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The Art of Complaining by Polish people

18 Dec 2010 #1
I found nice amusing column article. Really love it. I think many PF users will find it on the spot!

The ability to complain bitterly and at great length is an important skill in Poland. When you start to learn Polish one of the first verbs they teach you is 'narzekać.' It's right there on page three, just after weather and professions: "This is Pan Kamiński. Pan Kamiński is complaining to his wife. Pan Kamiński's wife is a lighthouse keeper. She does not like fog." It's all useful stuff.
wildrover 98 | 4,451
18 Dec 2010 #2
Ha....yes i would say that sums up my experiance of my Polish friends , but its a little different among close friends , i can complain about Polish stuff , and they about the UK , without anyone being offended....
f stop 25 | 2,513
18 Dec 2010 #3
Yes! It is a form of entertainment.
PlasticPole 7 | 2,649
18 Dec 2010 #4
Complaining can be viewed as constructive criticism. Someone complains then something is done to rectify the situation. If no one complained, change for the better would not be possible. People would fatalistically accept everything that comes their way, shrugging their shoulders helplessly.
noreenb 7 | 557
18 Dec 2010 #5
I think complaining can be also said in a nice way. It depends on somebody's voice. People have often a distance to complaining because it is often considered as our national treat. It drives me mad a bit.

I also agree with PlasticPole that it might be constructive in many cases.
You can thanks to it notice more optimistical/lighter aspects of a situation. You disagree with somebody and thanks to it you can see more clearly what is not good, what has to be improved, what should be changed for better...

However "what a wonderful evening" sounds a lot better than: "what a s****, cold, winter day".
trener zolwia 1 | 940
18 Dec 2010 #6
Someone complains then something is done to rectify the situation. If no one complained, change for the better would not be possible.

Not all change is for the better. Everyone is an activist these days. Our society and country needs to start telling the professional complainers NO.
Plato - | 10
18 Dec 2010 #7
Unfortunately western etiquette invades our beloved fatherland and asking someone "Jak sie masz?" gives you just a blunt "dobrze, dzięki" - inhonest lying youngsters!
Trevek 26 | 1,702
18 Dec 2010 #8
If no one complained, change for the better would not be possible.

But often they do. Complaining loudly is often because you feel nothing would get done anyway.

I tried to teach my students to write letters of complaint and they just looked at me and asked why anyone would bother. They were dumbfounded to hear that, yes, I had actually got a few refunds for things with a decent letter...

"Ah, but that was in Britain, wasn't it?"
PlasticPole 7 | 2,649
18 Dec 2010 #9
Complaining loudly is often because you feel nothing would get done anyway.

Well, sometimes things get done, sometimes not. It can go either way.
Marynka11 4 | 675
19 Dec 2010 #10
Complaining is just Polish version of small talk. British talk about the weather, Americans talk about how wonderful everything is, and Polish complain. :)
Seanus 15 | 19,706
19 Dec 2010 #11
It's certainly a trait here, of that there can be no debate. Many seem to know that I know Polish but how can they before I speak? At any rate, they lay it on thick when I'm sitting waiting for a service. I really feel bad for doctors here although it was probably part of their training to handle it.
pawian 176 | 14,299
9 Aug 2013 #12
Merged: Polish penchant for complaining exploited in ad campaign

Come and Complain is an advertising project presenting amusingly Poland and the Polish culture. It is based on what the Poles like to do the most - complain...

The first clip is obviously stupid:

Next two are a little better: Sht, I don`t want to complain but these ads are a bit silly....
Radomir - | 1
9 Aug 2013 #13
Those ads made my day, especially the second one. All my polish language teachers were aware that polish culture is well-known all over the world. But it's a fact that we have some kind of complex, we think that we are worse than the other nations.

Btw, welcome, my first post on this forum :)
Slavictor 6 | 195
27 Apr 2018 #15

Inherent behaviours of Polish people

My Dad would always say that arguing and complaining is the Slavic way. I thought that was a dreary opinion, but as with all stereotypes there is basis in truth. If this "Slavism" is true, then at least one knows what to expect and how to deal with it.

