Irish and Scandinavian cultures have something in common between them, as well as with other Western cultures. Yet, people differ in their styles of interpersonal interaction and emotionality.
Scholars who study cultures and compare them have looked at Western and Eastern societies and found that they are very different. From a philosophical, social, and psychological point of view, it was easy to understand and explain this kind of cultural difference.
Everything looked simple: Europe and North America are “western” cultures, while Japan, China, and India are “eastern.” The East is more collectivistic than the West. All other nations have been beyond the scope of this distinction.
Modern researchers have looked more closely at the cultural differences between societies around the world, going beyond the traditional East-West division. They have made a more diverse cultural classification of world societies and looked at many different cultural factors and dimensions (Karandashev, 2021a).
Many modern researchers believe that Eastern and Western societies are more diverse than previously thought. Categorizing the world into East and West is simplistic and fails to convey how diverse the various nations are, even within these two cultural regions.
The Cultural Diversity of Interpersonal Interaction and Emotional Styles in the West
Cross-cultural research has revealed that people in different “Western” and “Eastern” cultures have different styles of interpersonal interaction. They experience and express their emotions in different ways (Karandashev, 2021a).
During the last several decades, researchers have found that the “Western” cultures of interpersonal relationships and emotional expressions differ in such countries as Germany, France, the United States of America, Ireland, and the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Norway, and Finland.
The Irish Style of Interpersonal Interactions and Emotions
Many people in Irish culture like the company of peers and companionate relationships. They enjoy being together and chatting with their Irish companions and friends.
Irish folks are notoriously emotional in their conversations. They are extraverted, gregarious, and cheerful in social interactions. Compared to them, people in England, Iceland, and Scandinavia are more reticent and private in their lives and feelings.
In Irish culture, public expressions of emotion are commonplace. The Irish people are emotional and openly show how they feel. People from Ireland have lively voices and are highly expressive emotionally. Their narrative expressions are frequently poetic and full of humorous stories. Humor and laughter are valued as ways to express one’s emotions. They often use humor to lighten the atmosphere of a company (Greeley, 1979, 1981; McGoldrick, 1996).
The interpersonal attitudes of Irish people are often kind and welcoming. They go to considerable lengths to maintain good manners and avoid provoking disagreement. Irish people are known to communicate in an indirect manner. They could also refrain from immediately expressing their irritation or disagreement. Instead, they will employ covert, subdued cues.
Irish people are generally warm and friendly, yet they are a bit shy when it comes to physical contact and interaction with others. Their gestures are expressive but not excessive while they are talking. When the Irish point to something they’re talking about, they usually nod their heads. Eye contact is culturally expected for many Irish during conversation and signals engagement and trust. However, the eye contact is not continuous to avoid a feeling of psychological awkwardness.
The Nordic Styles of Interpersonal Interaction and Emotion
People from the Nordic and Scandinavian cultures of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland are typically reserved. These twin implicit ethics embody their cultural values: “Keep to yourself” and “Don’t think you’re so special” (Erickson, 2005).
They tend to be reserved in their expression of emotions and keep their feelings to themselves. In this respect, they are significantly different from other European cultures, like Ireland, Italy, and Latinos (Karandashev, 2021a; McCrae & Terracciano, 2006).
Scandinavian and Nordic societies are low-contact cultures. People limit their interpersonal contacts and keep their communication distanced. Outside of their close relationships, Nordic people tend to avoid meddling questions and deep and elaborate conversations. In social interaction, they may appear passive.
In their interpersonal relationships, they are less emotionally expressive. Scandinavian cultural norms encourage moderation in the expression of emotions and emotional control(Midelfort & Midelfort, 1982; Pennebaker et al., 1996; Rodnick, 1955). People in Nordic societies have a tendency to avoid conflict, restrain aggression, and prefer practical solutions to disagreement.
Nordic people are less lively in their gestures, postures, and body movements. They laugh and smile less frequently than people from the Mediterranean and Latin American societies.
Personal autonomy and privacy are highly valued by Scandinavian cultures. People from the Nordic countries are more introverted, less vocal, and less intrusive than those from the Mediterranean and Latin American countries. They consider shyness to be a good emotional quality. They believe that shy people are introspective, sensitive, and non-obtrusive (Daun, 1995; Erickson, 2005).
Finish culture presents a typical example of the expressive style of Scandinavian countries. Finns talk to each other in silence and in monologues that move slowly and have long pauses. They listen to each other silently, yet they are still attentive during conversations. They don’t like to be interrupted by the verbal comments of others. They don’t need superficial social feedback (Nishimura, Nevgi, & Tella, 2008; Tella, 2005).
Although the Irish and Scandinavian styles of interpersonal interaction differ, they also differ from the German, French, and American ways of communication. Other western European countries also have their own culturally different expressive styles (Karandashev, 2021a).