Funny how people react to criticism of Danish culture. If you start a blog in which you tackle the day-to-day situations involved in integrating into another culture and then you mention some of the not-so-good things then you open yourself up to abuse. This, I think, is ridiculous.
Now, obviously, there are foreigners who live in Denmark who are having a whale of a time. They are a good match for the culture, they don’t get any hassle from the borough, they find a nice job, their colleagues and people they meet socially are nice. These people have lovely times in Denmark. YAY! Good for them!
So, why then, do people who say they are having a great time feel the need to attack me if I say I have had problematic experiences or if I take the experiences of others and average these out and talk generally about the culture of Denmark?
The personal attacks I have had most recently are:-
- You hate Denmark
- You imagine Danes hate you
- You treat “the Danes” like animals
- You deserve to be treated like a twat
- You treat people aggressively
- You are unhappy
- You are lonely
- Any bad experiences you have are YOUR fault
- You are negative
- You are unhappy
- You cannot speak the language
Apart from being untrue, these are not arguments and they do not address my points. They are “ad hominem” and “tu quoque” arguments. They are caused by the human brain distorting reality.
- Someone else’s problems are always more simple than our own.
- Someone else’s misfortune is more likely to be their fault, where our own is seen to be in the lap of the gods.
- Our own success is seen as deserved, other’s success was pure luck.
So. If you have two people. One person has spent the last four and a half years in Fredericia and has very few Danish friends and most of her friends are from other countries, another person has spent the last year in Copenhagen and has many Danish friends.
The Copenhagen one is going to think “That Frederician girl has no friends because she’s a negative bitch.” The Frederician one is going to think “That Copenhagener has got more friends through blind luck!”
And neither would be right.
I have very few Danish friends because
- I live in Fredericia. (Famous only for its drug addicts, prostitutes and petty criminals.)
- Most of the people I work with have families and are therefore very busy
- I didn’t speak Danish when I first came
Someone in Copenhagen might have more Danish friends because
- People move to Copenhagen from their shitty Jysk villages, they are desperate to make new friends
- People in certain industries are better travelled and cosmopolitan
- Certain industries have a younger workforce, who are up for more socialisation
You could call it luck or circumstances but you most certainly could not start to blame the individuals.
How on earth could a stranger hope to make an accurate assessment of the situation based on 600 words on the internet? Even if I got someone to follow me around with a clipboard for a week/month/year, I think they would find it hard to tell me exactly what it was I was “doing wrong” because I’m not doing anything wrong. Plus, they would be more careful because a real life human being would be in front of them.
It is so easy for these so-called “positive” people to judge me and find me wanting. It is so easy to invent faults and attack me.
If they were truly positive, they would treat me graciously and with compassion. Instead, they rely on cheap attacks.
Let me tell you something, “positive” people. I have been here for nearly five years. For every one of “I am having a great time!”, there are at least three people who tell me “I am having a shit time,”. I met a woman who almost cried when she whispered “I thought it was just me.”
This shit HURTS, this shit is mentally damaging. Every time I go abroad or back home, I make new friends.
I am rather personable. If I had to stay here all year around, and I had to listen to “you get out what you put in”, I would quickly go mad.
Obviously, no one wants to be friends with Eeyore. No one wants to hear wall-to-wall whinging and whining. Fine. But that is not what I am like. I’m lovely! I go to parties where I don’t know *anyone* and chat all night. I am EXTREMELY friendly. I have a lot of friends, I make them easily, I like to have a laugh, I attend a lot of social events (I try not to say “no”), I like to listen to new people, I volunteer, I blah blah bloody blah.
I just don’t have that many Danish friends. So, it can’t be me. If I can make friends with Swedes, the Dutch, Germans and Danes; then why can’t I make friends with LOTS of Danes?
The answer is complicated and I don’t have the energy. The answer starts with they are busy enough with the friends they already have, diverges into day care has not prepared them adequately for befriending new people and ends up with they do not have the theory of mind to realise that excluding others is a dick move.
And OF COURSE it doesn’t apply to all Danes. Some of my best friends etc etc parp. It applies to SOME Danes. The Danes I am talking about.
Anyone that is tempted to talk smack about me (or others finding it hard to make a social circle here), go find a Dane that moved from one town to another. Ask them about their network of Danish friends. Are they in the new town or the old one?
I suggest you do not tell them that the reason their friends are concentrated in their home town is because they are a bad person who deserves no less. Don’t be a jerk, eh?