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Why do Polish people love to say "No" to anything you ask?


Sylvio 19 | 144
12 Nov 2018 #1
Among many cultural discoveries made over the years is that it is in Poland where I hear "No" most often in answer to my questions. Especially when looking for an item in shops or trying to get any kind of service. It seems that in peoples mind the authority is best expressed in forbidding and contradicting anything you want and say. It is such a painful contrast with USA. I only need to call at a local shop to be told. "Do not stand there"; "Don't put your bag here"; " We do not package fish the way you would like"; or "We have the fish you want but we only sell it whole, so you cant have a small cut"; " What you want we only sell on Thursdays" and so on, for ever. The government offices are no different. What is curious is Poles do not see it as anything wrong nor appologise for it. Flexibility I look for has no word in Polish dictionary. After a while one gets used to it, but I remember my first few months I felt so beaten down by this, and overwhelmed by constant proddings of "No's"and "Dont's.
Lyzko 31 | 7,799
12 Nov 2018 #2
They learned from the Russians, no doubt:-)
"Mr. & Mrs. Nyet (ski)"! LOL
mafketis 29 | 9,959
12 Nov 2018 #3
in Poland where I hear "No" most often in answer to my questions.

Rule number one: In Poland "No" does not always mean "No". Often enough it means "Convince me" or "Let's negotiate".

Flexibility I look for has no word in Polish dictionary.

Being flexible has not been a good strategy in much of Poland's history - Polish people are much more into ideas like 'pomysłowy' (ingenious) or 'zaradny' (resourceful). and learning how to get around "No"s is a big part of that.

Also a big culture rule in the US is that if you give someone bad news you have to express regret or sympathy "I'm afraid..." "Sorry, but...." while there's no such rule in Poland.
Lyzko 31 | 7,799
12 Nov 2018 #4
Seriously though, "No" can sometimes lead to a little wiggle room in negotiation. Other times, unlike in cultures with no word for "No", "No" DOES mean just that!!
Chemikiem
12 Nov 2018 #5
What is curious is Poles do not see it as anything wrong nor appologise for it.

Why would they? They have been brought up with it and it is perfectly normal to them.
Lyzko 31 | 7,799
12 Nov 2018 #6
Quite, Chem!

it's all a matter of one's cultural DNA, after all, as Prof. Pinkert contends, each one of us is circuited differently:-)
Chemikiem
12 Nov 2018 #7
it's all a matter of one's cultural DNA,

Personally I think it's a hangover from the days of communism." Nie ma ' and 'no' appear to be the norm.
To be honest, this type of topic keeps cropping up on this forum, non-natives seem to have a hard time adjusting to life in Poland and that adjustment is going to be hard if the new country is constantly compared with the native one.
Lyzko 31 | 7,799
12 Nov 2018 #8
Because nobody except for the higher-ups in the party did in fact have anything:-)
Spike31 3 | 2,433
13 Nov 2018 #9
Among many cultural discoveries made over the years is that it is in Poland where I hear "No" most often in answer to my questions

Maybe you should start asking different questions, my friend :-)

Here are few examples:

"may I offer you a place to sit [on a train]?"

"would you like me to invite you to a fancy restaurant, I'm paying?"

"Doesn't this politician look like a halfwit?"

"Nobody cooks better that grandma, am I right?"

I guarantee you'll hear "yes" more often
Lyzko 31 | 7,799
13 Nov 2018 #10
!) What do I look like, an oldie?

2) Thanks, I can afford it!

3) Quit projecting.

4) Wrong (Basically another "No")

5) Don'! think so.

And NO, Spike, you phrased those questions "perfectly"....but the answer is still N - O.
:-)
mafketis 29 | 9,959
13 Nov 2018 #11
"often

Based on experience (overhearing interactions, not first hand)

1. No, I'm getting off here (and if the offerer keeps offering) Leave me alone? Why are you bothering me?

2. Why are you being so friendly? What do you want from me?

3. He's the only honest person in government, what's wrong with you?

4. How do you know my grandmother? She never mentioned anyone like you? Leave me alone!
Lyzko 31 | 7,799
13 Nov 2018 #12
Spot on, maf ol' man!


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