How to befriend with Danes-1: Eat the ‘patience’ pill first

Official website of denmark

Official website of denmark

[This is the first in the series of posts, where I will share some of my personal experiences on how to befriend with Danes]

During my stay in Denmark, I have often come across the question on how to make friendship with Danish people. I was aware about the reserve nature of Danish people even before moving to Denmark. I have studied a lot about the German culture during my IT job and somehow pre-assumed that Danish culture could be similar. I am an extrovert person in nature and easily engage into conversation with others. Coming from the society where being social is like a habit, I knew that is always need a little bit of extra work to work in different culture.
So, then I was in Denmark and how things went well? This series will talk about it.

First and foremost, you need to have a lot of patience to have a friendship with Danes. They are very open in normal and initial conversation but friendship is different than regular normal conversations.

I have already started my master studies at Technical University. And we used to go to Copenhagen sometime for a little walk or hanging out with other friends.During one such day, one of the person of our department suddenly found us roaming around the round tower in Copenhagen. He is in the same department as mine apart form the fact that he and his group members are were researchers and I was just a master graduate student Still, there is something particular about Denmark is no hierarchy while socializing. You can speak to anyone without difficulties.

Let’s get back to our topic. They invited me to join them for a coffee and I agreed for it. We sat in a coffee and I sat next to a Danish person. He was also a researcher, although he did not belong to the same research group as mine but working in the same department building. I had a very interesting conversation with him for over 2 hours related to many things especially about Denmark and how individual people are named in Denmark. He was very pleased to know about my curiosity of learning Danish of my own.

Our meeting ended, weekend was over and all of us returned back to our usual day to day schedule. I have seen this person again after 3 days, as usual I have raised my hand, waved it a bit and said hi with smile. He did not reply at all. ‘Really?’ How come a person do have such a short term memory? It was just 3 days and we had 2 hours long conversation over a coffee. In my mind, I thought may be Danes like to keep private and personal life separate, so may be if I meet him again in an informal setting, he will open up? Like the last time.

Anyway, it happened 2-3 time again as he work in the same building where my department is located. I did it again as usual this is my habit to just casual hi. In the 3rd time, he reply saying hi and did ask, how I am doing, how I am finding Denmark winter etc.

Somehow, I have realized that this is what needed to befriend with Danes. Keep trying for more time until they are able to open up. I had several interactions with my friends (youngsters) in Denmark about this phenomenon. They said to me that it is very normal. Majority of the Danes are not do not know how to open up to foreigners. Either they are shy or either they are too comfortable with their Danish friends.

So, whatever the case may be, you do know that befriending with Danes just requires slightly different approach. You need to have a lot of patience initially and once you are able to establish a good level of trust, you can have Danes as a friend for your entire life. I will talk more about it in my next blog post.

Disclaimer: This entire post is based on my personal experiences.And it has to be read in the similar context.

First appeared in my blog at on 19-10-2015


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