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english girl struggling with polish boyfriend's friends

grace4576 1 | 2
26 May 2013 #1
I have been with my boyfriend for about 3 months and he is a really great guy. The problem I'm having is, he seems to want to spend increasing amounts of time with a group of his polish friends, which i completely understand don't get me wrong. Everyone needs friends. But they are all so rude when they are together! They all literally sit and talk in polish and ignore me, including my boyfriend although he does ask if I'm ok sometimes.

He assures me I'm being silly about this, but I feel like these people don't like me. I can't make conversation with people I can't understand, so I literally sit there in silence.The last time this happened, a few days ago, me and him ended up having a big argument because i felt SO overwhelmed sitting around this big group of people, some of whom i've never met before, that were all acting as if I did not exist.

Would they have a problem that I am an English girl? Or is it just normal for polish people to act this way? I just feel really sad about it because these people are obviously important to him, and he wants me with him when he goes to see them, but I feel so lost when I'm around them! I am trying to learn polish but I am struggling. His friends have all lived in England for 3-6 years and are fluent in English, so I thought they would tallk in English if I'm there, but they don't.

Please someone give me some advice or words of support! I feel so upset about this!! I have no idea what to do about it either. Thank you!
Lenka 5 | 3,470
26 May 2013 #2
Just tell your bf that if he wants you to go with him he should tell his friends to speak in English.
26 May 2013 #3
I had the exact same problem when I was living in Spain! My friend had her friends over to our residence almost night after night, speaking only in Spanish, point blank refusing to speak English (which in fact they all could fairly well). My Spanish was a little better than it is right now, but often too, intercultural interference precluded a calm settling of certain matters.

The result was, I asked the host family with whom I was staying at the time to have a heart -to- heart talk with Sandra along with her friends (in Spanish!) and the problem was thence solved quite nicely.

Usually, the problem's not linguistic as much as cross-cultural.
OP grace4576 1 | 2
26 May 2013 #4
thanks for the answers :) i know you're both right about asking him to ask them to speak in english. thing is, i'm really nervous to ask him to ask his friends this, because if they already don't like me I think that will make it even worse? And i think he might feel awkward asking them as well?

sorry to be so annoying I just feel so conflicted about everything
26 May 2013 #5
You're not being annoying in the slightest, Grace! Had I been a twenty-something woman instead of a thirty-something man in Spain, I'd doubtless have had the same trepidations and would've been grateful for a forum to which I might turn for advice!!

26 May 2013 #6
Just pick one the most approachable person and start conversation in English, familiarise yourself with them one by one, 'break' the pack :) You may seem proud and unapproachable yourself sitting there so 'mute'. Btw your bf should be more considerate about the whole situation and encourage contacts in English between you and his friends. I wouldn't put an ultimatum here, it may harm your relationship with him and your future relationship with his friends, but I would definitely ask him to make more effort.
OP grace4576 1 | 2
26 May 2013 #7
thanks again for answering both of you :)

i see what you mean about trying to speak to the most approachable one first, thats a good idea. to be honest there is one girl that has made an effort to talk to me, but the problem i find is that she will speak to me for a few minutes but then jump into a different conversation in polish, and then not come back!

they usually all seem to be engrossed in whatever they are talking about and the conversation appears so fast paced I don't feel confident enough to interrupt. I don't know, my nerves are getting worse every time this happens to be honest.

I wouldn't give my boyfriend an ultimatum but I have already said that I feel uncomfortable in that situation and I'd rather not be there in future. One of his friends actually approached him after I left and said he shouldn't have brought me there with so many of them, which on the one hand seems like he saw what the problem was but on the other hand, was he being a bit hostile?

I guess I am just struggling with getting used to the differences between the cultures maybe. And I am so nervous I am probably reading too much into this.
26 May 2013 #8
there is one girl

try talking to others too

engrossed in whatever they are talking about and the conversation appears so fast paced

this is just the way we speak :)

I don't feel confident enough to interrupt

talk to the person who doesn't participate in the conversation at the moment

my nerves are getting worse

relax :)

not be there in future

I understand your feelings but don't give up just yet

brought me there with so many of them

maybe you two could invite some of his friends to the cinema or go on a double date with another couple, so they could get to know you better?

I am probably reading too much into this

maybe a bit, but it's understandable in this situation ;)
good luck, girl :)
27 May 2013 #9
May be:
1. they miss Polish language and want to use it as much as possible when they are together
2. they assume it would not be interesting for you
3. they can not express their feelings enough precisely in English
4. your/woman's status is low in particuler group and you/woman are "invisible" for them
5. you are close-tongued while conversation is emotional and needs some aggression
6. you are still newbe and stranger for them
7. they family cultural or educational bacground is poor and they are not familiar with a polite manners
What can you do? Find a reason of that situation. Be patient. Ask for their girls you can talk to. Answer about your boy's family and his friends background should give you more information.
phtoa 9 | 236
27 May 2013 #10
uess I am just struggling with getting used to the differences between the cultures maybe. And I am so nervous I am probably reading too much into this.

