From Iceland — Don't Ask Nanna: About Icelandic Commitmentphobia

Don’t Ask Nanna: About Icelandic Commitmentphobia

Published August 26, 2016

Don’t Ask Nanna: About Icelandic Commitmentphobia
Nanna Árnadóttir
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Hey Nanna, 

I can’t be the only one of your readers with this problem, I’m an exchange student and though I finished my term in the spring I’d like to stay in the country. To do so I need to get married but every time I bring up the possibility with my Icelandic boyfriend I can basically see his lips glue shut and I’m tired of being the only one bringing it up and waiting for an answer. 

Ready For A Ring 

Hey Ready For A Ring,

Please consider seeking professional medical help for the super glue sealant leaking into your boyfriend’s mouth. This sounds like a frightening and painful condition that he’s suffering from.


Hey Nanna, 

One thing I love about having moved to Iceland is that everyone knows each other, I run into people from work or friends all the time and that’s cool but I’m not always up for a chat, you know?

Like, last week I bumped into someone I vaguely know from the office, an acquaintance more than anything. He starts asking about when I’m moving to my new place and if I need help or whatever and then I feel obliged to ask him about you know, his kids and the summer break etc.

But the whole time I just wanted leave or blank him but I also don’t want to be rude. How do I strike that balance when I see people I don’t want to talk to in the future? 

Bad At Small Talk

Hey Bad At Small Talk,

What kind of rude bastard offers to help you move house? These assholes need to cut the flap flap flap and stop wasting your precious time, clearly. And to expect you to inquire about their offspring after offering to help you with life’s most tedious undertaking, the move! I don’t believe it!

I’m afraid I can’t help you avoid basic human decency. You either tell them, “Hey I’m happy to see you but I’m super busy and don’t have time to talk,” and then leave, an awkward undertaking I know. Or you blank them and risk being seen as rude, which, you know, you might be. At least you sound like an asshole. So just own it. Headphones help in cases where plausible deniability is necessary.


Hey Nanna,

I get the impression Icelanders are atheists, is there a reason for this? Why have so many turned away from the Christian faith?

The Light

Hey The Light,

Who gave you the impression that Icelanders are a bunch of atheists? I’ll have you know we have a very healthy attitude to “doing” religion in exchange for expensive gifts at confirmation time, having a house to get married in and a reason to force our infants into ridiculous fifty year old white knit dresses then eating bread rolls stuffed with asparagus, shrimp and a metric ton of mayonnaise.

Not me though, because I actually am an atheist. But by Thor’s Heavy Hammer I can’t quit Christmas. Take away the God stuff it’s straight up the dopest time of year. Quality Streets and National Lampoon’s? Laufabrauð and Christmas Carols? Books and nasty Yule Lads? Now, I don’t believe in heaven, but that’s what it would look like, if I wasn’t you know, dedicated to logic and truth.

Wait what was the question?


Do you want to ask Nanna a question? Go ahead, but continue at your peril. Shoot her an email on nanna.arnadottir(at) or tweet her using @NannaArnadottir

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Enough. Stop. Now.

Enough. Stop. Now.


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