I’m sorry, this video is in Finnish only!
I thought we Finns were bad at showing our feelings…until I watched this clip. I realized we are not so bad. We actually say pretty directly what we think and feel! We say if we’re pissed of, we say if we’re depressed, we say if we’re sad…I don’t think very many of us cry publicly (in the company of others) and that’s one of the reasons I thought we are not good to show our feelings but we sure say if something is wrong (well, sure you don’t tell everything to everybody but atleast friends and probably work mates will know…and I guess your family too).
Is it really true that ”People don’t talk their negative feelings in USA”, as Helistiina says in the video (with the headline: ”Why not move back to the USA”)? She has been an aupair in Pittsburgh and there according to her everybody just smile and be ”happy” all the time no matter what but I really do hope that it’s not the whole truth. I hope that they have someone to talk to. They have to be, right?! Or else they’re really lonely. Everybody needs someone to talk to. It would be a scary idea that one should always smile and be joyful.
Small talk is obviously even more straightforward there but it sure can be that here too especially if you meet some nodding acquaintance. I was once witnessing a quite traditional small talk situation in Finland. I was in bus and I think I was on my way from work to home. Two women met and their conversation went mainly like this:
” Hi, how are you?” (Moi, Mitä kuuluu?
”I’m just fine, how are you?” (Ihan hyvää, mitä sulle kuuluu?)
”I’m just fine”. (Ihan hyvää!)
I listened to this amused. That’s so typical habit opening a conversation but it’s also quite funny habit. I think that is such a meaningless sentence ”I’m just fine”. I mean really. It’s just a cliche what is said almost always (unless your loved one is dead or if you have just heard that you have a serious illness). It really doesn’t contain any real feeling (because it’s often said out of habit). So it does not tell what a person really feels. On the other hand, I do understand why this is used a lot. It’s a neutral saying. Maybe it’s a little too neutral for myself. It’s too qualityless. Even there is many sayings to express how you feel like ”nothing more stranger than misery”, ”same old”, ”nothing much”, ”nothing special”, ”could go better/worse”, still this ”I’m (just) fine” is the most established of all…but it’s the most neutral so that’s the reason for sure. Before this pandemic I used to answer to question how am I just simply: ”work”, cause I really had a lot of work to do by then. By now this saying is not working anymore…One of my acquaintance uses a great saying if you ask how he’s been. He always answer: ”Same shit, different day!” There is some kind of honest realism in this sentence that I like. After all, the days are usually a lot of the same repetition…
”Helistiina gave also other reasons to ”why not move back to the USA” such as health care and studying is too expensive, maternity leave too short, families are too conservative and not enough is recycled there but I was mainly interested of this fake smile theory and wanted to write about it so I won’t go into that video in more detail now. Anyway, I want you to know that Helistiina still enjoyed her time as an au pair and would not exchange it for any price. She liked her family and misses it often, but still wouldn’t move back.