Polish Culture

Greetings

  • Greetings in Poland are usually courteous and reserved. People behave quite formally when meeting strangers for the first time.
  • The common greeting is to shake hands while holding direct eye contact.
  • People usually shake women’s hands first before addressing any men present. Older women are greeted before other girls.
  • Men (especially seniors) may look to kiss a woman on the hand. If he offers, you may politely extend your hand to receive it. However, if you would rather not, firmly offer your hand out in a position to be shaken.
  • Women who are acquaintances or good friends may kiss each other three times on alternating cheeks when greeting. Men and women may also do this when they become close friends.
  • Men may kiss the cheeks of their relatives or their female family members’ long-term boyfriend/husband.
  • The common verbal greetings are “Cześć” (Hello), “Dzien dobry” (Good day) or “Dobry wieczór” (Good evening).
  • It’s generally only appropriate to address someone by their first name if they’re a close friend. Use people’s titles and surnames unless they indicate it is appropriate to move onto a first-name basis. “Pan” (Mr.) is used for men and “Pani” (Ms.) for women.
  • People with professional positions are addressed by their job as their title. For example: “Pan Kierownik” (Mr Manager), “Pan Inzynier” (Mr Engineer), “Pani Profesor” (Ms Professor).
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