WHY IS THE ITALIAN’S BEHAVIOUR UNUSUAL ON THE FINNISH BUS?
For the questions below, please note that several answers are possible.

The concept of personal space is less important in southern countries than in northern countries. Finns require a lot of space, both mentally and physically. With so few people and such an expanse of land, this life was very lonely and often the only contact with people were with the family that lived with them. On the other hand the southern European’s personal space is smaller than those of the northern countries. Invasion of personal space is natural in southern Europe.That could explain why in the situation ‘our’ character jumps up and immediately offers a place to the elderly person and that there is even physical contact.

Southern Europeans usually stand closer together when talking. They tend to touch each other and even breathe towards each other’s face, while people from northern European descent keep a much larger distance. Touching is acceptable in southern Europe, but even touching personal space isn’t always to be tolerated, especially on public transportation. Finns tend to need less socialising and can regard any unnecessary and irrelevant small talk as invasive and intrusive.

Silence is something Finns can easily live with and it is perceived as being relaxing and communal. (According to Lewis, 2005) Finns dislike big talkers and belong to the “listening countries”. It is more appropriate to nod in agreement and smile quietly. Silence can be constructive. Southern Europe uses a more expressive way of communication style. The speaker will stand back and, in addition to the verbal message conveys numerous nonverbal messages intended to help the receiver in decoding it.

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