‘Rudeness is subjective,’ says Norwegian researcher / News / The Foreigner

‘Rudeness is subjective,’ says Norwegian researcher. Norway, the world’s third-happiest country but a nation of pill-poppers, comes 20th when it comes to rudeness, according to a poll by travel site Skyscanner. “Each country has the politeness it needs”, explained Reidun Aambø at Volda University College. Other Scandinavian countries Sweden and Denmark come 24th and 26th, respectively (more polite than queue-shy and aloof Norway).

norwaymanners, rudeness, politeness



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‘Rudeness is subjective,’ says Norwegian researcher

Published on Wednesday, 10th July, 2013 at 11:14 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Lyndsey Smith      .
Last Updated on 10th July 2013 at 15:16.

Norway, the world’s third-happiest country but a nation of pill-poppers, comes 20th when it comes to rudeness, according to a poll by travel site Skyscanner.

Norwegian flag over Bergen
Norwegian flag over Bergen
Photo: alex-s/Flickr


“Each country has the politeness it needs”, explained Reidun Aambø at Volda University College.

Other Scandinavian countries Sweden and Denmark come 24th and 26th, respectively (more polite than queue-shy and aloof Norway).

While 19.2 per cent of poll participants put the French at being the most impolite nation, Brazil came out best in 34th place.

“The French are very protective of their language, and customers can get different responses for ordering in French or in another language,” Lawrence Lo, China-based etiquette expert told CNN.

Regarding service in restaurants, he added that “a lot of French waiters have worked in this position their whole life, so they have a superiority complex in front of travellers.”

Researcher Reidun Aambø informed Aftenposten she believes that the perception of rudeness happens when cultures mix.

“Every culture has the courtesy it needs. It is when we get a mix of cultures that we can interpret each other as rude. Politeness can’t be defined objectively because it’s not about right or wrong, but about expectations.”

“All humans look for the same signals for the courtesy and friendliness that they are familiar with from their own culture because these are the codes we know,” Ms Aambø answered in response to Aftenposten’s ‘aha, so we’re [Norwegians] actually polite enough’ question.

She also cited that certain cultures can view others as rude in their own country, using a lack of “sorry”, or “excuse me” by people when they bump into each other.

Getting up for a man of 70 to give him your seat on a bus in Norway is also problematic, according to her.

60 per cent of the answers in Skyscanner’s 2012 poll of 1,200 people came from Britons – a nation not famed for its multilingualism (similar to the Norwegian education system) skills but for its football hooligans.

The UK was viewed as being the third-rudest, scoring 10.43 per cent. The Brits also voted themselves as being the world’s worst tourists in a previous Skyscanner inquiry.

“The vast majority of British travellers are well-behaved while abroad, and do try to embrace aspects of the local culture, customs and language. But it seems that the stereotype of the loud, lairy, drunken Brit, sunburned and stumbling from bar to bar in Spain, remains the way we perceive some of our fellow countrymen to behave while on holiday,” said site travel editor Sam Baldwin.

Results of Skyscanner’s rudness to politeness poll (in percentages of those who responded) are as follows:

  1. France 19.29.
  2. Russia 16.56.
  3. UK 10.43.
  4. Germany 9.93.
  5. Others 6.37.
  6. China 4.3.
  7. USA 3.39.
  8. Spain 3.15.
  9. Italy 2.24.
  10. Poland 2.24.
  11. Turkey 2.15.
  12. India 1.9.
  13. Switzerland 1.9.
  14. Greece 1.74.
  15. Croatia 1.57.
  16. Austria 1.41.
  17. Cyprus 1.24.
  18. Egypt 1.24.
  19. Korea 1.24.
  20. Norway 0.99.
  21. Australia 0.91.
  22. The Netherlands 0.83.
  23. Ireland 0.83.
  24. Sweden 0.83.
  25. Japan 0.66.
  26. Denmark 0.5.
  27. Canada 0.41.
  28. New Zealand 0.41.
  29. Indonesia 0.41.
  30. Portugal 0.33.
  31. Thailand 0.25.
  32. The Philippines 0.17.
  33. The Caribbean 0.08.
  34. Brazil 0.08.



Published on Wednesday, 10th July, 2013 at 11:14 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Lyndsey Smith      .
Last updated on 10th July 2013 at 15:16.

This post has the following tags: norwaymanners, rudeness, politeness.


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