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Why are Poles always so miserable? Why do they never smile?

Lyzko 32 | 7,931
9 Sep 2017 #481
Spaniards, Southern French, Greeks, and Italians give the surface impression of being more happy-go-lucky, more prone to break out into a smile or a spontaneous show of joy than perhaps one's initiial glance at Swedes, Dutchmen, the English, Germans and Poles.

Then again, it's all a matter of American expectations as well as the historical development of countries such as Poland, Germany etc.
Dirk diggler 9 | 4,833
9 Sep 2017 #482
such is globalism or as I like to call it Americanism..
Bieganski 17 | 896
9 Sep 2017 #483
It's amusing that the OP for this thread claimed to be from the UK which historically has been known for its bad weather, worse food, deep social divisions, and a general national characteristic ranging from unapologetic anti-social behavior, to overt (and nothing to show for it) snobbery, to public reserve, to silent self-loathing and terminal despair.

So it's not very clear why the OP or any like-minded persons would expect Poles to show any positive emotions towards them. Such visitors to Poland are strangers anyway and always standout as foreigners no matter how long they stay.

Places like America and the UK escaped the hardship Poland endured following all the destruction during WWII and communist tyranny immediately there after.

Places like America and the UK also had a head start in enjoying unprecedented wealth creation. Yes, their slave trading/owning past and their respective imperialist and plundering forays around the globe played an important component to this. But in the recent century prosperity has been funded largely through continuous use of debt run along the lines of a Ponzi scheme.

It's fair to say then that the OP and like-minded persons suffer from not only hedonistic and narcissistic tendencies (commonplace now in places like the US and UK) but also the phenomenon of middle class guilt.

The rise in income and wealth disparities in the US and the UK over the past few decades also saw many of their citizens flock to self-help books, psychologists, chemists (aka pharmacists) and drug dealers.

They have been conditioned to expect uninterrupted happiness. They crave nonstop positive affirmation.

In short, they have slowly been losing their minds and seeing Poles not smiling at them for no particular reason fills them with uncertainty and dread.

They don't want to be in any situation or around any person which might wake them up to the reality that their perception of happiness is actually an ephemeral illusion.
Dirk diggler 9 | 4,833
10 Sep 2017 #484
So true lol. But hey it's not everyone n all over the world ppl r miserable for different reason or other.

Happiness n when u can let it all go at a moment n rly not give a **** people let things n other bs define them too much
Crow 152 | 9,758
10 Sep 2017 #485
I truly didn`t notice that Poles looks miserable. They aren`t walking joke but, certainly they don`t look miserable.
Lyzko 32 | 7,931
10 Sep 2017 #486
For the umpteenth time, Poles, much as with many Northern Europeans, can superficially tend to look serious and focused in repose. This smiling vacuously at complete strangers is as unnatural for Poles as it is considered somehow "friendly" here in large areas of the rural US.

Thing is, people, just because an American may appear "friendLY" in no way means that they are being your "FRIEND"!! What we often term "friends", Europeans traditionally would simply call "acquaintances":-)
8 Dec 2017 #487
I can't speak for all poles, but I think a lot of the stereotypes come from ww2 days where Poland was occupied by the Nazis and the Red Army. Polish people and their families were ripped apart, not to mention it is where 11,000,000 people went to die (ie. Auschwitz). Not including those locals who were killed and raped in their homes.

My spouse's grandmother was from Poland - She was a child during ww2. The psychological trauma that was endured was a result of her disfunctional thinking. She was treated very poorly by her parents, which she learned to treat her children like garbage, which carried down to my spouse who also was treated like garbage along with her siblings. I think my spouse is a very good person with compassion.... however there is still anger and resentment that will always be below the surface.

