polish notes

The new generation of Poles

Lately, I’ve been reflecting that things aren’t so bad in Poland after all, but society still needs to work on itself. And it might sound cliché, but in my opinion, Poles are a rather closed-off nation. We’re not quick to engage in conversation with strangers; in fact, we tend to avoid conversations with a kind of “fear,” as if the stranger were a threat. We don’t smile at strangers on the street; we aren’t inherently friendly to strangers. That is, we tend to keep to ourselves. It’s only after getting to know someone better that we become more open.

For us, often “work is life,” there’s nothing beyond it. There’s a cult of “hustle culture.” And of course, there’s jealousy/envy towards others. If something goes well, you can’t proudly say, “Hey, look, I succeeded!” because you’re more likely to encounter hate rather than a “well done!” There’s a lack of support.

It’s difficult to be yourself; people enjoy criticizing non-constructively (especially the older generation, but not all of them, younger generation), rebuking and mocking openness (I can’t count how many times I’ve faced hatred for just being open. And the worst part is how it paralyzes me from taking further actions), for expressing emotions, for loving whoever we want - regardless of gender. Of course, politicians also contribute significantly to this negativity. I don’t think I’ve seen a society so divided against itself in any other country as I have in ours, especially in the current “political times” (referring to the situation in Poland).

Fortunately, I have the impression that despite this, everything is moving in the right direction. I think the generations raised by the boomers don’t want to subject their own children to the same coldness they experienced. Thanks to this, millennials to some extent, and definitely Gen Z (and probably future generations too), are entirely different. They are more open, more aware, unafraid to talk about their feelings. They are, in a way, a better version of our society. They are true citizens of Europe, not just Poland.

Perhaps this is just an assessment from my own perspective, and certainly not all boomers are difficult, nor are all Gen Z individuals exceptional citizens. But the difference that has emerged along the way between these generations is immense, and I have the impression that it’s largely positive.

I’m comforted by the thought that things might improve in a few years. Those who divide will start to “fade away,” and Gen Z will fully embrace adulthood.

Greetings, and I hope I haven’t offended anyone. I just needed to get this off my chest ;)