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Showing respect and appreciation by Polish people, forms of greetings in Poland.


abu3issa 14 | 42
20 May 2013 #1
How do people show respect to one another in different situations? I'm not talking about one specific setting, I want to know many possible situations.

For example, in Japan they bow to one another, they call each other specific nicknames such as san/sama/chan, etc. Elders in a group or seniors are referred to as senpai. In my culture, kids kiss their parents hands and forehead, couples kiss each others forehead in front of their children to show their respect and appreciation to each other. we call people after their first born, for example if your son is Ali, your nickname is Abu Ali and the mother is called Umm Ali. This is a way to show respect when talking to strangers and also a way of intimacy and closeness among friends. In fact, my uncle kisses his elderly mother's hands and feet every time he goes to visit her.

I want to know more about these things. What do Polish people do normally to show respect to one another in different situations? Please tell me stories from your life and friends and family :) your habits and culture in regard of showing respect and appreciation.
Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
20 May 2013 #2
Different gestures are displayed in Poland to greet or show respect to others. These include:
--the handshake - much more frequent and common than in Anglo-Saxon culture; workmates often shake hands when they come to work each day;
--ladies first - when greeting a group of people the ladies are greeted first in order of age; ladies are also served first in restaurants; women (except for feisty, two-fisted feminists) still have their doors opened, cigarettes lit and chairs pushed in;

--hand-kissing - this was the normal way of greeting females until recently; traditionalists and the older generation still practice this gesture; trendy PM Tusk shakes women's hands, his chief opponent Kaczyński kisses their hands;

--nodding, hat tipping: when greeting someone on the street, even at a distance where hand-shaking is impossible, it is customary to tip one's hat or (if hatless) nod and say 'dzień dobry'; devout Catholic males tip their hat when passing a church;

--hat removal: when entering someone's home or church and at graveside men remove their hats in a sign of respect, whilst women do not.

NOTE: Throughout the West these and other polite practices are gradually giving way to the crude, 'cool' and casual 'slob chic', where even the concept of 'respect' is becoming increasingly rare, esepcially among the younger generations. In that respect, Poland is no exception.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,771
20 May 2013 #3
ladies first - when greeting a group of people the ladies are greeted first in order of age

A no-no nowadays. Most women don't like their age being the focus of any attention, and it is frankly rude to do so.

women (except for feisty, two-fisted feminists) still have their doors opened, cigarettes lit and chairs pushed in;

Nope, not always. Particularly in a business environment, this is seen as a huge faux pas. Trying to claim that they are "two-fisted feminists" shows that you very much think that women should be staying at home.

--hand-kissing - this was the normal way of greeting females until recently

Kissing hands is a no-no in today's Poland among anyone under the age of 65. It's simply not done unless you know the person actually appreciates it, and most don't. It is particularly disgusting/offensive when someone unknown tries it.

--nodding, hat tipping

Tipping a hat is again unheard of among anyone under the age of 65. Removing it is of course normal. Saying hello on the street is natural.

NOTE: Throughout the West these and other polite practices

No Polonius, most of these practices are seen as out of date and harking back to a time when women were expected to stay at home and be a slave rather than a person.
Jardinero 1 | 407
20 May 2013 #4
How about this one: Shoes need to go off when entering someone's home (even if hosts insist you keep then on - the one exception would be of course if hosts can be seen wearing them).

I quite like it, and it keeps the germs, etc. away! ;-)
delphiandomine 83 | 17,771
20 May 2013 #5
It is absolutely classless to ask a guest to remove their shoes - it's village behaviour, comes from the idea that people working in the fields should remove their shoes. If hosts tell you to keep them on, then keep them on!
scottie1113 7 | 898
21 May 2013 #6
I always take slippers to my friends' homes. If they're wearing them, so do I. Guess what. I always end up wearing them, and that's a good thing, especially when my socks have holes in them. :)
Harry
21 May 2013 #7
Throughout the West these and other polite practices are gradually giving way to the crude, 'cool' and casual 'slob chic'

Of course, this is mainly due to those 'musicians' playing their 'popular beats' and living their disgusting lifestyle. I wonder what kind of parents could have raised their children so badly that they grow up to become 'pop' musicians.
landora - | 199
21 May 2013 #8
It's simply not done unless you know the person actually appreciates it, and most don't.

I second that, I'd rather have mu hand chopped off then have Kaczyński kiss it!
Seriously though, it's usually parcticed by elderly, sleazy men and is, frankly speaking, disgusting. Yuck!
Paulina 9 | 1,448
21 May 2013 #9
It is absolutely classless to ask a guest to remove their shoes

I have never been asked to remove my shoes (no matter whether I was in a city or in a village) but I always do that (unless I'm dropping by just for a minute or sth). Of course, I wouldn't do that at some elegant party.

