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Cultural habits

Finns are a famously taciturn people who have little time for small talk or social niceties, so don't expect to hear phrases like "thank you" or "you're welcome" too often. The Finnish language lacks a specific word for "please", so Finns sometimes forget to use it when speaking English, even when they don't mean to be rude. The lack of niceties has more to do with the fact that in Finnish culture honesty is highly regarded.

Another highly regarded virtue in Finland is punctuality. A visitor should apologize even for being late for a few minutes. Being late for longer usually requires a short explanation. 15 minutes is usually considered the threshold between being "acceptably" late and very late. If you come late for a meeting or a training, you will usually have to pay “sakko” (a fine) for your team. Most teams have their own fining system for breaking the commonly agreed team rules and good manners.

The standard formal greeting is a handshake. Hugs and kisses, even on the cheek, are only exchanged between family members and close friends. If you go to a locker room people usually greet you with high fives or fist bumps instead of hugs and kisses on the cheek.

When speaking Finnish, it is common to be on first-name terms with other people. First-name terms are also used among strangers and colleagues. Also, in a football team players address their coach on first-name terms instead of last-name terms. Addressing others formally is reserved only for highly formal occasions. It is, however, a good idea to address elderly people more formally. If you are invited to a Finnish home, it is recommended to remove your shoes. For much of the year shoes will carry a lot of snow or mud, and therefore it is customary to remove them, even during the summer. However, in a locker room it is common to wear shoes or sandals.

Sauna is an essential part of the Finnish culture. There are five million inhabitants and one and a half million saunas in Finland. For Finnish people sauna is a place for relaxing with friends and family, a place for physical and spiritual relaxation. Finns think of saunas not so much as a luxury, but as a necessity. There are saunas in many locker rooms and the most common way for Finns to celebrate with the team is to arrange a sauna night which usually includes going to a sauna, eating, and having a couple of drinks with teammates.