Tag Archives: etiquette

Swimming Pool Etiquette

Winter is cold and wet in Denmark, making the prospect of doing any sort of exercise outside, such as walking or running, very easy to resist. Sitting at home is not good for anyone’s health, so we have decided on swimming as an alternative form of exercise during these cold winter months.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I would say swimming pools are not my natural habitat. I grew up swimming in the sea, and probably graced the depths of a swimming pool not more than 5-10 times in my life, none of which I distinctly remember. I also grew up in quite a conservative Catholic country.So imagine my surprise when I turned up at the pool first time!

  1. You need to shower with your clothes off. No idea WHY wearing a swimming suit while bathing is bad, but it is. Very bad. Or so I have been told.
  2. Shoes stay next to the door. Take them off as soon as you get in and don’t wear them until just before you leave.
  3. Wash yourself properly before entering the pool. With the given soap. Yeps, there’s even pictures of how you should wash in case you are confused.

So far, these are the rules I have gleaned from looking at others. All signs are in Danish, so it is a bit of a challenge to figure them out, especially since I don’t wear glasses when in water so cannot see anything much around me! Oh, and did I mention that Michael didn’t think of enlightening me beforehand? He left me to walk into a room full of Danes glaring at me with no information. Thanks huh!

Other than that I am enjoying swimming ‘for exercise’. I have always seen swimming as a leisurely activity to do with friends in summer, so it is a bit of a change. Couple this with me never having learnt how to swim besides being plonked in the sea as a kid and floating, and everyone around me being super swimmers with all the right technique, and I can say it has been an interesting experience.

Have I missed any rules or norms? Have you found any rules surprising yourself?


Phone Manners

Something that has been rumbling away in my head ever since I first heard Michael answer his phone and, more so, now that I moved to Denmark is ‘How do people answer their phones?’


Growing up I was always taught to answer the phone with a variation of ‘Hello. Who am I talking to, please?’. The caller is then expected to identify themselves and who they want to talk to if this is not clear e.g. a family phone. As a kid I was, in fact told to never give out my name before knowing who I was speaking to (if I remember well one of the reasons for this was that if the caller dialled a wrong number they don’t need to know who I am).

To me this is the natural way of answering a phone (unless it is a business line where different rules might apply, such as mentioning the company and who you are, especially if it is likely that a number of people could be answering that same number). This seems to be my impression of most people answering phones in Malta and in the UK.

However, Danish people all answer their phones by stating their name and surname. I find this strange on so many levels. First of all the caller is the one ‘intruding’ into the life of the person who is answering, and the person who holds all the cards in controlling the call at that stage. Therefore, I think it is only polite that they identify themselves first. Also, while the caller probably has a clear idea of who it might be on the other end, the person answering is often caught on the back foot immediately. Furthermore often the caller cannot understand what the first words of a call are, so stating your name becomes very redundant.

Nevertheless I was clearly told (by Danes) that ‘we are not very keen on politeness, but this is the one thing you need to follow’. So I was wondering. How do you answer your phone? And what do you consider to be the polite way?