Fucking Flink Live

The Flink movement is something I have banged on about covered here a few times. I guess it steams my milk because it is something I desire for Denmark but feel like a terrible imperialist by trying to be the change I want to see in the world.

I have previous, London has a rep for being cold and rude so as soon as I moved there, I was double polite and friendly to try to tip the balance. What helped was that I called myself a Londoner within about 10 months of living there. I have lived in Denmark for 18 months longer than in London and I still call myself a Londoner and not a Dane. (I lived in Cardiff and Stafford for six years each and I never said I was from there so maybe it’s because Londoners can be outsiders to London)

I digress. The Fucking Flink movement, is to try to introduce a bit of kindness and consideration between strangers in public in Denmark.

Political considerations aside, it is this unkindness and lack of consideration that I like least about living here. When people are kind or considerate here, I think about it all day. All day.

Lars AP was persuaded to come to Fredericia by the library. What a treat! Another digression: when I tell people that I don’t get on with Danish culture, if they come from somewhere else they blame F town. Outrageous. There’s loads going for my town.

He started by talking about how Danes are the happiest. He seemed convinced by the studies (I am unconvinced by that’s by the by) but he brought up the paradox: If Danes are so happy, why don’t they have the energy to spread the joy?

If it were my talk, my question would be “studies show that if strangers smile at you, you feel much happier than if they scowl or ignore you in a walking down the street situation. How on EARTH are Danes happy?” But it wasn’t so there we are.

He also revealed that as a bilingual child, he was aware that in English he was more outgoing, curious, kind and friendly than in Danish. He also used the dirty word for bilingual to describe himself, several times, so I am in love.

With that set up, he talked about how “Flink” isn’t a sexy word and not something people aspire to. I didn’t know that. In English “nice” is unsexy (friend zone) but “considerate”, “curious”, “friendly” and “kind” are neutral. Maybe a bit sexy depending on the context.

Then he gave five ways of increasing Flink interactions. His main thrust was it starts with the individual, it is nice to be nice and so on.

When he asked the audience (80% pensioners), what they could do to make Fredericia famous for flinkhed, the discussion was limited by imagination. Not that they were bad ideas. Just limited. They need more coaching.

For example, the first few things were about how to persuade others to be more Flink in the dog poo situation. Irresponsible dog owners leave dog poo on the streets. The majority of the discussion was about how to get them to pick it up. Poking Danish flags in the turds was suggested. But I had always taken that to be more passive aggressive than Flink. I’m not knocking it, it works!

Then there was talk about getting the borough to introduce a Flink initiative. Another guy blamed the press for focusing on “negative” stories. Lars put both of these back on the individual. “Make the positive news more newsworthy and the media will run with it.” for example.

It seems to me that the ones willing to share with the group had missed the point. This journey starts beneath our feet. We need to be kinder and funnier with strangers. How can WE do that? What behaviours of ours are the equivalent of leaving poop in the street? What can we do ourselves to make things better for everyone? There’s no point waiting on the borough to do something and it’s not especially Flink to try to modify the poor behaviour of others with passive aggression.

I am excited because maybe the movement will strike a chord and things will change but I’m also nervous because it looks like I’ll need to roll up my own sleeves.

A lack of familiarity with flinkhed has led to a lack of facility with it. The people of my town need to be shown and not told. Over and over. But I am hopeful even though I am over faced by the challenge.

2 thoughts on “Fucking Flink Live

  1. Funny! Was at one of Expat in DK’s Why are the Danes so weird events on Tuesday, presented by Dennis Nørmark, who as an anthropologist has statistics to show how Danes fall into extremes of behaviour, while at the same time hate difference…he ruined it at the end though by going on about how the Danes are just shy, we should give them a chance. NOOOO!

    I have two dogs, that can help with getting positive interactions (I usually samle op), although attitudes to dog ownership, training etc are a whole other story.

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  2. “When people are kind or considerate here, I think about it all day. All day.”
    I get a look of shocked surprise on my face when it happens. Saw my reflection in the metro the other day when a Dane gave up her seat to an old guy … I looked like someone who had just been handed a big bag of money.

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