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Have many Poles had enough of one another?


Seanus 15 | 19,706
15 Aug 2011 #1
Now, while many Poles get together for drinks, work closely together in their workplaces, cheer on their national teams etc etc, I have noticed that there is a distinct apathy and even outright disdain in many places I go to in the context of interpersonal interaction. The infamous 'do widzenia na odpie*dol się' I have alluded to in the past is still ever present. No attempt to even look at those they are serving. The efforts to communicate in a range of places are light at best. I'm hearing more and more that Poles want to leave.

Shops are the best places to witness silent hostility (a nice paradox). It's almost like they don't want to acknowledge one another at all. I'm mostly in there smiling and putting out good energy but these creeps are just looking for trouble or sth to moan about. In Aberdeen, many local shopkeepers perk up when their favourite locals come in for a chat and to purchase sth but here, it's like 'oh, you again, what do you want?'.

As a teacher, I am in regular contact with a lot of people as part of my job. That entails listening to their various woes and I can see that it stems from their inability to be positive regardless. It's always the other person's fault. Being successful in your job means channeling your energy into it and not tiring yourself out with negativity. Sometimes it just takes one person to have the drive to instigate change.

That's enough for now as an OP.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,387
15 Aug 2011 #2
In Aberdeen

anywhere but Poland.

many local shopkeepers perk up when their favourite locals come in

there are of course some shopkeepers here who value their customers and show it.

but here, it's like 'oh, you again, what do you want?'.

i've walked out of shops because of this.

but today is a holiday, the shops are closed, and i don't care.

It's always the other person's fault.

welcome to Poland.

the way people do things here adds to the novelty of living here. there are miserable buggers everywhere.
OP Seanus 15 | 19,706
15 Aug 2011 #3
Anywhere but Poland, perhaps :) I noticed they were a bit aloof on Fuerteventura but I put that down to it being a super laidback island culture. They still looked at me :)

Your second point, true. People are people and I don't want to be overly one-sided here at all. I've witnessed a fair bit of openness and decency and that shouldn't be pushed aside. However, you have to be in the right place to see it.

I've done so before too. You lived in England for quite a long time Wrocław, yes? I guess it is the same as in Scotland whereby if the shopkeeper sees you waiting in the queue, he/she will signal across to you to be patient and that they are doing their best to wade through the shopping items of those ahead of you. Here, many couldn't care less. They keep their heads down and make no gestures at all.

The novelty factor, a nice way of looking at it :) :) I really get the impression that some are at the end of their tether but I've seen good teamwork and I know that projects can be successful as a result. Drop the ego, pride and the rest will come easier.
brisrodney 1 | 18
15 Aug 2011 #4
Out of Poland Poles swarm together like honey bees looking out for each other. That's what I have seen.
OP Seanus 15 | 19,706
15 Aug 2011 #5
Some do and some don't so quit with the half-truths, please.
plgrl
15 Aug 2011 #6
Have many Poles had enough of one another?

Do you already know a useful Polish expression: najchętniej utopili by siebie na wzajem w łyżce wody? It pretty well sums up relationships among Polish society. ;)

Being seriouse, there is much tolerance for someone's bad mood so the people feel free to announce their bad day to everyone around.

Out of Poland Poles swarm together like honey bees looking out for each other.

That's strange because among Poles there is a stereotype that Poles abroad eagerly use other Poles, so it's better to watch out and keep away from them.
OP Seanus 15 | 19,706
15 Aug 2011 #7
They would most willingly drown themselves and each other in tears of water?? That they would cry their bleeding hearts out to each other, you mean?

Yes but the bad mood is often from self pity. Do you think the most successful societies in the world were predicated on that basis?

Tolerance is one thing, decency is another. Respect for the space of others and not harming their ears is important too.
brisrodney 1 | 18
15 Aug 2011 #8
I'm hearing more and more that Poles want to leave.

Yep, the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence.
OP Seanus 15 | 19,706
15 Aug 2011 #9
Now that's a better statement. There is this idealism that somehow things will be better but life's what you make it.
brisrodney 1 | 18
15 Aug 2011 #10
That's strange because among Poles there is a stereotype that Poles abroad eagerly use other Poles, so it's better to watch out and keep away from them.

Do you think that it may be something of a rumour started during Soviet times to keep them in Poland that is still believed nowdays? Certainly not what I have witnessed.
plgrl
15 Aug 2011 #11
cry their bleeding hearts out to each other

I don't know what doeas it mean, but to be willinng to drown someone is a spoon of water means to hate somebody so much that you even would drown that person in a spoon of water if it was possible.
OP Seanus 15 | 19,706
15 Aug 2011 #12
I know plenty Poles that would disagree with you, bris.

