The character of Estonians has been shaped by their country’s history, natural environment, long dark winters and white summer nights. Like every citizen of a northern country, Estonians at first glance seem friendly but reserved, polite and calm but serious.
Estonians explain with the various seasons and weather conditions their moody and changing nature – dark and cold winter makes them self-absorbed, but the first rays of sunshine bring out their easygoing and carefree side.
On first encounter, foreigners may be surprised to find that approaching Estonians with warm hugs and kisses has just the opposite effect from creating an open and friendly atmosphere. Most of them at that awkward moment think – just a hand-shake would have been enough…Estonians do not tend to go to extremes with emotionality and sentimentality: opening up and trusting others on a personal level takes longer than with some other nationalities. But foreigners are advised to be patient in order to find an easy-going and fun conversation partner, a generous host and a faithful friend, who will give his or her warm hug only to special people at special moments.
Nevertheless, there are many qualities that have helped Estonians through rough times and to achieve high goals in different walks of life – an ironic sense of humour, stubbornness, curiosity, patience etc. But of course there are as many different qualities and personalities as there are Estonians.