I am not necessarily saying it is like the one place is so friendly and the other one is not, but I do, quite often here, find myself reflecting over the fact that people around me behave so very friendly. Again, not that Sweden is unfriendly but maybe rather that the Portuguese are noticeably friendly.
Of course, it may be a matter of being friendly in totally different ways, and the fact that this way is new to me, or at least friendly in a different way, makes me notice and reflect. But the fact is that already from the beginning when commenting on our experience here it has come as a natural to mention that people are so welcoming to us. Now that we have been here a bit longer the feeling is only strengthened and I realize that it really is not just about getting a nice welcoming, it is something more.
Every people and with them culture has its own trait. Sure these are prejudices and they are square and superficial and very generalizing, but even so, everybody will agree that the Italians are fashionable, the Germans organized, the Americans superficial and the Chinese hard working. Swedes, outdoor types, cold, or is that the same thing maybe?
So it makes me wonder if it may be that friendliness is actually a definable trait of character of the Portuguese? And as such a trait of the culture?
Take for example traffic. The Portuguese stop in a street in order to let a car from an opposing street cross and enter the lane, they slow down in streets with many lanes and difficulties to change lanes so that everybody can get to their specific lane of choice and they thank with their hands in the air through the car window as soon as they get the chance. And that’s not even the only thing, more remarkably I don’t think I have once seen someone in a car getting really mad with the behavior of another co-driver. Or, well, hang on, I think I have once actually, but as it happens I recognized the person and the person is a foreigner. And let me reinforce there are a lot of situations to actually get mad about, cause the Portuguese, they drive and they stop wherever they like and whenever they like. But it’s like everybody just shrugs their shoulders and thinks well well, whatever, like it doesn’t matter.
Does it even?
I guess the answer is no.
But also – it matters to me! I get all frustrated and loud voiced and frantic when others act in what I find stupid ways. But am I therefore not friendly? It can make me unfriendly, for sure, but it is not a necessary reaction. But not being calm for sure is. I have no option but not to stay calm!
So maybe it is not about friendliness, but rather the character of the Portuguese is being calm tempered?