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English/British rudeness - what do Polish people think about it?


kondzior 8 | 938    
18 Nov 2012  #1
Example #1: I was at the train station and had just missed my train so I went to sit down in the waiting room ('cos it is cold) to wait for the next one. I am reading a paper and put my bag on the seat next to me, I was absorbed in reading a paper. Two English people walk in looking very posh, middle-aged/elderly couple clutching a poodle in a poodle-carrier, the Guardian newspaper and two cafe lattes.There is one empty seat to my left and one to my right. They are talking, but stop talking and stare at me. After two seconds I notice and move over to the next seat so they'll have two next to each other. They just stare in silence while I move. After I move the lady says "oh... thank you ever so much, that's ever so kind" which I don't respond to.

I was not offended but thought it was a bit odd, because it seemed genuinely meant as if she hadn't expected me to move and I had done some great favor she would be forever grateful for

Example #2, same day: I am on the tube, there is an empty fold-up seat next to me I am next to the door, reading an email on my phone. There is one empty seat sandwiched between two occupied ones opposite. Two posh English girls about 25 walk in. One is slim and tall the other is shortish and fat. Both sound very happy with themselves and have upper class accents. My bag is on the floor below the fold-up seat. The slim girl sits down in the unoccupied seat opposite, her fat friend starts talking loudly to her, ******** about other people they know. After about three minutes I look at the fat girl wondering why she is standing by the door talking over three other people and so annoying. I go back to my phone, about a minute later there is silence and the fat girl interrupts and says "um, would you mind moving your bag?" in a very ****** kind of tone. I look at her for 2 seconds move my bag and say nothing... fat girl sits down and resumes conversation.

#1 my bag was not on the seat or blocking her from using the seat #2 of course I don't 'mind' moving my bag #3 why would you even ask if I mind? #4 what is wrong with simply asking 'can I sit here?' #5 why didn't you say anything earlier, like 5 minutes ago... #6 why are English people so rude?

Now obviously in their own minds they think they are very polite refined people. The mark of an educated/polite English person is i) that anything you say to a stranger has to be a question and ii) to add 'would you mind' to every 'question' however simple and routine it is. It is also to be exaggeratedly thankful to strangers for the most tiny little thing. The problem with all this is two things: #1 that it is so ridiculous that it sounds like sarcasm #2 that it is blatantly insincere #3 they are trying to make you think you're rude/uneducated. 'Politeness' which is that insincere and implies the other person is rudeness is no longer politeness, it's rude.

As far as I know I have only ever come across this in England. Both examples were very posh English middle-class type people, who obviously have been educated a certain way, in a certain culture who in their minds think they are very refined people. The first couple the older generation are just kind of silly patronizing people, it's irritating but they are mostly harmless. The second are a younger generation do the same thing but make the whole thing much more insulting. Both cases if they could avoid all this by being more direct but they go through all of life doing the same thing never learning that it's rude or noticing how unnecessary it is.

I think it's most blatant when they're abroad, they come off even more obnoxious, hypocritical and insulting because they're not with other English/British people who are already used to it. Though because they are tourists and spending money nobody calls them out. This becomes stereotypically 'English' behavior and one of the quirks that people recognize and associate with the UK as a whole.
1jola 14 | 1,880    
18 Nov 2012  #2
Would you mind if I tell you that you are a disgrace to Polish people? You should return to your village immediately and start reading Ola Kwaśniewska's blog.
pantsless 1 | 267    
18 Nov 2012  #3
my god, and I thought I had problems. welcome to the wondrous odyssey of life.
jon357 64 | 14,382    
18 Nov 2012  #4
Exactly. Worse happens in Warsaw a thousand times a day.
hudsonhicks 21 | 346    
18 Nov 2012  #5
This is a common cultural clash between Westerners and Poles.

We are friendly social people known for being overly apologetic and polite.
Being miserable, abrupt and overly suspicious of strangers is the norm in Poland.

A British person would say "could you please pass me the salt". A Pole would abrupt blurt out - "Pass me the salt!".

I experienced Example #1 myself in Manchester airport not long ago by some Indians - They just walked in to the rather full waiting area and stared at me. I waited about 2 minutes before asking "would you like me to move?" in which i received a slight nod from the older woman. F*king weirdos.
delphiandomine 85 | 17,652    
18 Nov 2012  #6
A British person would say "could you please pass me the salt". A Pole would abrupt blurt out - "Pass me the salt!".

You can't translate like that, and only a monolingual person would say such a stupid thing.
landora - | 199    
18 Nov 2012  #7
A British person would say "could you please pass me the salt". A Pole would abrupt blurt out - "Pass me the salt!".

