/ My Polish girlfriend checks my mobile phone all the time
You offended me with what you said and it would be nice if you dared to apologise.
I was actually talking about telling the truth/lying in general, and not about checking phones, but if you are offended, I am sorry. However, I stand by what I said. Having said that, I said it quite lightly and didn't go into the full case. As follows:
I can't speak for all British people, but I can speak for a solid middle-class upbringing and what was instilled into me at home, and at school (a private school, so I can't speak for state schools). I represent a particular English type and was effectively brought up on wartime values. I had the following regularly and very emphatically drilled into me, as did we all:
- You must always tell the truth.
- If you have done something wrong, you MUST own up. (eg, in the classroom - the whole class will be punished if the culprit doesn't own up, etc.)
- It is always better to tell the truth.
- There is nothing more repulsive than a liar.
Additionally, in exams, that a cheat was the lowest form of life, and that cheating was absolutely not on.
I was taught that certain things just weren't on - weren't acceptable. That decent people didn't behave like that.
I never gave it much thought until I started my adventures in Poland and Polishdom. First example: I was teaching a group of fantastic women in Poland in the 90s. They had to pass their First Cert in order to keep their jobs, as they were all teachers. I had known them about 6 months when we started doing mock exams. They were great people, and very serious about their English, so I thought it practically unnecessary to say at the start of the exam that of course there should be no cheating - but I still said it, as I had heard it so many times myself, that it was just the standard form. When they had finished the exam, I jokingly asked who had cheated. All those women, save one, put their hands up, laughing. I, being young and naive, almost fainted with shock. They had CHEATED? In an exam? And were teachers? And were laughing about it?
I am not saying they were bad people or did something wrong. In their culture, I learnt and observed, lying and cheating the system was an ingrained thing. You were EXPECTED to cheat. If you didn't cheat you were considered stupid. And in the circumstances in which they had been brought up, and their parents, indeed it would have been very foolish - life-threatening, even - to tell the bald truth all the time.
I learnt that of course there are situations where one has to deceive in order to survive, or to thrive. The 'everyone must tell the truth' rule only works if everyone does it ... that is why my parents and school were so adamant about it. And in Poland, people regularly lie and don't feel bad at all about it. In a certain stratum of English society, people rarely lie, and if they do, they feel bad. Of course, there are white lies (to save face, to save someone else's dignity), which aren't so bad, but there are other deceptions - such as cheating in an exam - that have a direct reflection on your intrinsic worth as a person. On your decency, or not.
Forgive me, but I suspect you probably haven't had enough exposure to English culture to know where I am coming from on this. Your one boyfriend is not enough of an example. How old is he? Where is he from? Etc. And the traditional British model of decency DOES have honesty as one of its cornerstones. And please don't tell me that you are taught to tell the truth in the same way in Poland, because that isn't true. I have observed for many years now, all sorts of people, in all sorts of situations. I understand why there is this tacit acceptance of the necessity for deception in some situations, but I feel it clash with my own upbringing. And the one thing I certainly do have authority to talk on is that.
So ... in conclusion, yes, sorry, I chucked out a comment without backing it up. And your English bf is jealous and checks your phone all the time. And if you watch 'Dad's Army', all the episodes, you might discern some of the values I'm trying to explain here. And they are very English, if not British. And Poles have a different culture.
polish lie blatantly and in offenisve way,that is why they are not so often excused by the others.
exactly. as usual, southern, you have said more effectively in less than a sentence what i tried to say in 25 paragraphs ...