Talking about the weather

I am not really going to write a whole article just about the weather (all though if you are interested it is currently partly cloudy and quite windy).  Talking about the weather though, all though quite a cliche, can often be a good way to start a conversation when you don´t really know what to say as everybody has an opinion about it!

I think Norwegians in general are not very good at small talk. I am not sure if it is because we can´t be bothered talking about insignificant sings such as the weather, or wether it is because we find it difficult to talk to other people in general… (I know, I am generalising quite a bit on this blog… and maybe I am the only one finding small talk difficult?)

When I first moved to England (and before) I found the art of small talk impossible. Even when other people started the conversation I found it difficult (and I feel a bit sorry for anybody who were stuck having to try to have a conversation with me!) but over the years I think I improved and I didn´t dread these situations and I even got better at starting conversations! Now however, I have been back in Norway for a couple of years, and I am realising that I am turning Norwegian again…

We Norwegians don´t really talk to other people much. For instance in the lift… In England there would always be somebody saying something… In the lift at Peter Jones (a department store in London), somebody would always comment on something, whereas in a lift in any departement store in Oslo it is likely to be very quiet – full of people pretending they are so busy with their iphones that they couldn´t possible start a conversation with anybody!  have found myself doing the same thing;
I get into the lift, and if there are other people there I stand and stare at the floor or something, but if I get into an empty lift the first thing I do is press the “close the doors” button – because I am an efficient Norwegian who would like to get to my destination as quick as possible… Or am I just trying to ignore others getting in to the same lift forcing me to either check my email on my phone, or make small talk!?

And what about when you are in a queue;  instead of talking to strangers when standing in the coffee queue in the morning I check my email on my phone and I like to think I am being efficient… But am I just trying to avoid talking to people?

My husband who is English founds it all a bit difficult – having grown up in a country where everybody “does” small talk – he finds himself in a country where nobody does it. So he starts up conversations with strangers but doesn´t get a response – and he is starting to realise that it is nothing personal – it is just the way we are…

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15 Comments to “Talking about the weather”

  1. Different strokes for different folks, as they say Asta. I would find it very hard not to chat too – but then my kids tell me I talk to *anyone.* Still not sure if that’s good or bad. 🙂

  2. This probably explains why no one acknowledged us or spoke to us at the hotel we stayed at in Haugesund. The chattiest person I met was the Museum attendant who was very keen to talk and was mostly intrigued about why English people would travel to Haugesund in January. Good Blog, I’ve added it to my reading list!

    • Andrew, thanks for stopping by! I love hearing what others think of us Norwegian 🙂 And yes – what where you doing in Haugesund in January!? 😉 I have never been there myself but think it is supposed to be nice in summer (like most places up here in the cold north) 🙂
      Asta

  3. Hehehehe… I now get why people send me funny looks when I am home in Norway…! I have lived here in England too long! Well observed, btw.

    have a nice Thursday

    • Hi Mette, yes, you must have been over there for too long – but isn’t it strange how quickly one forgets the unwritten rules about how to act – I still find it strange when the shop assistent does not try to talk with me, and mostly ignores me over here, and at the same time I am trying to explain to my husband that we are all just a bit shy, and don’t want to disturb other people and so on and so on… Not sure he gets it yet though! Asta

  4. I am usually oblivious to what the weather holds tomorrow, here, in the US. But, my in-laws in England check it online and ask me about it when we skype or talk or e-mail. Could the English also be genuinely just more interested in the weather? ha ha! But yes, i definitely noticed how the English strike up conversations about the weather often. I guess I use small talk, too, but on topics about anything and everything!

    Great post, Asta! (and I love your WMB button!! )

    Veronica 🙂

  5. Hi Veronica, thanks for the ‘like’ 🙂 You are right of course, maybe the english just are genuinely interested in the weather! I don’t have much imagination, and as I mentioned I am still working quite hard to manage this hold small talk idea, so I still think the weather is a safe place to start 🙂
    (Well I had to have the WMB button – you are the reason I started blogging to begin with!!!)
    Asta

  6. I small talk with everyone! It is embedded in my and I cannot help myself! Some norwegians dont get it but I find many like a good old chat about nothing! I force people to talk to me, it’s the only way in Norway!

  7. I have learned to do small talk and I quite like it now. Sometimes strangers look a bit surprised when I just start talking to them but they mostly seam to enjoy it. I’ve had one or two people give me a strange look 🙂

  8. In Norway it feels like you´re not allowed to talk to people you don´t know. They will just stare at you and think you´re crazy (after they have answered and you turned away of course) =)
    We are actually interested in the weather, but maybe not in small talk =)

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