The “English exit”

There’s a phrase in Polish, to make an “English exit”, which means leaving without telling anyone you’re going, without saying goodbye, thank you or anything at all that polite company might expect.

What’s that all about then???

I don’t make “English exits” any more than all the Poles I know and most of my English mates wouldn’t do it either so how did we come to get such a reputation?

I’m told the French have the same phrase with the same meaning. What would those arrogant pillocks know about good manners? ;)

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11 thoughts on “The “English exit”

  1. ohpotterly says:

    An English Exit!…………………is that what they call it? Perhaps that would explain why the lady who came to my Warsaw flat to check the water meters left so abruptly. Had she guessed I was English? I though it was just they way they did things here!

    No cheery cockney/ geordie/ yorkshire meter checking man here in Poland! Oh no I got the straight faced Polish pensioner who could even muster a smile as I answered the door to her. Instead she exclaimed ‘Water Meter’ and stormed right past me into MY flat! Taking herself directly to the water meter! I was flabbergasted at her boldness and lack of regard for my personal space.

    I was then even more flabbergasted to watch her note down the meter reading and then turn on her heel, down the hall and out the door. Without a mumour of acknowledgement. No thank-you. No goodbye. No smile. Just right out the door.

    And this you tell me is an English Exit??? I never met an English tradesman as rude as she. Usually you can’t get rid of the English tradesmen as they natter on about the weather and pester for a cup of tea!

    What can I say……………Thanks for enlightening me to the official name for my “Polish Encounter” – her rudeness if better known as an English Exit! Well I never!

  2. Pawel says:

    yes, and La Manche is an English Channel, huh? ;)

  3. Richardlith says:

    Have you been called a four/fiveoclockski? That’s another name for the English. Refers to the importance of tea.

  4. island1 says:

    ohpotterly: Welcome to Poland :)

    Two things:

    1. Polish people, especially of the older generation, are often a bit scared of foreigners. They don’t speak English (which they find embarrassing, for no good reason) and they’ve been told we’re all amoral namby pamby weirdos for much of their lives. Nervousness displays as abruptness sometimes.

    2. Officials or people working in an official capacity, no matter how small, feel they have the right to poke their noses into anyone’s private affairs. A Polishman’s home is not his castle.

    3.(unannounced) Rudeness is an art form here. Learn to appreciate the sheer majesty of some people’s mastery of the genre :)

  5. Pawel says:

    islan1, LOL (point 3) :D

  6. Piotr says:

    ohpotterly, well, that’s a bit different thing you’re talking about. What you experienced was just rudeness or bad customer’s service.

    I think ‘English exit’ refers to something different, it’s when someone leaves a party, a metting, basically the COMPANY which he spent some time with socializing in a pub let’s say, friends, without any words of goodbye or I’m going. Quiet and invisibly. It is rude and contemptuos as well but weird most of all. We can find strange and odd behaviours in every nation, these are those “cultural difeferences” I think, and that one is probably an English one. Or maybe it’s just another example of the well-known “English phlegm” (no harm intented :)

  7. ohpotterly says:

    I think what we experienced was ‘pani’ on a mission to get her job done! I’m sure she did not intend to be so rude or abrupt – just wanted to efficiently get her job done! (sure this is the same for the rest of the Poles in many customer service roles here!) I’m certain it is nothing personal. Still it always makes for some interesting anecedotes each day!

    Her behaviour did tickle us and make us giggle though – hence why I shared the story on the blog. I’m sure many of you have similar stories and experiences.

    Really can’t imagine any UK tradesman being so direct and determined to get the job done nad leave – but then for them it is any excuse for a cuppa, a chat and half an hour off work!

  8. […] comment below the post about the English exit was about a water–meter inspectoress, allegedly rude. Her iconic precedent is Kobieta Pracująca […]

  9. Sylwia says:

    English exit can be of two kinds, but it’s not very offensive or even not offensive at all. The first kind might be an indirect cut (not a direct one though). It’s when there’s a party and a person doesn’t have a good time and leaves suddenly. But it’s never a small party where they know everyone, rather a party they hardly know anyone, and although they wish they never came, they don’t really give much offence by disappearing.

    The second possibility is a huge party. I.e. a hundred persons ball for a company’s workers. There are no hosts there really and no one will notice that someone’s gone. It’s also possible that it’s a large private party, and the hosts are occupied when the guest’s taxi is waiting down stairs. If they can’t wait any longer to make proper farewells, they’ll simply tell someone to tell the hosts that they went. No offence is taken in such a case.

    English exit is always invisible, so it’s not a demonstration. When one leaves in anger, ostensibly showing that they’re offended, it’s not an English exit, quite the contrary.

  10. Sylwia says:

    “The gentlemen’s book of etiquette, … From the best French, English, and American authorities”, by Cecil B. Hartley. In chapter 4 the manual says:

    “If you are alone and obliged to return early from an evening party, do not take leave of your hostess, but slip away unperceived.”

    http://jmwilkinson.wordpress.com/2008/04/

    I had to laugh!

  11. […] The “English exit” …leaving without telling anyone you’re going, without saying goodbye, thank you or anything at all that polite company might expect. […]

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