It's IMO straight up rude, and has nothing to do with culture.

I had a girlfriend (Polish) and whenever we were together with my foreign friends with whom I could speak my native language we always agreed that if we have someone with us who do not speak the language we always speak English.

Unfortuantly this was not the case at all being with her friends, I experienced the same thing as you do now. After informing her about this issue several times, without anything changes, I took the consequences and broke up as I feel like it shows a huge lack of respect for the other person.

So honestly I am not sure how this issue could be solved, but I guess try being open and speak with them.
bledi_nowysacz 2 | 52
27 May 2013 #11
They all literally sit and talk in polish and ignore me

That's exactly how I felt during my first 6-8 months here in PL, I had to learn some polish for them to notice that I was there.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,862
27 May 2013 #12
They are just rude and inconsiderate and probably feel superior to you, also they are probably talking about you in a rude way, esp the women.

if i were you i would go out when they are due to arrive.
pierogi2000 4 | 228
27 May 2013 #13
If they speak English to you, you will never learn Polish . . . . .

I'm willing to bet one of the main reasons they enjoy spending time together is the opportunity to speak their native tongue. Speaking English defeats that whole purpose. The sad truth is that you will have to learn Polish to fit in his life. This is an issue with every relationship involving more than 1 language
bledi_nowysacz 2 | 52
27 May 2013 #14
opportunity to speak their native tongue

That's not fair, opportunity to speak your native tongue you can find anytime. And intstead of making your girlfriend feel like $#it isn't it better to use your native tongue while watching a match with the guys or playing a football match or doing something where you're alone with your friends? (Assuming the girlfriend is not interested in football matches :D ). I remember myself trying to translate every single word to my gf when she was in Greece and (obviously) didn't speak any greek.

When I came in PL though it was a bit different, she was a bit lazy to translate for me, and her friends ( who before told her they speak english very well ) didn't really say anything other than: hi .

My advice is to make him understand, take him when you're with your friends and start telling some jokes from the past,something everybody is familiar with, and I guess he'll feel something similar to you. After that he might be able to understand your position when he's with his friends.
rlscott63 4 | 21
27 May 2013 #15
Please someone give me some advice or words of support! I feel so upset about this!! I have no idea what to do about it either. Thank you!

I have been married to a Polish woman for 16 years. I have ran into to your problem more times than I can think. At first I thought it was just me but the problem really lies in the fact that they just naturally speak their own native tongue, especially around family and especially after they have had a couple of drinks. Attempts have been made to speak in English but it always ends up back in Polish. I don't blame anyone but have started to study the language......I use the addage if can't beat'em ya might as well join them........and I will but the language is not the easiest in the world to learn but my stubbornness and my love for my wife are the greatest motivators.


27 May 2013 #16
You're more likely to find people in Spain among the under-30 crowd who speak or understand English than in Poland, probably! It's a tougher country for the uninitiated, especially if one is female, I''ve got to admit. There's still a lingering male dominated culture, particularly outside the larger cities. My advice would be to try and seek the advice of a sympathetic, bilingual Polish (or British) contemporary who understands your specific needs etc...

That oughta put you on the right track. How much of the language have you picked up as yet, by the way?
cjj - | 281
28 May 2013 #17
I have been with my boyfriend for about 3 months and he is a really great guy....

I suspect his friends would (try to) exclude you even were you fluent in Polish.
But for your bf to ignore that - so soon into a relationship - doesn't bode well for the future.
If he's behaving like this after 3 months, how much better will he be in 3 years' time ?

Of course it's entirely up to you what you are willing to tolerate. I'm just saying that what you describe seems neither caring nor respectful.

28 May 2013 #18
. I'm just saying that what you describe seems neither caring nor respectful.

The easiest option in future would be not to turn up to the Polish events if the language issue is a problem for you grace4576, its a little selfish to expect all who speak Polish to move to a second language just because you don't speak Polish.If you don't accept your bf's culture how can you accept your bf?
VikingIrish 1 | 4
28 May 2013 #19
this is very rude on there part. I have a beautiful polish fiancee and she is my world. Her english is actully better than mine. But polish is her first language and i understand sometimes she needs to speak it. My polish is ok and i can understand and speak a good amount. But if we go out with her friends she always translates. I have to translate for her when we meet the thick irish accent with all the crazy accent.

My advice would be to show your boyfriends that you have a intrest in the language learn some and then try to impress his friends.
JeremyTaylor - | 2
28 May 2013 #20
In my experience it is quite common for groups of people to ignore someone who doesn't speak their language apart from the occasional 'Are you okay?'. It is not just Poland, it is pretty much everywhere.

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