And why would you say this? Normally, it's "czy mogę prosić o sól" or "poproszę o sól" - "please" is used in both sentences.

The whole thread is stupid. In both nations there are nice people and rude people. Some Brits tend to look down on other nationalities. Some Poles don't use words "thank you" and "please". Some cultural differences are rubbing people the wrong way (me - "British guys are rude, as they don't hold the door for me" my husband "I wouldn't risk offending a womkan by doing this").
milky 13 | 1,657    
18 Nov 2012  #8
We are friendly social people known for being overly apologetic and polite.

It's funny how people tell you that hospitality is a strong custom in their country, as if to insinuate that it may not be in your country. I've yet to visit a country were they say in-hospitality is a very strong trait in their country.
Homogenik 2 | 12    
18 Nov 2012  #9
Rudeness has its advantages though and some people sure need to be barked at. I'm very polite when it comes to any given situation, but when 10 people are blocking a sidewalk, you just feel the urge to scream "STAND ASIDE!". I don't know how to say that in polish though...
Ziutek 9 | 160    
18 Nov 2012  #10
Because the world is running out of serious problems, someone has decided to make an academic study of this topic:

esrc.ac.uk/news-and-events/press-releases/19261/what-we-mean-when-we-ask-for-the-milk.aspx
hudsonhicks 21 | 346    
18 Nov 2012  #11
I wouldn't hold the door open for some random woman..

It's 2012.. not the 1920s. Women are just as strong and equal as us men, or so we're constantly being told.
Richfilth 6 | 415    
18 Nov 2012  #12
This is simply a cultural clash. For example #1, why did you sit in the middle of a trio of seats? Were you trying to prevent anyone sitting around you? Did you want to take more room for yourself, your bag, your other possessions? Was it a case of being unaware of how busy the station was and how few seats there are, or were you deliberately trying to take more than your fair share? Were they rude for asking you to be more considerate?

It's just a way of looking at things. Babcias on buses and trams in Poland are shockers for sitting on the aisle seat of a pair, and refusing to move over or even turn to let someone else sit next to them. But on the other hand, many British women would be insulted (my step-mother was one of them) if a young man offered his seat to her. Are you calling me old? How dare you.

As humans, we all have the uncanny ability to p#ss each other off in a hundred different ways without realising it.
ShawnH 8 | 1,498    
18 Nov 2012  #13
Three part question:

There are four urinals mounted on the wall of a men's WC.

1) nobody else is in the WC. Which urinal do you use?
2) one person is using the second urinal from the left. Which urinal do you use?
3) one person is using the second urinal from the right and another person is using the fourth from the left. Which urinal do you use?

My answers:
1) Far left.
2) Far right.
3) Far left.

Maybe I will post the "why's?" later.
OP kondzior 8 | 938    
18 Nov 2012  #14
Did you want to take more room for yourself, your bag, your other possessions?

It was not a choice 'cos I arrived there weren't three empty seats, the person who had been on my right left before the couple arrived.

Were they rude for asking you to be more considerate?

They do not asked anything. They just stared at me in silence.
delphiandomine 85 | 17,652    
18 Nov 2012  #15
Babcias on buses and trams in Poland are shockers for sitting on the aisle seat of a pair, and refusing to move over or even turn to let someone else sit next to them.

I remember one case vividly. I was sat on the bus in the middle of the day and the bus was empty. I'm sitting at the front on the right side, sat next to the window quite comfortably. Next stop, an old couple gets on, and she immediately starts complaining that "her seat" wasn't free. She sits on the opposite side, scowling - and her husband sits next to me. They could have chosen almost any other pair of seats on the bus - but no, she wanted that seat.

I learnt a good insult after that for such occasions. I've lost count of the amount of times when I took the tram rather than driving, went to sleep and was rudely awoken by some babcia who wanted the seat.
Wroclaw Boy    
18 Nov 2012  #16
Putting a bag on a seat is just plain rude, if there were 70% available seats in similar locations to where your bag was sat as in near the entrances and exits it maybe OK but otherwise - rude as hell.

It really annoys me when a public seating area is fairly full and some tosser is sat all smug with his/her bag next to him, im rude to people like that as in "move your bag".
InWroclaw 89 | 1,916    
18 Nov 2012  #17
It really annoys me

+1
hudsonhicks 21 | 346    
18 Nov 2012  #18
If English people are so rude why do they form orderly queues to board public transport, and also leave room before boarding for people to depart?

In Poland, it's all for one mentality - Almost as if theres a winning prize waiting at the back of the bus.
Not just Poland i've seen this mindless selfish savage mentality in the middle east as well.
Asians are quite good. in Bangkok and HK at least.
pam    
18 Nov 2012  #19
We are friendly social people known for being overly apologetic and polite.

