- -  Day # 329  + +

EU > Poland > Torun

Negative emotions

Torun, PL (View on map)

Leaving home for one year without ever getting frustrated would be impossible, and today turns out to be my annual frustration day. I will keep the reasons of these negative emotions to myself but they do serve as a perfect excuse to ask some Polish people how they deal with frustrations, and what is making them feel frustrated in the first place.

Marta (29):

`I first try to be nice with my pupils but often find myself screaming at them`
Close relations seem to come at a price, as most of the Polish frustrations seem to arise in small social circles. Lukasz (24) gets often gets frustrated at his colleagues who talk too much during work. `If you talk, you cannot work, and if you work, you cannot talk`, says Lukasz, who works in construction. His preferred way of solving frustrations at the working place is by discussing them with his girlfriend. `She tells me what I should do, we then go for a walk in the centre of Torun and things are usually lots better after that.`

Family and Friends
Justine (25) lives with her family and she often has arguments with her brother. `We always have opposite opinions and that`s annoys me, especially because he always thinks he is right. I often manage to stay calm, but can also easily start screaming, shouting or throwing stuff around. I was once so angry that I broke a plate that was within reach, but I guess that the worst that ever happened.`

Krzystof (24) had an argument with his father last month. `He got angry about something very small, but really very angry. I left home to go for a drink with friends and the next day it was kind of alright again, while everything seemed solved the day after. I don`t remember what the argument was about. That`s how insignificant the subject was ? the actual subject was nothing compared to how mad we were about it.`

Magda (20) sometimes has problems with her brother, and she usually recovers by walking along the Vistula River. `My brother and I are actually good friends, but we sometimes just have different opinions about things and then we quarrel. I never remember what the arguments are about. Generally speaking, they are quite unimportant details.`

Monika (26) also has frequent arguments with her dad. `We know each other too well. He knows what I think and I know what he things. That can sometimes be very annoying. I also get angry at strangers sometimes. With people on the bus who stink, even though I don`t tell them. I just try to find another place, but they still upset me. I also get angry at government offices who incessantly keep sending you back home for this and this document that`s missing. They only tell you after you spent a lot of time in line and the next time you have to wait again. Some state officials simply don`t want to help you. If they are reasonable and right in their requests, I can understand but in any other case, I get very angry and frustrated. Sometimes I just go home and come back a few days later. I will have to queue again, but at least I will then be able to stand it, which is not always the case.`

Hania (25) will rarely get angry at others. `Some people also say that they can`t possibly get angry with me, but I believe they can. The last case I remember was one of my friends who tried to call me for a few days and I didn`t pick up the phone. It had nothing to do with her, but there were just plenty of reasons why I could not pick up the phone at the moments she called. I apologized afterwards and then things were fine again. My friend was first annoyed and then started to worry, but I told here she shouldn`t have. Now, she just knows that I don`t always answer the phone.`

Fair treatment
Bogna (20) has beaten one of her ex-boyfriends twice, because he wouldn`t stop telling stupid jokes about her. `I don`t think it was a very bad thing to do. It allowed me to show where my borders were. It`s much worse when men hit women, which also happens but most of the time after a couple got married. If the man drinks too much, there will for sure be problems. If a girl beats a guy, it`s more of a symbolic way to say she disagrees with what he does or says.`

Bogna admits that she can get very angry when she is jealous. `If a girl tries to seduce my boyfriend, I get very angry at both of them. Some of my ex-boyfriends were too immature to understand. Fortunately, I also know some guys who are mature enough to understand that such is not the right way to treat girls.`

`The last time I got angry was last Sunday, with my mother. She started to project all her anger at me and I just couldn`t stand it. We have some problems with the neighbours who once almost killed us by choking the chimney and sending carbon-monoxide into our house. There was another incident about that and I guess my mum used me to get rid of her own frustrations. My best way of dealing with negative feelings is by putting on loud and aggressive metal music. That actually calms me down under such circumstances.`

Power distance
Polish are not always considerate with whoever they have under their authority. Kamil (24) has his own company in advertisement, and he thinks that his employees are not working hard enough. `Working mentality in Poland is quite bad. They are neither loyal nor creative, neither very industrious nor independent. You have to tell them everything and they will always find that they earn too little money for what they do. True, bosses in the UK can pay more but Polish companies just don`t have enough money to pay big salaries. Voluntary projects in Poland are the worst. Out of ten people, maybe two of them actually do something.`

Kamil suggests that the best way to solve problems with subordinates, colleagues and friends is to sit down and have a drink with them. The usual menu would consist of beer and vodka, but Kamil explains that he only drinks Gin-Tonic and Vodka-Red Bull. `Drinking together often helps. Sometimes it worsenes the situation. It`s a matter of hoping for the best.`

Marta (29) will not be helped by such strategy. Her most frequent source of frustration resides in the children to whom she teaches Polish: `I spend most of my work time working in a gymnasium, with children aged 14-15-16. I also teach younger kids in primary school, around 11 to 13 years old. They often talk too much and I sometimes can`t help screaming at them. I will often first ask them to please be quiet, but I will soon tell them to shut up.`

Marta also feels frustrated because of the economic situation in Poland. `I am working full time as a teacher, but I can`t possibly buy a house. My brother works in Scotland where he can at least rent one. I still live with my parents who are friendly but sometimes forget that I am old enough to make my own decisions.`

Long toes
Agnieszka (29) thinks that Poles can be quite aggressive, especially men and their behaviour is not always predictable. `It`s worst when they drink vodka. Beer is no so much of a problem, but vodka can make some people really aggressive. One of the worst situations you can imagine is when someone serves a half-drunk guy a glass of water instead of vodka. That will really piss him off and might lead to a fight if the person subjected to the joke is not in the right mood. Saying something bad about somebody`s family members can also be taken quite bad, although some people like to offend others just as a joke. That`s OK among friends. With strangers, it will for sure get you in trouble.`

Wojtek (24) thinks that people who do not want to get involved in any fights should avoid certain situations. `If I want to watch football and do so in a bar where everybody supports the opposite team, I will make sure that I cheer along with the opponent. The best way would be to avoid any pub that has opposing fans, because you just might walk out with a couple of teeth left if the others support the team who loses while you as a visitor support the winning team. Some people, football fans in particular, cannot deal with being on the losing side.`

Wojtek continues by telling that everything that has to do with mutual attraction can also cause delicate situations. Watching at another guy`s girlfriend is not very well-accepted. Apart from that, everything that touches on our Polish overall xenophobic conservative mindset may also cause trouble. Homosexuals and immigrants cannot always count on sympathy. The situation is worst for homosexuals. Polish people are simply not used to being exposed to that kind of affection between two people of the same sex. The idea of meeting dark-skinned people is now less likely to be thought of as intimidating. We have some black people playing in Polish football teams, so black people are starting to be perceived as normal.`

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