There’s a lot of space in Finland, we are after all the third most sparsely populated country in Europe after Iceland and Norway. So the concept of personal space can go to extremes at times.
Sometimes proximity to strangers is unavoidable, for example in public transport. Thankfully there’s an unspoken etiquette about how you should behave in such situations.
Finns prefer as little contact as possible so on entering the bus, avoid eye contact with everyone, including the driver. In Helsinki if you greet the driver people will immediately know you’re from the countryside or a foreigner. I do it for the spite of it and you can tell even the drivers are puzzled by it.
Finding a seat is a critical part of your journey. You firstly need to locate a free row, preferably as far as possible from everyone else. If you’re going to a bus you know will be full later on, try to choose a seat at the back where people would only come as a last resort.
You only ever sit next to someone if there are no more free rows. If you sit next to someone when there’s a free row of seats somewhere in the bus you’re deemed a creep.
If the unfortunate case happens that the bus is full and you need to sit next to someone, the trick is to try and appear invisible. Squeeze into as little space as possible, don’t make a sound and get off as soon as possible.