Dating the Danes | Let’s skip the small stuff
Danes hate small talk. It’s a fact. You can disagree with me on this, but it’s unlikely I’ll change my position.
I think they find it a similar experience to pulling teeth. It goes against every fibre of their ‘authentic’ being to appear interested in mundane chat. They’d rather just cut to the chase.
It’s easy to conclude then that dating for them must feel rather unnatural. To sit with someone they barely know, trying to establish a connection while skipping all the usual pleasantries, is their version of climbing Mount Everest.
Take the ‘blind date’ guy I went out with who went straight to the topic of sex. He then proceeded to tell me when both he and his brothers lost their virginity.
It was extremely odd. But I guess when you’re skipping the ‘chit-chat’, the only things left are religion, politics and sex.
Now I wouldn’t say that guy was being crude – he was just being honest. Something that’s valued much higher here than how much social eloquence you can exude.
In a way I think the Danes have got it right. No, they may not be the masters of social graces, but they talk about the things that actually matter. For example, the same information gained from a Dane in one hour would take at least three with a Kiwi.
This also explains why Danes feel so comfortable with the ‘silence’. Unlike many cultures, when a lull in the conversation feels more uncomfortable than rough plane turbulence, Danes consider it breathing room. They see it as a natural part of a conversation – like a digestion break.
I, on the other hand, hate it. And it’s taken me three years to even attempt to be okay with it when dating.
As stated in the ‘Xenophobes Guide to the Kiwis’, we “feel awkward if sitting or standing next to someone for long periods without taking”. And it’s true. I would rather experience the emotion of fear, sadness or embarrassment before feeling ‘the silence’.
I’ve been drilled with the motto that if I can’t fill every space in the conversation with witty, exciting and interesting banter, then I’m not a well-functioning member of society. And after 26 years of practising this, it’s easy to see why I’m at odds with the Danes.
This culture, on the other hand, doesn’t exactly allow a lot of room for practising a high level of social eloquence. There’s no need for small talk because you wouldn’t be talking with strangers in the first place. And if you aren’t being judged on how fluid you flow from one conversation topic to the other, then who cares if a silence creeps in here or there.
So for those of you thinking the Dane you’re dating is a little more ‘caveman’ in his approach, fret not. Just revel in this more direct and authentic way of communication – and practise counting to three whenever you encounter a silence to give your Dane the conversational breathing room he needs.