For a good time call…

So, Danish people are really weird about contact information. Really, really weird.

Normally, if you meet someone randomly and you both realize you don’t hate eachother, you seal that special bond of mutual tolerance with some self-disclosure. A name, a favorite color, whatever.  Then, if you find you actually enjoy hanging out and would like to not leave the next encounter to pure chance, you exchange contact information of some sort.

Apparently this isn’t how it works in Denmark. As best as I can tell, each Dane is born with a limited number of times they can give out contact information. If they use it up, they get kicked out of the country and have to live in Finland. (To the Danes whose contact information I already have, thank you and sorry in advance about your imminent deportation) This is the only logical explanation I have with how weird they get when it gets to that point of the interaction.

Ryan and I went out a few weeks ago and met some Danes. We hung out with them all night, they came out with us to get breakfast, watched out for us to be sure we didn’t get lost, bought us some drinks, and generally had a good time.   Everyone seemed to enjoy hanging out. Come morning, asking for contact information for anyone in the group was like pulling teeth. I think the first attempt was Ryan saying “So, you guys have our contact info, right?” followed by a “nope” and crickets sounding off in the distance.
“Well…should we fix that?”  “Hm, fix what? What’re we talking about again?”

Eventually, Ryan’s ability to out-wait any awkward situation won over and one of the guys in the group reluctantly gave us his phone number, with that look of despair knowing he’d never see his friends and family again.

I’ve talked with other foreigners about this, and they’ve witnessed the same thing out here. I thought it was a European thing at first, or maybe I’m just super pushy, but, again, Denmark seems to be special in this regard. I never saw this in Germany, and didn’t see it when I went back a few weeks ago.

I have about a dozen more stories from myself and other foreigners here of this same odd behavior.  As far as I can tell, it’s nothing impolite and it’s not a sign they don’t like you. Maybe I just don’t appreciate the sacred covenant of trust I’m given when I get ability to make a person’s phone vibrate from a distance.

As of a few days ago, I decided I’ll try specifically finding non-Danes and see what that’s like.  I’ve already found tons of really fun people from all over Europe (and US expats too) who are totally normal about contact info.  And, I have to say, I’m enjoying it!

So, I guess I’ll have to wait longer to figure out why the Danes are like this. Until I understand it better, I’m just gonna go with my strict deportation theory and let people continue being strange.

One comment

  1. I totally understand you. It happened to me as well… And you would be lucky if the same Danes, who were super nice, paid you drinks and looked after you said hello, how are you the day after, when you come across them on the street.

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