If we compare Poland with Spain, there are many similarities but also many differences as far as the customs and behavior of the people are concerned. This post is about when we meet one of our neighbors in the house entrance or in the elevator and politely you say or wish them “Good Morning” (in Polish it is “Dzien Dobry”) and we do not always receive a reply.
When we meet with one of our neighbors in the building where we live, it is normal and civilized to say “Hello”, “Good morning / afternoon / evening” or “Goodbye” and it does not matter if you know them or not. I used these common practices before I came to live in Poland, but now that I am living here, I can see that not everyone is like this. For sure you are thinking that “come on… surely it doesn’t matter if people say to you “good morning” or not, it’s not that important!”, but for me it is, as it is one of the things that it has shocked me the most. Maybe it is because when I was two years old I was saying “hello” to everyone on the street! At least in Spain, it is very common to wish a nice day to the people you meet when you go to the shops or when you meet someone in the home entrance.
Firstly, I want to say that I will not put all Poles in the same bag for obvious reasons as that would not be fair, there are very polite people who kindly greet you and there are other kinds of people who deserve a good a good kick up the backside without a doubt.
Generally, here in Poland, if people do not know you, they do not exchange any social niceties with you even if you drop them a “Good morning” in their face when they are leaving the lift; I can tell you from my own personal experience. Also, I can honest say that I met people from all walks of life here.
Usually, those rude people are men and women around 40-55 years old whom you greet politely or open the door for them to pass and they do not say anything to you (not even thanks). Also, there are the ones who emit a sound as if they were a ruminant animal wandering through a field gate. Of course, there are many Polish people who greet each other cordially and there was even once an old man who wished me “a wonderful day of heart for your whole family”, I was really surprised. You can find all these kinds of people in any public place like for example theaters, cinemas, cafes, restaurants, etc.
Finally, I want to tell you what happened to me one day in the lift of my house block. I was talking to my wife in Spanish and there was a Polish guy around our age. When we arrived at the floor where this guy had to get out, he said “Adiós” (Goodbye) in a perfect Spanish and you can imagine the surprise on our faces, logically we answered him also in Spanish by laughing. The Poles will never cease to amaze me! 😀
As my grandmother says, you can find all kind of people everywhere.
Well, that’s all friends, “Goodbye” and “Have a good day.” 😉