I am living in Norway now since a few years and here there is quite a strange problem with Shyness in 80% (My guess) of people here in Oslo. I meet many new people everyday at work and I have seen it would have become a problem since a while now, and it has built up so much that on the public transport there are posters hanging up pretty much telling people to talk to each other or at least be able to greet each other.
Its actually been going for a while now, the posters started on the bus and a few days later there where then huge ones stuck all along the wall on the tube platforms.
Every poster say's the same thing, just with a different person on it. I haven't seen Pooja before because I'm sure I would remember, but Carl on the other hand, I have seen before..
The text translated..
Its certain that once more than 51% of people become shy and introvert, then the rest just follow because it becomes normal. Any outgoing person that moves here can very easily find themselves becoming also more introverted. Just today I spoke with an English woman who has lived here for 11 years, and when she went back to England she caught herself getting frustrated if a stranger spoke to her on the bus whilst thinking "Why are you talking to me, I don't know you" (her words) and then soon realizing that she had become conditioned by the surroundings after 11 years in Oslo.
Its very very sad to see parents my age with their young children and the parents are blanking people that greet them, because how will the child learn social interaction if the parent doesn't talk to other people? Learning and social problems with the children? My hypothesis is that this is the start of the government getting worried that the next generation will be socially disabled and what would happen then? (Luckily they wont need humans soon and they will be Obsolete a nice title of an existing documentary to be watched)
They have money..
.. which is another huge problem
Consumerism is huge here, and study's have already proven that consumerism creates depression and anxiety in people because it creates an environment of competition in everyday living. Judgement of not being good enough or the reverse of thinking that being better dressed than someone else means that you are doing better in (what most people call) life will both lead in the end to depression and loss of self love and worth.
In a society where physical objects are adored, study's in materialism have found that it (could) lead to social isolation. If you ask me Oslo is living evidence that this study is true and the (could) should be erased.
The country is very big in mass..
.. and the population very few in numbers
Its already been proven that everyone's private space (that distance of which you feel uncomfortable for someone to come to) is different on the basis of where you were born. It depends on how many people were in your house whilst growing up and also the size of the house.
If you had many brothers and sisters and not a very big house, your private space would be much shorter compared to someone who was born and grew up on a farm with the closest neighbor some kilometers away, who would feel very uncomfortable with anyone getting in their larger private space.
Norway is a huge country with a small population which would mean that everyone has always had plenty of space per person, so that is a huge factor why people get nervous, agitated and ignorant when (if)they sit next to you on a bus.
On any bus in Oslo and I guess other parts of Norway, its just normal that one person sits on a chair on the window side, and then they place there bag or coat on the other so they take up two seats. Suddenly a bus built to seat 44 people has no more room after 24 people have sat down.
You wouldn't ever really believe it but the others entering the bus scan the people, judging them in some way i can imagine, to see who they will dare to sit next to. The tension is always so thick and I cant help but to sit with a huge grin whilst slowly shaking my head in disbelief.
I love it when someone come on the bus and has heavy things on them and they realize that the bus seats are all taken, or even some free where the person didn't put a bag there, they go stand in the wheelchair and luggage section, EVEN THOUGH there are spare seats to use. They then take out their phone and scroll a bit but you see they are glancing up to check out the people who they might go sit next to, and the phone is just to buy time.. is its so hilariously STRANGE - Some people will stand the whole 30 mins because they are too shy to go sit next to someone!
A Joke that I made up 10 seconds ago...
Boss: "POOJA, why are you late for work again today?"
Pooja: "Sorry Boss, I missed my stop because I took the window seat and someone came and asked if I could move my things so they could sit there, but then I was trapped and had no way to just say that I needed to get off the bus.."
Boss: " Its fine Pooja, I have the same problem most days myself"
.. Even I had to get my first smartphone to use dating apps as that is the only way to meet women here (or try your luck in the city pff..)
Its very easy to say that we have our social lives all online since years already, and obviously if you don't practice something, you eventually forget how to do it. The same can be said about being social. Its very easy to feel lonely when no one is talking to each other, and then soon enough you yourself find that you aren't wanting to talk to others because firstly they wont reply and "they are boring" and secondly you can just whip out that smart device and find conversation on there instead.
Over 50% of commuters in the morning are walking along with earphones in, most for music and some for the hands free. If they are already pretty much mute, then now they are also deaf by music, or in a sly way, they can ignore people with a reason and let them think they are listening to music even when they are not, just to avoid social interactions..
Dating here is just completely alienated. Imagine a nation with social problems that cant even talk to each other, how they find dates? I was told when I first arrived that they only date people they already know. How boring and weird is that! Tech-No-Logi (c) might enslave our minds, but at least apps like tinder help the social interaction problem a bit by sweeping the problems under the carpet, although this is also fuelling the self obsessed selfie century and making matters only worse.
In the city Fri & Saturday night..
When I came here I decided to go to the city with the guitar and play for money. I was new in the country and had noticed at once the shyness of the people but I will never forget the first time I saw Oslo on a weekend. I got off the bus and boarded a tram, and instantly I felt I was in another country completely.
There was a vibe. There was noise and loud laughter, singing and people smiling everywhere. What the hell is this I was thinking and then I soon realised this was normal people rewarding themselves..
It didn't take long before people saw me with the guitar and I was bombarded by request of shitty songs that you would here at an English wedding and also the weirdest thing was that I was touched by strangers! and even hugged and approached by a couple of Norwegian women!
I didn't stay long in the city that time to play, I had after all just an acoustic guitar and not much tolerance for drunk people chatting complete shit to me pouring our their sorrows as usual..
Hope you enjoyed a not so spoke about subject on Oslo. I have been told also that if you go a bit further from the city it gets even worse! Its a nice place to visit or if your fed up with social interaction then its also quite suited for you for longer periods of time.
Have a Great Day and remember to speak to strangers!
Big Love, @movingman