessive smiling. If we’re excessively smiling it’s most likely because you just told an inappropriate joke. We love questionable humor. Dark winters = dark humor?


4. Finns can be spotted awkwardly hovering around the coffeemaker drinking hideous amounts of coffee, no matter what time of day it is. It’s a way of staying awake during those dark winter months, and a habit we cannot switch off while abroad.


A cup of coffee


5. Apart from finishing our coffee before you, Finns will also finish their alcoholic beverages before you. A moderate drinker to Finns is a person with a problem to others. Be careful when you challenge a Finn to drink — you will lose and most likely be humiliated.




A glass of whiskey


6. Don’t expect an extended amount of emotional small talk. Finns often answer in short and honest bursts after a momentary ponder. Alternatively, we will tell you our whole life story when asked: “how are you?” This is more rare than the first scenario and likely involves booze.


7. Finns look unfazed by chilly weather. If it’s above -20C then you won’t see Finns commenting on the cold. You will learn to stop asking us if we’re cold because the answer is always going to be “no.


Finnish winter trees


8. But when it’s actually cold Finns are really good at dressing themselves. We’ve got all the right clothing for that. There’s no shame in wearing double layers of grandma’s wool mittens, scarves and/or sweaters…layering like a maniac is a must. It should take you over 20 annoying minutes to undress once you’ve come inside, or you’re not dressed warm enough.


Wool sweater


If you happen to mistake someone for a Finn abroad even with this helpful list, then you failed. But hey, it’s a good start and they’re probably an awesome person anyway.




Edited by Michele Lawrence

2 replies
  1. mayu nino
    mayu nino says:

    I can distinguish them very easily. The Finns are unique: They look like ice floes at first sight. And once they appreciate you, they melt. They’re the best friends. I love them!

  2. TaneliP
    TaneliP says:

    I can relate with the number three. People often tell me that I look sad or grumpy, even when I couldn’t be happier 😀


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