8 surefire ways to spot a Finn abroad

Every nationality has its own identifiable characteristics no matter how stereotypical they may sound. As a Finn, I hardly recognize these behavioural 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 travelling 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.


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 humour. Dark winters = dark humour?


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.



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.


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 rarer 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.



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.




9 replies

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

  3. 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.

    Thats a lie,finish people are Always complaining about the weather! 😀

  4. Ha ! Ha ! I have lived in Australia for 47 years and i still have a finnish acsent when i speak english . Why people ask . Are you german … russian . dutch .. swedish and never finnish ???? May be i am assimilated and i have become aussie ?? Please explain ???? eila

  5. As said, it does not matter what kind of weather it is, cold, windy, chill, warm, hot, or anything in between, true finn shall complain! Always. ? It’s just wrong to enjoy anything you have ?

  6. But about drinking alcohol is not true, to compare Finnish people to polish or Russian. They are drinking just this terrible Salmari or mintu but about real alcohol (clear vodka) Finns are weak. But for sure better than British.

  7. ???
    Here’s a brit making jokes about finns drinking too much on their holidays.

    Give me a break!

    Living most time of the year in Spain, I can 100% sure confirm brits are the heaviest drinking group of tourists you will ever meet. At least when it comes to how it afffects your behaviour.

    ”Finns are the grumpiest looking..”.

    Jeesh, it’s 2021. And someone is still writing this kind of text based on ethnic stereotyping. ?

    • No idea why you’re banging on about Brits, doing this or Brits doing that. This article was written, as it clearly say beneath the headline, BY STINA HENRIKSSON who’s clearly as Finnish as you. What’s more this is hardly an anthropological study, so maybe you shouldn’t take it so seriously….or is that another ethnic stereotype? 🙂

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