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What you should know about dating in Norway

Here are some of the social norms of dating in Norway. Pictured is two people on a date.
Here are some of the social norms of dating in Norway. Pictured is two people on a date. Photo by René Ranisch on Unsplash.
If you’re new to the dating pool in Norway, we kindly advise ditching expectations of the traditional combo of dinner and a movie.

The cultural norms of dating in Norway

Sure, Norwegians eat dinner. And they enjoy going to the movies. But somehow, they haven’t made the two activities a typical part of “getting to know someone”. Of course, one might point the blame on the fact that the average cost of a dinner and a movie is too extravagant to blow on with someone you hardly know.

The progression of getting to know a potential partner may feel a little backwards in this country. Or sometimes, put on an eternal pause. A typical first date in Norway will happen over drinks and progress quickly in a physical sense. Casual sex in Norway is a big part of “getting to know someone” in this country. 

By no means is it expected of you. And, of course, you can get to know someone at your own pace. But don’t be surprised if the person you’ve been casually flirting with at the bar tries to jump in a taxi with you back to your place. 

You can leave your heels and freshly shined leather shoes while getting ready for your first date with someone new. In the office, out to a birthday party, or on a date. Norwegians are often very casual in dressing for what some foreigners may view as a formal event. 

So, who pays? This is, of course, situational. But as a rule of thumb, you should expect to pay for your own drinks, dinner, and whatever activity the two of you do together. Your date isn’t being cheap if they don’t offer to pay.

If you find splitting the tab down the middle too stiff and impersonal, it wouldn’t be odd if you offered to get the first round while they got the second. Or if they pay for dinner because you picked up the concert tickets.

Who asks who out? 

Another part of dating in Norway that allows you to throw the outdated rule book out the window is that there is no expectation on who should ask who out. Just like with paying for your own drinks and food, equality is alive and well in Norway.

The most popular apps

Like many other aspects of our lives, social media has carved out a space for itself. This is especially true for the influence it has played on the dating culture in Norway. 

Dating apps such as Tinder, Match, and Happen are popular platforms for meeting potential partners. There is no shame or hush hush tones about online dating in this country. And sharing stories with your friends and close colleagues about the people you have met while swiping through them is a typical conversation to have.

Using these apps in Norway comes with a word of warning. However much you feel you have made a match with someone, don’t get your hopes up until you’ve met them in person. Unfortunately, sudden silence from a potential future date, or “ghosting”, is a standard part of Norwegian dating culture in the digital world

Dating apps are popular. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t meet a potential partner while out and about. Don’t expect to get asked out in the grocery store or while in line to get your morning cappuccino. Most Norwegians practised social distancing even before it became mandatory. But if you are out to drink with friends in a bar. Or, in a more lively (booze-filled) event, it is the social norm to approach someone who caught your eye. 

Useful dating vocabulary 

Skal vi ta noen pils? – Should we go out for some beers? 

Møteplass – meeting spot 

Jeg liker deg – I like you 

Flørting – flirting 

Have your say 

It isn’t easy to discuss the dating norms of an entire country. So whether you have found this article to be spot on or want to share how you’ve experienced dating life in Norway, we’d love to hear from you! 

We want to know more about your personal experiences and impressions of dating in Norway. So take a moment to fill out this survey The Local has put together, and we’ll share your thoughts in a future article. We hope to share accurate details and truthful tips to anyone considering dipping their feet into the dating pool in Norway. 

 


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