Welcome the world into your living room

Meeting new friends is easy. But you’ll need coffee. 

Photo: Anniken Enger

Photo: Anniken Enger

Norwegians have a reputation for being modest and slightly reserved. Getting close to us is a challenging task, according to some visitors – at least until we’ve become properly acquainted.  

But is this really true? Or is it just a story we’ve become used to telling ourselves?   

Local joy  

As a coffee host through Kaffepause, you have the chance to correct the myth about the quiet and introverted Norwegian. 

This doesn’t mean that you have to take on the role as a suave talk show host – far from it. Being yourself – while socially curious, present and alert – goes a long way.      

No offence to lavish computer games, TV series with fire-breathing dragons, blogs or digital snapshots. Technology connects the world, and in 2019, most things in life depends on the Internet to work – including Kaffepause. 

There is, however, something truly remarkable about meeting other people, face to face. In many ways, it resembles a journey – only less stressful and far more eco-friendly. 

Long live curiosity!  

A smart tip for bringing out the best of the coffee date is to lower your shoulders, lean back and listen to what your guest is telling you. Not entirely unlike how the best talk show hosts operate, come to think about it. Be curious!  

What’s it like growing up in Manhattan? In what ways have everyday life in a big Indian city changed over the last decades? What’s winter in Kyoto like, or spring in Johannesburg? Have the citizens of Amsterdam really had it with the hordes of tourists invading the capital every summer? 

These are just a few of the things you may learn from being a coffee host. But the most important lesson when meeting someone from another place, is not how different we are, but all the similarities we share. What’s ordinary for you, may be exotic to someone else – and the other way around. 

Room for silence  

Let’s go back to the “inherited Norwegian stiffness syndrome” mentioned earlier- Of course, meeting new people who doesn’t even speak your language, can be slightly nerve-racking.   

But that’s a small price to pay for an experience that certainly will expand the horizon of both yourself and your coffee host. Still, you’re allowed to keep a conversational cheat sheet to kickstart your date.  

What’s the visitors’ first impression of Norway? Have they been here before? Are there things in the community that strikes an outsider as strange or makes them curious to learn more? 

But even if silent moments should occur during the coffee break, it doesn’t need to come across as awkward. After all, the peaceful vibe up here is one of the reasons why people visit us in the first place.   

So: Carry your calm with pride, and pay attention to your guest – after all, it’s the world talking. 

Anniken Enger