I think a lot of this "misery" that many of these people feel is derived from the history it carries, unfortunately.
Lyzko 32 | 7,931
8 Dec 2017 #488
Long meat cues daily at the market, non-stop chain smoking and drinking along with poor environmental management of air pollutions as well as other toxins, hey, they'll do it to ya! Communism didn't make it easy for most people.
kaprys 3 | 2,501
8 Dec 2017 #489
Yeah, long 'meat cues', constant drinking and smoking, horse drawn vehicles and valonki. Who wouldn't be miserable?
Ktos 16 | 440
9 Dec 2017 #490

We are not miserable, smiling is not a sign of happiness. In the West people smile because they are told to. In Poland we are more realistic and true to ourselves. In fact, we are a very happy bunch, our songs, our parties, our friendship ale full of joy, which is what I could not say about the stiff English and Anglo-Saxons in general or Germans or many others.

We can hold the strongest drinks and have fun , a Jew can not even drink one glass of 5% bear, shaking with fear that a rabbi will spot them or some other Jew will out them in the Jewish community, not to mention Jews have weak heads for drinking and associate drinking only with misery and loss of control. God rewards not the ones who take the easy way out and pretend to be holly by avoiding temptation but the ones who manage temptations. Polish manage very well. Jews cowardly run away from facing it.
kaprys 3 | 2,501
9 Dec 2017 #491
I agree with the first three sentences of your post.
That's true.
And that's pretty much it.

And it's not like we never smile @everyoneelse
Ktos 16 | 440
9 Dec 2017 #492
God rewards not the ones who take the easy way out and pretend to be holly by avoiding temptation but the ones who manage temptations.

Who fused this comment with my response to AntiMonoPole???? This was a comment written in response to Lyzko's clever text.

I did not insinuate that we never smile. In general, while in public, in casual situations, we have a blank appearance. This is because it is a realistic expression reflecting the situation at hand. While walking down the street why would we have to assume stiff face, stiff appearance, angry look or all round smiling mouth? There is no reason for any of it. Blank face is the most appropriate.
Lyzko 32 | 7,931
9 Dec 2017 #493
Being even sharply critical of a country, needn't mean one is that country's enemy. Often times, we criticize those we love, or at least like, in the hopes that they can do even better.

I love the original ideals of America, at the same time being deeply critical of the aftershocks from the Reagan Era which have infected our great land like a cancer, now metasthesizing non-stop under this current president!!
11 Dec 2017 #494
Amazing, whatever the issue on this site sooner or later it's the Americans fault even to smiling. You do realize there are a lot of Polish Americans right? My great grandparents came in the 1870's from Warsaw and Krakow. Seems we fought a couple of wars over in Europe where a lot of those evil Americans fought and died including Polish Americans. General Pulaski fought to found this country. This country will defend you when the Russians, or Germans, come to finish what they didn't the first time. Do you really believe because of strikes the Russians left Poland?

No, Americans don't wake and say I wonder what is happening in Poland. Poland is the size of our state of Nevada and I don't care what is going on in Nevada either.

Dislike American so much? No problem, stay home. There are plenty of people from around the world waiting to come. So many they resort to coming across our borders. I hear complaints here about how horrible it is in America. Why are you staying?

Until finding this site I never realized how much the Polish people hated the country they helped create. Now I do realize this site does not speak for all Poles. It has been an eye opener that my other Polish American friends will find interesting.

I have read some of the most dumb ideas of what America is on this site from people. We are losing our minds from the quest for money. Really, then why to Poles continue to want to come here? Americans hate everyone. A note from KTOS 11 said some of the most anti Jewish crap I have heard since Hitler. Polish jokes are the fault of NBC and Jewish Hollywood. I guess the Germans were not the only people that wanted to burn Jews? Americans are stupid. Sorry we are not into Socialism and paying for you to go to school until they bury you. I paid my own way. Polish in America are forced to work at jobs beneath them with their level of education. Who asked you to go to school forever and come here expecting to find a job? I know you just want to make more money like those greedy Americans in their quest for more money. You don't have dreams of being better off than you are.

OK gang, go for it. You want an angry Polish American, you got one. Now I know none of the educated people here will lower themselves to name calling right? Just for you information I am one of those very well of greedy POLISH Americans.

