sunnuntai 19. elokuuta 2012

BFF #11: Being on time

Dear all, welcome to the eleventh episode of our exciting quest of understanding Finnish culture and people. Today’s topic in BeFriending Finland is being on time. If you enjoy this, be sure to check out parts #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9 and #10 too!

Earlier this summer we discussed the topic of being on time in Finland. Since the question is apparently also a cultural one, I thought it might be fun to bring it up here in BFF. See, in general, people in Finland are on time. And the one who are not know it is regarded a bad habit.

Well, I know that's not the case everywhere in the world. My Italian friend send me a message saying: "I'm gonna be late. Sorry for my Italianness." And my reader Voti pointed out that in Africa one can be two days late and it's still okay.

If in Africa bus leaves when it's full, in Finland it leaves when it's told to leave. Exception to this rule are the trains during the winter, but that's a totally different subject. But point being that you can trust timetables in Finland.

Kuva: Arjan Richter

And you can also trust your friends to be on time, give or take five minutes. Never ever will you have to wait for two hours without getting a message of why the other is being late and when can you expect him or her to arrive. Unlike in Turkey, as I've been told.

Time is a funky thing. One always seems to have too little, the other seems to have all the time in the world. For some, being on time is a matter of respect, to others being on time is not very much of an issue. If everybody's late always, why bother being on time?

In Finland being on time is considered a matter of respect and good manners but what is the case in your country? Are you always on time? Alway late? Five minutes, five hours or five days? When does the bus leave?

1 kommentti:

  1. To be honest, punctuality only matters in Finland (besides Japan, of course). What you mentioned about Africa, totally right. When my wife did her exchange year in South-Africa as a "teacher", she always mentions the story how one of the regular _teachers_ came 45 minutes (!) late and even had the guts to ask "where is everyone?"

    The funny part being, if someone bothers about this, it's the Finns (in respect of foreigners). That's where the big bump happens. Having foreign contacts in Finland means they might not understand that if we set up a meeting at 17:00, that means 17:00 (or a bit earlier) but not 17:45 or 18:00. (the trick is to set up the meeting at 16:00, so when they're "late", they're actually on time)

    Those (Finns) who work with foreigners or have them as friends will eventually "get it" and not get mad (mad as in I never actually talk about it to anyone I just clench my fists and act like nothing is wrong) when people miss the set appointments. Unless it's something very important, like going to the movies...

    And the bus leaves at 14:10.


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