I'm going to add some universal behavioral characteristic assessments of the Polish folk to this thread and we can compare notes.
30 Apr 2018 #16
They moan and complain about everything! Moan, moan moan. Complain even when things are going well! Mostly men. Miserable sods! Waste of energy and effort. They would be far more productive if instead of moaning actually did something positive!
Lyzko 28 | 7,001
30 Apr 2018 #17
Guess the Poles have been taking lessons from the Viennese!
Slavictor 6 | 195
2 May 2018 #18
Let's begin with bragging. That is, Poles more often than generally, don't. Perhaps new Grandparents would be an exception. Poles will spout a long list of failures but any successes are rarely mentioned. Poles rarely mention their achievements. True or False?
Sylvio 18 | 138
2 May 2018 #19
Complaining is the only pathway to improving anything..thats why stores who care about their trade keep a watchful eye for any sign thereof. Keep your mouth closed and watch standards of everything slide down and down..
NoToForeigners 10 | 1,049
2 May 2018 #20
No complain = no progress. Just look at the British young. Most are trash junkies wearing old worn clothes smelling marijuana.
jon357 63 | 15,533
2 May 2018 #21
Complaining is the only pathway to improving anything

Poles can sometimes be perfectionists to a fault, and complain loudly to each other if something isn't as they think it should be. It isn't in any sense a land of stoical silence.
Lyzko 28 | 7,001
3 May 2018 #22
Again, it seems they've been learning this fine art from their Austrian neighbors:-)
johnny reb 28 | 4,750
3 May 2018 #23
Polish people do not complain, Polish people grumble.
Big difference.
kaprys 3 | 2,496
3 May 2018 #24
So even Polish complaining is not inherent to Poland?
Poland doesn't even border Austria.

As for complaining, I can complain about foreigners thinking Polish characteristics, traditions, language etc are heavily influenced by Germans/Russians/Americans (the list goes on). As much as cultures mix and influence others, there are certain things that are typical to different European nations - still it would be an exaggeration to say they apply to all people from a given culture/country/circle.

As for complaining or grumbling, why do some expect others to be happy and bubbly all the time?
Personally, I don't like it when people complain about things all the time but being around happy- bubbly people all the time might be tiresome, too.

And since generations of Poles have experienced some tough life, people often choose not to praise things so that they don't appear conceited or żeby nie zapeszyc ;)
Lyzko 28 | 7,001
3 May 2018 #25
I was simply making a joke apropos, nothing more!:-)

In fact, the art of complaining has become part of the Austrian, especially, Viennese, lingo from time immemorial. Optimism in Vienna (having lived there for a time) is often suspect and considered too "American" for most people's traditional tastes. Only recently, according to the NYT, is positive thinking in France actually being given intellectual credence. Go figure. That apparently it's also a Polish trait I heard for the first time just several days ago when I read the current thread!
Slavictor 6 | 195
6 May 2018 #26
Poles do have a sense of National pride, but are at times hesitant to show it publicly. A lack of National self-confidence? Perhaps illustrated by constantly comparing Poland to other countries. Yes?
kaprys 3 | 2,496
6 May 2018 #27

It's just stereotyping or lack of education/experience on the part of foreigners.
Lyzko 28 | 7,001
6 May 2018 #28
So true! No one country has a monopoly on any set behavior pattern.
Slavictor 6 | 195
11 May 2018 #29
It's just stereotyping or lack of education/experience on the part of foreigners

Actually, these points are from a book written by two Polish Women (Anna Spysz & Marta Turek w/ forward by Lech Walesa) that I'm reading. I wasn't finished posting what they posited but I can now.
kaprys 3 | 2,496
11 May 2018 #30
I was talking about something elementy.
As for the 'book', I have just googled it and read the reviews. The authors are said to be Polish Americans (information from lubimy czytać.pl ) and it's far from being a profound reading - anecdotes, funny stereotypes etc.

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