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Is grumbling a Polish attribute?


Admin 32 | 1,530 Administrator
26 Jan 2006 #1

Fashionable Complaining in Poland



A joke from my school years:

A boy comes to his father telling about his notes at school.

- Daddy, daddy, I've got "C"!
- Why not "B", my son?
- Daddy, daddy, I've got "A"!
- Why not "A+", my son?

That father only seemingly tried to encourage his child to study harder and get better grades. In fact he was dissatisfied with the good notes the kid received and he didn't mean the education at all. The joke above quite truly describes Poles and their national flaw - grumbling. It is obvious for a stranger that especially older generation cannot be pleased whatever the situation is.

Let's consider winter, beautiful Polish winter with plenty of snow, starry nights, skiing, sleighing, skating. I do understand people who have no place to go, who freeze because of not working heating and so on. They are perfectly right to complain. But grumbling just for grumbling that there is snow, the wind blows, it's cold or the streets are slippery, when it's so natural in winter, is quite annoying and makes you think Poles are really displeased with everything. Luckily there are some who consider winter as yet another chance to take fun. They use to bath and swim in freezing cold lakes and sea. We call them "morsy" - the walruses.

Continuing the topic of weather there is spring after winter. Spring means of course melting snow and heavy rains, which is the next reason to complain. Poor people have to wear raincoats and umbrellas and everything is wet and gray...how could we smile? But when someone smiles at you in the bus it's like if sun shines! Sellers are chatting as usual and from time to time we can feel as if the rain wasn't that bad. After the rainy spring comes hot and sunny summer and gives yet another reason to complain. Suddenly it's too hot! You can be burnt by the sun, you sweat all the time and when you need a drink there is no place in the garden restaurants. What a life! Fall again means rain and cold wind and days are becoming shorter... Why not complain?

But the weather is kind of a substitute when we don't complain about something else. Like the government. This is a never-ending story. First we grumble that we cannot make a choice because every politician is corrupted or will be as soon as she/he gains the power. Then there is a big problem with going to the polling station. The result naturally is not what we would expect. But that gives us an opportunity to quote that we have the worst government that have ever existed on this planet. From a certain point of view it is a reason to be proud. Those who complain most are usually the people who didn't vote at all. They think, that their vote is so insignificant that it's not worth troubling themselves to go to the elections. This is our attribute: we are proud but have no self-confidence. Only young people are able to think that even one person can change the course of the future.

Gentlemen don't talk about money. But in Poland they do. At least the so - called "new money" do. Driving the newest models of expensive cars, spending vacations abroad and swanking as hard as they can. And of course they are those who constantly complain about being penniless. No comments.

Sometimes we could think that complaining is sort of fashion in Poland. That you are "trendy" when you are not pleased with your life and surroundings. Or that it is a Polish attribute to make a big problem from a very small thing. Maybe it is so. Maybe we mix an incredible pride and a deep humbleness that don't allow us to appreciate small joys of everyday life.

At least we learned one thing: when someone asks us how we are doing, we answer: "Fine, thank you...".

------
Written by Urszula
Guest
29 Jan 2006 #2
Yep, some Polish people (being among their own Polish group at least) like to complain... However, when talking to foreigners they don't complain at all. So I guess it's sort of cultural thing that is understandable only by a native Pole.
Marzena 2 | 122
30 Jan 2006 #3
Grumbling, complaining, low self-esteem... all are so common in our old fashined part of the nation. I was always wondering what the heck was wrong with all those people. My mother is the same way, although she's the sweetest person, she is never satisfied or happy. Even when things are going well, she'll complain! How sick.

This is what I dislike most about some Polish people. I know other nationalities in which people are poor and uneducated but they are still relaxed and happy - it makes such a big difference and so much more pleasure in interacting with them.
arek
30 Jan 2006 #4
... but younger generation aren't like that, are they? I think our mothers or grandmothers like to grumble sometimes, but young people don't find it a pleasure at all :).
Marzena 2 | 122
30 Jan 2006 #5
Well, I hope you're right! :) Although the letters I get from my Polish friends are much more winey then the ones from my American/British/Swedish/Turkish...etc. friends. It is the most interesting thing, and those people are not some unsuccessful losers - quite the opposite, and they still like to complain about their lifes. But you're right, even when they do, it's completely different then what our mothers used to do.
dtaylor5632 18 | 2,007
11 May 2010 #6
Just found this thread, made me smile :)
f stop 25 | 2,513
11 May 2010 #8
I protest!
Only another Pole can understand!
There are many reasons why we always find the down-side of things. One - we are humble. When someone says 'what a beautiful dress you have", we answer: oh, this old thing? I paid too much for it. Us putting ourselves down is NOT a sign of low self esteem, it's a form of politeness.

Two: we are tinkerers - we constantly looking for things to fix. If everything is just honky-dory, we have nothing to improve.
Three: we like to be prepared. It's always better to have your umbrella than to think positive while soaking wet.
And four: we do like to have a little ache in our hearts... we like melancholy songs, yearning for unachievable goals... that's what makes us great poets and musicians.

And to me, this power of positive thinking crap is definitely much more annoying than analysing (or ripping into, or laughing at) what's wrong with the situation.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
12 May 2010 #9
Humble? Some are and some aren't. I wouldn't say so generally.

Tinkerers? Yes, that's more correct.

Prepared for what? That's a platitude.