Me again, hate to inform you that there are many Republican Polish Americans that voted for Donald Trump. We don't want Socialism. Some of my family are coal miners in Pennsylvania and Obama promised to put the coal industry out of business and so did Hillary. She proudly stated that fact in Pennsylvania to these miners before the election. Now that would be a stupid Polish joke to vote for someone who was going to stave your family.

Stop reading whatever left wing sources you are about America.
terri 1 | 1,665
11 Dec 2017 #495
Why do Poles never smile?
It used to get to me too and in a big way, but for some time now I've tried using a different approach. Why not be the first one to smile at somebody and say 'good morning'. It's very unlikely that they would not answer. Then say 'lovely weather today' and if they ignore you that's fine, but at least you've made the effort. Say 'good morning' when you walk into a shop of any description and someone will say it too.

A very wise, old woman once told me...'you leave your troubles at home and show to the world that you are happy'. You use more face muscles to look miserable than those when you smile....and who wants to look old before their time?. Looking miserable with your head down has never erased any troubles and problems, but feeling happy and even laughing, (even if only for 5 minutes) may put them at the back of your mind for a moment. The problems or miseries will still be there whether you are miserable or happy.
Atch 16 | 3,419
11 Dec 2017 #496
You're absolutely right Terri. I always smile when I greet somebody and it's not fake, I genuinely feel like smiling. Somehow it seems natural to greet people with a smile and although I've encountered a few sour-pusses in Poland, I find that people are generally very responsive to my friendly ways despite my faltering Polish which is far from fluent. Just yesterday I had a lovely chat with an old man in the supermarket queue and he actually initiated it by commenting on my selection of veggies and telling me that I could make a lovely salad with them. I responded by telling him that I was going to make grochowa but that I like to add a bit of leek to it as it's very tasty. Typical small talk and his little old face was wreathed in smiles. When I was leaving he thanked me for the chat and we shook hands.
Lyzko 32 | 7,931
11 Dec 2017 #497
The issue is more to the point whether or not it is always encumbent upon one to smile in Poland when greeting somebody. To this, I add that when I was first in Poland, I did in fact find restaurant and even hotel staff a bit on the dour side, businesslike, completely professional, but more than bereft of the usual annoying small-talk, non-stop chatter ("Hi, Mark! How's yer day goin' so far?" etc. ad nauseum) which drives me to distraction here in the States.

I found Polish "grumpiness" kind of refreshing in fact, as I've said several times before:-)
kaprys 3 | 2,501
11 Dec 2017 #498
You're absolutely right. It happens quite often to me, too.
Anyway; Poles do smile although they may seem rather cold and reserved compared to other nations.
There are some grumpy ones, too.
As for shop assistants and their 'welcoming' attitude, it was mocked by Laskowik and Smolen back in the seventies in a show called 'Z tyłu sklepu' (???)
Dirk diggler 9 | 4,833
11 Dec 2017 #499
Yes Poles can be grumpy!! lol...

a lot of the women esp middle aged ones LOVE to gossip...
Lyzko 32 | 7,931
11 Dec 2017 #500
Better honest grumpiness than dishonest smileyness any day of the week!
Ktos 16 | 440
12 Dec 2017 #501

Anyway; Poles do smile although they may seem rather cold and reserved compared to other nations.

The differenceis this: Polish don't smile in business, there is no reason to smile (I'm selling mobile phones , doing surgery today, checking someone's tax - what joy, smile from ear to ear - what for?). However, Polish smile a lot during parties, social gatherings which I couldn't say much about others, the jokes, the atmosphere is lively, passionate - I like it, true Slavic character. You have much to learn about Polish people.

Better honest grumpiness than dishonest smileyness any day of the week!