Since abu3issa is asking about showing respect to one another in different situations then I would say that in my mind taking off your shoes (or at least attempting to do that) is showing respect to the people you're visiting.
holdfast - | 1
30 Nov 2015 #10
I am an Englishman, over 65, who stumbled on this thread when looking up Polish customs. Traditional Polish courtesies seem not so far removed from traditional English courtesies. In general it is a courtesy to defer to the expectations of the other person. The tradition of kissing a lady's hand is, of course, unusual nowadays; it is not "disgusting" if done properly. The initiative should be with the woman. The man should only kiss a woman's hand if it is offered, the woman of such a tradition might then be offended if a kiss was refused. The "kiss" should merely be a dry or air kiss. It is similar to the courtesy kiss some women expect on their cheek. For the traditional kissing of the hand that may be given to a high ranking person as a pledge of duty, the woman would normally be wearing gloves.
Roger5 1 | 1,458
30 Nov 2015 #11
holdfast, do you know HM the Queen?
Rich Mazur 4 | 3,719
13 Feb 2019 #12
[moved from]

I have been all over about how the Poles overdose on and overdo that fake respect (szacunek) where none is needed. I am now back to this, but only because of what I did this morning.

Did morning, I took my two granddaughters and their dad to the airport. The weather is still perfect and the road even more so. So we talk. Just a bs stuff between two guys fate brought together and who actually like each other - at least me.

And like equals, which makes me always feel younger without that Polish bs like calling me father, dad, tatusiu, or any other and equally annoying equivalents. Just Rich and Michael.

In Poland? Forget it. Until he, my Polish FIL, was on his deathbed, he never once said to me: Rich, call me Marian. Which is what I said to Michael the day I met him and a year before he married my daughter. USA - 1, Poland - 0.
dolnoslask 5 | 2,560
13 Feb 2019 #13
, he never once said to me: Rich, call me Marian.

It's just the way it is, tradition, culture I am not sure, did you get on with him? were you friends?, Is there any need to score points over his death bed? 1 -0 Really!!!!!!
Rich Mazur 4 | 3,719
13 Feb 2019 #14
did you get on with him? were you friends?

I am glad you asked. Never. It was like walking a minefield. It was a torture to go through the evening and not being allowed (by that idiotic tradition) to call somebody by his first name. In Polish, I couldn't even ask gdzie ty byles (where were you). That is why I went full Anglo ASAP and never looked back.
dolnoslask 5 | 2,560
13 Feb 2019 #15
Never. It was like walking a minefield.

Sorry to hear that Rich, I guess as they say you can choose your friends but not your family.
Rich Mazur 4 | 3,719
13 Feb 2019 #16
Don't tell them that. I mean my daughters. They would likely say no kidding or something like that.
Seriously, in large part, I blame myself for not having the balls to resolve this situation with a simple "hey, about it" conversation with him.
dolnoslask 5 | 2,560
13 Feb 2019 #17
Yeah but probably like me that is only a lesson you learn when it is too late, did you ever listen to " living years by mike and the mechanics"

I don't think you need to blame yourself, my father was a Polish tough old boot very traditional, sometimes that would clash with the values I was getting living in my host country (UK).
Rich Mazur 4 | 3,719
13 Feb 2019 #18
My problem is that my kids went leftie on me. There no subject safe enough beyond how wonderful their kids are. Maybe it's for the better.
Lyzko 24 | 6,765
13 Feb 2019 #19
As I'm fond of saying, I never tire of the proverbial hand kiss whenever a lady walks into the room as part of the initial introduction, and I never will.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,771
13 Feb 2019 #20
It's a faux pas in Poland among liberal circles these days. It's seen as a rather disgusting and forceful thing to do unless the lady offers her hand.
dolnoslask 5 | 2,560
13 Feb 2019 #21
So its ok for a Polish girl to kiss me on the cheeks three times, I don't mean a faux kiss but full on lips as they do.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,771
13 Feb 2019 #22
If they initiate it, of course it's fine. Just don't grab their hands and slobber all over it unless they physically present it to you for a kiss (and even then, you're supposed to air kiss, not actually make contact).
dolnoslask 5 | 2,560
13 Feb 2019 #23
If they initiate it, of course it's fine.

No it's not, to refuse and pull away would cause an awkward social problem, so you get kissed like it or not.

Plus you get covered in cheap perfume and you have to go to the toilet to clean off the lipstick oh and then try and wash the foundation cream/powder off your 500zl shirt.
Lyzko 24 | 6,765
13 Feb 2019 #24
Saw a movie from the mid-2000's "Rozdrodzy Café" and again was delighted to see a bunch of young Marlon-Brando types who invited several female friends for supper at their house, greeting each with the (in-)famous, reviled hand kiss.

They seemed to love it.
terri 1 | 1,632
14 Feb 2019 #25
I spend almost 6 months in Poland (few trips throughout the year) and extend my hand to men over 40 who still 'blow kiss' it. These are men that I know very well who still call me 'pani'. I would not expect a young man to kiss my hand but rather to shake it upon meeting me.
Lyzko 24 | 6,765
14 Feb 2019 #26
To each his/her own, I guess!

See I'm just a sucker for cavalier behavior and superficial charm:-)


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