And very pie-in-the-sky too sometimes :( ;)
ZIMMY 6 | 1,601
12 May 2010 #10
It's always better to have your umbrella than to think positive while soaking wet.

Now that is an excellent comment (I may borrow it). In fact, it is quite libertarian (there is hope for you yet).

we do like to have a little ache in our hearts.

That's what Poles have in common with southern Americans.

this power of positive thinking crap

The feminized U.S. educational system is constantly pushing "self esteem" for girls and there's lots of manure there. Hopefully, Poles never get caught up in that sort of "PC".
f stop 25 | 2,513
13 May 2010 #11
Now that is an excellent comment (I may borrow it).

well, thank you.

The feminized U.S. educational system is constantly pushing "self esteem"

Predictable. I was not surprised that you found a gender bias here as well. I see just as much, if not more, of a concern for self esteem in boys in US educational system.

BTW, The Power of Positive Thinking was coined and written by a man.
plk123 8 | 4,149
13 May 2010 #12
Grumbling, complaining, low self-esteem

grumbling or complaining surely doesn't mean low self esteem.. not at all.. however, poles do love to moan and groan for some reason.. more then others, i might add.

<Grumble>

lol

we like melancholy songs

did Chopin even write one happy tune?

a concern for self esteem ... in US educational system.

i don't really see it in education so much but definitely in sports for the little tikes where everyone is a winner.. give me a break

The Power of Positive Thinking

there is definitely truth to that one.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
13 May 2010 #13
The Scots are quite good at it. However, we tend not to follow the under-the-breath mutterings of complaint and the 'do widzenia' to say 'you served me terribly'. Simply put, there is a spark missing in many people here.

Having said that, there are many not like that. There are quite a few with get up and go that don't moan. That's what makes the moaners even worse.
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
13 May 2010 #14
he joke above quite truly describes Poles and their national flaw - grumbling.

Tell me about it! I have to live with these people under the same roof, hopefully for not much longer.

because every politician

I profoundly disagree with that one,i think you are guilty of another Polish attitude, rubbish all those who govern.
Mr Grunwald 31 | 2,103
13 May 2010 #15
Why do people talk here on this forum? Why is it all this hatred? Oh why why why why?!
What has the world come to?!

we tend not to follow the under-the-breath mutterings of complaint and the 'do widzenia' to say 'you served me terribly'.

Yeah I got that problem, I say one thing to be polite but in reality I mean something else. Got problems in my relationship to my aunt for that -.-

Thinks im her quietest little boy and all and that I have a lot of problems and that she need's to save me.

While I think she is re****ed
Seanus 15 | 19,706
13 May 2010 #16
I was told that it dates back to communist times that if you pay for sth, it must be the highest quality regardless of what you paid for it. In that case, grumbling is inevitable. In teaching, I tend not to encounter grumbling but there is always a git who is dissatisfied with sth or other. When I confront them on it, they say that everything is ok and that they don't need my help. In some classes, I just sit and look off into space as some just ignore my corrections anyway.

Old people are definitely the worst. I thought Scottish old biddies were bad but some of the old crokes here are abominable. To me, they are not worthy of being called Pan or Pani. Those titles are earned where I come from and I'm not into being nice to those that don't merit it.

Oh yes, grumble over ;) ;)
plk123 8 | 4,149
14 May 2010 #17
Those titles are earned where I come from and I'm not into being nice to those that don't merit it.

this may be one of the biggest differences between the east and the west.. and maybe one of my biggest pet peeves... respect is always forwarded not earned.. this is probably why the westerners so often come across as rude... one ought to have basic respect for their fellows from the start.. earning it makes no sense and is illogical.
Babinich 1 | 455
14 May 2010 #18
plk123

one ought to have basic respect for their fellows from the start.. earning it makes no sense and is illogical.

Ah yes, but the retention of respect is entirely a different matter.
plk123 8 | 4,149
14 May 2010 #19
well, of course it is.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
14 May 2010 #20
It's fashionable to grumble here. Some have turned it into an art form. Some advice, get over yourselves and wake up!
Amathyst 19 | 2,702
14 May 2010 #21
It's fashionable to grumble here. Some have turned it into an art form.

Whilst the Brits are famous for getting on with it...We do love a good moan..In fact, if its an art form in Poland we could decorate the Tate Modern (have you seen the size of that place?) with ours in Britain! There isnt one developed nation that doesnt moan..We love it..It makes life almost worth living.

The weather
Politics
Why are all the prawns In tesco from Indoneasia
Why are all the tomatoes from everywhere but England
Why does the person next to me on the bus smell
Why the person next to me on the bus take up half my seat too
Why are mortages so expensive
Why
Why
Why
Why
Why
Why

In infinate! And we love it!!!

Sorry Poland...You dont have a monopoly on moaning..we all do it and to an extent we enjoy it ;0)
Seanus 15 | 19,706
14 May 2010 #22
Well, Scots are mighty impressive too. We really give it some in public places. It's, frankly speaking, a laugh. The Poles are still ahead tho :)
plk123 8 | 4,149
15 May 2010 #23
Sorry Poland...You dont have a monopoly on moaning..we all do it and to an extent we enjoy it ;0)

but poland has a monopoly on not getting over things done to her by others.. right? that is a monopoly of ours.. correct?
Seanus 15 | 19,706
15 May 2010 #24
Plk123, hands down. It's off the scale :(


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