Aha, spoon. I read 'tears', sorry. I've never heard that one but it can't be that popular, surely. It's very hateful.
brisrodney 1 | 18
15 Aug 2011 #13
There is this idealism that somehow things will be better but life's what you make it.

Totally agree with you.

I know plenty Poles that would disagree with you, bris.

Maybe it's a generational thing, the newer generations might have different thoughts but my fathers generation certainly didn't.
OP Seanus 15 | 19,706
15 Aug 2011 #14
Have a look at clerks here. Documents are needed as part of an effectively functioning society. However, older biddies have mastered the head down and directional finger point. Also, they often act as if the person they are helping should know exactly what to do and where to go. The 'dziękuję' at the end is priceless. It's almost muttered.

Having said that, I've come across a couple of really helpful clerks that were kind enough to spell procedures out to me on a step-by-step basis. I thank them for that! A proper thank you :)
plgrl
15 Aug 2011 #15
Yes but the bad mood is often from self pity. Do you think the most successful societies in the world were predicated on that basis?

Some thinks that letting your emotions flow out easly of you is healthy. If you are angry and show that anger then the next thing you feel is tranquility. Bottling up emotions can lead to a nervous disorders. Of course showing anger on others is abusive and never tolerated, but sadness, sometimes a bit of irritation, is not something an average Pole would take too seriously. I advise you too not to take to your heart (nie brać sobie do serca) somebody's bad mood.
OP Seanus 15 | 19,706
15 Aug 2011 #16
Oh, I hear what you are saying, plgrl. I observed the anger brimming under the surface of quite a few Japanese folk when I was there and can result in sudden explosions. However, the key word is balance. Things don't get to me so easily but I'd just ask some of the old biddies to tone it down a notch. They often try too hard to make you listen and I don't want that when standing in a queue waiting for sth.

If I tried that in Aberdeen, my home city, I'd probably get funny looks and be told to get lost.
pip 10 | 1,661
15 Aug 2011 #17
This is an interesting topic to come up now as I am opening a shop in Warsaw next month. I have met many rude people working the shops here and I have met many nice ones too.

I was trying to get era connect sorted and the woman behind the counter was literally screaming at me- the woman standing next to me had quite a sympathetic look towards me- I wanted to reach out and punch this "customer service" rep but she was pregnant.....so I just dreamt I did.

I loath shop girls that sit on their asses all day and do crosswords or sms their friends that have equally boring jobs. I believe it stems from communism and how customer service was not a priority. I also despise the people that work in Almi decor who think they are above everybody else because they work there. they work in a shop for crying out loud- not brain surgeons.

I think most foreign stores, with the exception of all the supermarkets, place priority on customer service. There are shops you can walk into and immediately be welcomed and they will do their best to help you. Then there is the throw back from communism where the woman sits behind the desk, reading a book, on the internet or something equally boring and clients are grunted at.

It boils down to taking pride in your work. When my store opens I plan to kill it in customer service -the locals won't know what hit them and the store will be remembered- which hopefully will make my business successful.
pawian 161 | 9,971
15 Aug 2011 #18
Now, while many Poles get together for drinks, work closely together in their workplaces, cheer on their national teams etc etc.

That is one of the traits of Polish character and you won`t change it. Poles tend to be reserved towards strangers and it takes time to get to know the person and become friends. We are not as false as Americans with their Whassss up, man! and other bullshit. :):):):):):)

It was discussed in other threads. Did you forget?

I'm hearing more and more that Poles want to leave.

Certainly not because of Polish character traits.

Shops are the best places to witness silent hostility (a nice paradox).

I like shopping and do it a lot with my family. I didn`t notice anything what you are talking about. Man, you didn`t live in communism here, you don`t know how rude people could be to each other. I did and comparing the past with the present, I must say the changes are very positive.

As a teacher, I am in regular contact with a lot of people as part of my job.

Typical of Poles again. Complaining, even when things go well, is our favourite hobby. Putting the blame on others, too, is a popular trend here. You can see it well in history threads - it wasn`t Poles who did it but russians, Germans, Czechs, Ukrainians etc. :

Being successful in your job means channeling your energy into it and not tiring yourself out with negativity.

