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Provo speaker: Wants Danes to be friendly

Danes should turn a ‘negative’ politeness into ‘positive’, says author before Copenhagen’s TEDtalk. But Non-Danes can learn something too

On-going research sees Denmark rated as the happiest nation in the world. Yet Danes have an unfriendly, stand-offish image in surveys of visitors. So why doesn’t the happiness translate to friendliness?

The smiley author of the cultural manifesto ‘F*cking Flink’ (‘F***ing Friendly’. In Danish, the F-word is not as provocative as in English, therefore our choice to use the dots…, ed.), Lars AP is committed to spreading positivity and Karma throughout the nation. And in an exclusive interview with the University Post ahead of his talk at the TEDXCopenhagen event next week, Lars suggests that native Danes and visiting internationals are missing out on worthwhile cultural exchanges.

»We need a change in people’s behaviour. Danes have a lot of cultural baggage and fail to acknowledge the similarities they have with visiting students.«

Should be more inclusive

He proffers advice to Danes: »In order to make foreigners feel at home, you should welcome them into your home. Be friendly, not hostile. You’ll be surprised with how much you have in common.«

Lars’ lecture and book focuses on changing the mentality of Danes. But to the University Post he apportions some of the blame on incoming visitors. With thousands of students trying and failing to blend in with the local hygge vibes, they need to be more daring amongst the notoriously closed-off Danes, Lars says.

»Danish culture has a negative politeness; they most often leave each other alone. Other nations have a positive politeness, which means they are more inclusive and conversational,« he says.

Tune in after Tuesday

»Although Danes could be more welcoming, international students need an arsenal of intriguing techniques so that they are better armed to take the initiative and meet the locals. It takes two to tango.«

If you are a Dane looking for friendly insight, or an international student wanting to find out more, then be sure to tune in to Lars AP’s TEDtalk.

The TEDXCopenhagen event is on Tuesday 18 September at the Bremen Theatre in town. Tickets are sold out, but the whole event will be streamed online. Visit the event website for more info.

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