This is the first ever comment by Jew Lyzko that I agree with. As much as I hate to agree with this ....... who always gets it wrong, he is 100% spot on for the first time in his life.
kaprys 3 | 2,501
12 Dec 2017 #502
More and more people smile in business as well. It's part of their training now.
And I can assure you people of other nations smile during social gatherings as well.
Anyway, you may have misunderstood my post. I don't like fake smiles. But I also hate it, when a shop assistant doesn't even bother to make an eye contact or ignore 'dzień dobry'. Luckily, I haven't met such for years.
Lyzko 32 | 7,931
12 Dec 2017 #503
I thank the Catholic ktos for the kudos.
Atch 16 | 3,419
13 Dec 2017 #504
More and more people smile in business as well. It's part of their training now.

I must say that even if it starts with training, smiling seems to come as easily and naturally to Polish people as it does to anyone else once they form the habit of it. I don't feel that the smiles I encounter are fake. I believe they are genuine. Like you, I don't expect the sales person or office worker to be beaming at me. I just expect an open, pleasant expression that acknowledges me and encourages me to interact with them.

I also find that if you are a regular customer, be it in the meat shop or the bank, the staff soon get to know you, welcome you with a smile and are quite genuine. Being Irish myself, I tend to be very chatty and I've found out all about their families, their children, grandchildren, their boyfriends/girlfriends, what they're making for lunch today etc. Lately I've been discussing Christmas cooking with people and have been given lots of kindly advice and tips. I even know where some of them live and what their pets are called :)) The funny thing is that my husband who is Polish finds it mildly embarrassing. He doens't like accompanying me into shops where I'm 'known'. He says 'do you have 'friends' in here? Ok, I'll wait outside.'! He says that kind of thing might be normal in Ireland but it's weird in Poland :) Then he just laughs and says 'you and your Irish ways'.
13 Dec 2017 #505
I have a question for the Poles. I'm from a culture where smiling is seen as a way of developing rapport and making the other person feel at ease. But when I meet Poles in formal and informal situations they seldom smile.

Is smiling seen in a negative light in Poland? How is smiling perceived when you don't know the person well? e.g. in interview situations, negotiations, the classroom, the gym, driving etc.

For example in the following situations I would smile to show thanks or simple to acknowledge the person (I may do additional actions also...) - If someone in my osiedle lets me go by first in the car. If someone lets me in the lift first / tram first etc. Getting the change from the shop keeper. When I meet a business associate for the first time. Saying hello to another student. But in all these situations Poles rarely smile. Should I conform and stop smiling?
SigSauer 4 | 397
13 Dec 2017 #506
The stoicism doesn't bother me. It bothers me much more when I have to deal with Indians shaking their head side to side rapidly, I just wanna break their jaw when they do that so they can't move their head anymore, it drives me nuts. I needed one of them to wash my car not too long ago, and I kept asking him to do it, but he kept swaying his head side to side, so I thought he was saying no. In the scheme of things, that is retarded, where as Poles remaining stoic is no big deal.
mafketis 29 | 10,332
13 Dec 2017 #507
I just wanna break their jaw when they do that so they can't move their head anymore

that's your problem, not theirs (unless you actually give in to your violent wishes) why so angry?
SigSauer 4 | 397
13 Dec 2017 #508

20 hours without sleep and only an MRE to eat today...Yea I generally don't believe in unprovoked violence.
Lyzko 32 | 7,931
13 Dec 2017 #509
Smiling is often merely a reaction here in the States to an unfamiliar or uncomfortable situation.

Remember reading once a post card that one of the Freedom Riders' mothers read on the anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement. Schwerner had just arrived in Nashoba County Georgia in the mid-60's, after an exhausting sixteen hour bus trip from up North. "Everybody's so friendly", he wrote, "people smile and seem so nice....."

The next day, he and his comrades were dead, shot by the local police.

Not everyone who smiles at you means it!
idem - | 132
13 Dec 2017 #510
I have a question for the Poles. . But when I meet Poles in formal and informal situations they seldom smile.

I don't think that you should change - smile as much as you want.

I think this is just culture difference ....We are not overly serious, grim nation but I think that we are just more reserved and maybe honest ?.....We tend to smile when we really mean it.We smile lots to friends, family, neighbours....but we need some time to get to know people better.

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