I wouldn't hold the door open for some random woman..

Now where are your manners HH?
Seriously though, and this is irrespective of age and gender, I think it's rude not to hold open a door if someone is stood in front of you or behind.

If you didn't see them, fair enough, but if someone's behind you, do you let the door slam in their face?
That's just bad manners, or maybe i'm a typical Brit and overly polite.
Seems like we can't win, we're either too rude or too polite.......
hudsonhicks 21 | 346    
18 Nov 2012  #20
Seems like we can't win, we're either too rude or too polite.......

If i'm going though a door and theres someone behind me of course I'll hold the door..

I thought he was talking about explicitly opening a door for a woman hotel style.
1jola 14 | 1,880    
18 Nov 2012  #21
I thought he was talking about explicitly opening a door for a woman hotel style.

He was, which is normal for polite people in our country. Some women say thanks and some don't, but that's another story.

I wouldn't hold the door open for some random woman..

Of course you wouldn't since you beat her to the door, you have the right to go first and you are stronger.

A Pole would abrupt blurt out - "Pass me the salt!".

" Podaj mi sól!!!" I normally throw in "You Hudson hick" after it .
Where do you "dine?" The prison chow hall?
zetigrek    
18 Nov 2012  #22
We are friendly social people known for being overly apologetic and polite.

Why Britsh people scarcely use kind forms of refering to strangers like sir, madam. In Polish we have Pan and Pani and no one even dares to say "ty" (you) to a stranger (unless to a young person).

It's 2012.. not the 1920s. Women are just as strong and equal as us men, or so we're constantly being told.

I'm strong, indeed but I like men who treat me like someone special and I always welcome the act of opening the doors in front of me with warm smile. It's a sign of good manners, that gives me a hint that the person is not a hick :)))
berni23 7 | 379    
18 Nov 2012  #23
It's 2012.. not the 1920s.
irishguy11 6 | 157    
18 Nov 2012  #24
I always hold a door open for either female or male if they are with in 2 or 3 feet of the door. Almost every time I get a thank you. I like a door to be held open for me if I am with reaching distance of it.

It does not cost anything to be polite.
NorthMancPolak 4 | 649    
18 Nov 2012  #25
Why Britsh people scarcely use kind forms of refering to strangers like sir, madam.

+1

(so you got bored of the guest account at last? ;) lol)

hudsonhicks should go to somewhere like Yorkshire - they think that rudeness and abruptness are something to be proud of round there!

Though the problem with such threads is that they always pick out some random "bad" event, and then ask "are all Poles/English/Jews/women/men/Catholics/Arabs etc etc like this". Not all Poles are like the mohery, and not all British people are like some "aspiring rapper" on the bus to Crystal Palace.
jon357 64 | 14,382    
18 Nov 2012  #26
Why Britsh people scarcely use kind forms of refering to strangers like sir, madam. In Polish we have Pan and Pani

It's very rare in English too. Only in certain parts of the country and even then, not often.

In Britain, most people usually use the polite form 'you' even if they're speaking to only one person (Wy, vous, Sie etc) and never the familiar form 'thee' (ty, tu, du etc). This has been the case for so long that the 'ty' form is almost forgotten.

British politeness.
milky 13 | 1,657    
18 Nov 2012  #27
I always hold a door open for either female or male if they are with in 2 or 3 feet of the door

It's not such a big custom in Ireland, but our driving manners are a lot more matured, than the maniac Polish drivers.
berni23 7 | 379    
18 Nov 2012  #28
ehhhm i didnt say that
running to the door and hold it open for a porcelain girl would get me a chuckle at best in my city ;)
irishguy11 6 | 157    
18 Nov 2012  #29
No, I said it. But I also did the same in Berlin last week and the people seemed to think it was not normal.
zetigrek    
18 Nov 2012  #30
In Britain, most people usually use the polite form 'you' even if they're speaking to only one person (Wy, vous, Sie etc) and never the familiar form 'thee' (ty, tu, du etc).

I gave that example for a different reason. It's silly to compare the language nuances and accuse others of lack of manners.
Nonetheless hudsonhick is wrong about "Pass me the salt". No one would say that to a stranger. One would say that to a friend, acquaintance, spouse, child, and only with a calm voice it's a request.

running to the door and hold it open for a porcelain girl would get me a chuckle at best in my city ;)

To be honest it rarely happens in Poland too. Maybe on a date.
The situation pam described is commonplace and my first thought was he's talking about that, however Poles never hold doors to men... at least I haven't seen that yet.


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