You are right, of course, but explain it to pessimistic Poles and teach them to change their ways

Good luck! :):):):)

PS. In the same way I will try to teach Scots how to stop being tightfisted.
patrick 6 | 113
15 Aug 2011 #19
Having said that, I've come across a couple of really helpful clerks that were kind enough to spell procedures out to me on a step-by-step basis. I thank them for that! A proper thank you :)

I've had this experience too and it's nice. However, I just can't shake the jerk who yelled at me at the Urzad Skarbowy or the bank teller who won't make eye contact.
pawian 161 | 9,971
15 Aug 2011 #20
I visit the main municipal office from time to time. I must say those clerks in Krakow are very polite. The only problem is queues because there isn`t enough staff. Budget cuts. But when you finally get to the counter, you receive an angelic service.
hubabuba - | 113
15 Aug 2011 #21
Shops are the best places to witness silent hostility (a nice paradox).

Yes, customer service is very different in Poland comparing to many Western countries.You were accustomed to a British way of doing things so it is hard for You to digest a Poilsh way.However it works both ways- about 2 weeks ago I was in Kraków, I went to Rossmann near the Rynek, and there was a shopkeeper whoes responsibility was to stay by the door and say goodbye, have a nice day etc. For me it was nonsense. I like to go to my shop take what I need and dont smile around to the people I dont know, it is fake and I dont need this kind of "friendliness".The attitude towards strangers in Poland is much more reserved. I am happy with this silent customer service, and I dont have any problem in the shops with rudeness, it is the goverment offices were the change of attitudes is sometimes were needed but that is a different story

it wasn`t Poles who did it but russians, Germans, Czechs, Ukrainians etc. :):):)

of course it wasnt:]]]]]]!!
OP Seanus 15 | 19,706
15 Aug 2011 #22
Pawian, I have found Poles to be more tightfisted but that's for a different thread.

I appreciate the directness of Poles when cast alongside the fake American pitch. That would get on my nerves.

I don't get how they can be so outgoing when drinking yet so unbelievably aloof when serving. What's with that?
pale fire
15 Aug 2011 #23
Poland is just a bad ass country. Homo Sovieticus.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,387
15 Aug 2011 #24
I don't get how they can be so outgoing when drinking yet so unbelievably aloof when serving. What's with that?

go to business school, learn to run a shop, open a shop, but forget about the psychology of shopping and shoppers. that's if they ever learnt it.

i don't have time for clients, i'm too busy dreaming of being a millionaire.
OP Seanus 15 | 19,706
15 Aug 2011 #25
Very good first point! Your customer is your gold, just like my students are mine. Without them, I'd have to change direction.

Yeah, the wild idealists with their heads in the sand. Clients? Why that's just reality that obstructs my pursuit of utopia ;0 ;)
WielkiPolak 58 | 1,034
15 Aug 2011 #26
An interesting difference in the Polish and British cultures

Ask most British people how they are and regardless of how they really feel they reply

'Not bad'

'Okay'

'Great, you?'

Ask a Polish person and you tend to get

'nawet sie nie pytaj' [don't ask]

'szkoda gadac' [no use even speaking of it]

'jakos tam idzie' [getting by]

It is interesting in how in the British Culture it is just fake smiles not matter how bad things might be while in Poland it is miserable faces even if things are actually not that bad.
pawian 161 | 9,971
15 Aug 2011 #27
Your customer is your gold, just like my students are mine. Without them, I'd have to change direction.

Yeah, the wild idealists with their heads in the sand. Clients? Why that's just reality that obstructs my pursuit of utopia ;0 ;)

Oosp, Seanus, are you getting sentimental or just maudlin? :):):):)
OP Seanus 15 | 19,706
15 Aug 2011 #28
WP, British smiles tend not to be fake. We tend to be quite sincere with out emotions. You might be thinking of American stereotypes there.

Pawian, I don't follow. What do you mean?
gumishu 11 | 5,017
15 Aug 2011 #29
It is interesting in how in the British Culture it is just fake smiles not matter how bad things might be while in Poland it is miserable faces even if things are actually not that bad.

there is a simple mechanism - envy in Poland is rampant - people act on envy much more often in Poland - then everybody is affraid to tell how they are doing for fear the envy of the others might harm them in one way or the other
OP Seanus 15 | 19,706
15 Aug 2011 #30
Surely it's just a case of sitting down, analysing your life and thinking where you want yourself to be, no?! For example, if you are meant to be a cleaner because it fits who you are then what's wrong with that? If you are in a job where you underperform through lack of challenge or incompatibility then you will feel it through stress and take action accordingly to improve your position. That is, if your surroundings allow it.

So then I ask, why the envy? Why not do sth to put yourself in a better position, circumstances permitting?


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