The 5 Levels of Being Polish

20160507_132246There’s roughly 60 million Polish people living on the planet, and we come in all shapes and sizes. You could say there are different “levels” of being Polish. Here are those levels the way I see them.

Level 1: The Prodigal Pole

In the Bible, there’s the story about the Prodigal son, who ran away from home and wasted his wealth and talent on meaningless pleasures before finally hitting rock bottom.

Prodigal Poles are those people of Polish descent who have “run away” from their nationality. They have no interest in learning about their Polish ancestors, language or culture. Some of them might even know Polish and have gone to Polish school, but refuse to ever speak it out of shame. If given the choice between a vacation in Poland or getting wasted with strangers in Indiana, they would probably choose the latter. The only hope is that, like the prodigal son in the Bible, the prodigal Pole will see the light and come back…

Level 2: The Developing Pole

Out of all five levels of being Polish, the developing Poles deserve the most respect. They may be several generations removed from a Polish ancestor but are nevertheless heavily invested in discovering their Polish past. From researching genealogy, to trying out Babcia’s recipes, to reading Crazy Polish Guy, these Poles desire to know everything they can about Poland.

Although many of them don’t speak a word of Polish and have never visited Poland, they are, perhaps, the purest Poles due to their genuine desire to learn about their nationality. Their motivation comes from the heart, and that’s what matters most.

Level 3: The Proud Pole

Proud Poles are typically those who grew up in a strong Polish household or have developed in their knowledge of Polish culture to the point of showcasing it whenever possible. They speak Polish when they can, listen to Polish music, attend Polish events, go to Polish Mass and generally make Poland a regular part of their lives.

Proud Poles typically celebrate all major Polish traditions with their families—from Wigilia to Fat Thursday. They treat their colds with AMOL, gorge on Kołaczkis and have probably seen the movie Sami Swoi at least twice. Through their undying love for Poland, proud Poles ensure that the old ways will carry on.

polish heroLevel 4: The Crazy Pole

Consumed by the Polish spirit, the crazy Pole cannot go a day without doing or saying something Polish-related. He’s a nutcase who annoys his friends by bringing Polish beer to EVERY SINGLE get-together and will ramble for hours about how the Poles saved Europe in 1683.

The crazy Pole is not satisfied to live out his Polish culture and let others be (unlike the proud Pole). He actively promotes it, disseminating information about Poland whenever possible so that others too may understand the glory of that blessed nation. He takes developing Poles under his wing and does what he can to bring prodigal Poles back into the fold. A word of caution before becoming a crazy Pole: you run the risk of people viewing you as Polish and little else. If you’re ok with that, then jump on in. The water’s fine.

Level 5: The Actual Pole

The highest level of being Polish…is actually BEING Polish. You were born in Poland and Polish is your native tongue. You don’t have to do any of the other stuff because you can just say “I was born in Poland.”

Of course, just because you were born in Poland, doesn’t mean you can’t be horrible at being Polish. Although you cannot change your blood and birthplace, you can choose to ignore it. It’s possible for an actual Pole to also be a prodigal Pole if he or she has chosen to forget where they came from—that’s probably level zero of being Polish.

I guess the highest level, then, would be a crazy Pole who was actually born in Poland. But is the world ready for that?


13 thoughts on “The 5 Levels of Being Polish”

  1. Hello, I am definitely level 3 – a “Proud Polish”. Living for 35 years in Spain, I do not forget for a moment where I come from!! I like to spread news about my country( without tiring or annoying.)I live abroad for familiar reasons. Thank you for sending mails about our nation. Wish you a lot of luck. Magda Aguilar Cruz (Kwiatkowska).

    El Domingo 22 de Mayo de 2016 6:20, Crazy Polish Guy escribió:

    #yiv1600208073 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv1600208073 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv1600208073 a.yiv1600208073primaryactionlink:link, #yiv1600208073 a.yiv1600208073primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv1600208073 a.yiv1600208073primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv1600208073 a.yiv1600208073primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv1600208073 | Crazy Polish Guy posted: “There’s roughly 60 million Polish people living on the planet, and we come in all shapes and sizes. You could say there are different “levels” of being Polish. Here are those levels the way I see them.Level 1: The Prodigal PoleIn the Bible, there’s th” | |


  2. So by default, I’m a level 5 Pole 😀 But it feels like an almost undeserving title for someone who hates wódka, Tyskie and has never actually made homemade pierogi 😦


  3. Hi there! (What’s your real name by the way?:)

    So I was wondering if you might post some information about Bednarek’s concert in Chicago on May 26th. (your blog, social media pages) You could also possibility meet / interview the band and I’m happy to give you a free VIP ticket too. 🙂

    Here’s a couple links to their music if you’re not familiar…

    Event page with more info here:

    Hope you’re enjoying the weekend!




  4. Guess I am somewhere between Developing and Proud. I can’t speak Polish other than a few words..but studying it and planning a trip to Poland. I also wrote an historical fantasy book set i 1446 in Poland in which I have placed members of my family as a way to have them experience being Polish. Love your blog. Joanne Pelowski Eddy

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am 5 but also 3. My Canadian husband is 0.5 😊 He is married to Polish women, took his Polish mother in law under his roof and understands most of what she says in Polish. His dream is to spend several weeks in a Polish language school in Poland eating Polish food and drinking Polish beer.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There should be a level 3 ½. I was born in the U.S. Didn’t know a word of Polish. And went to Poland in 1993 and lived there almost 21 years. I became a Polish citizen in 2000 and vote for whoever my wife tells me to.


  7. Hi Crazy Polish Guy! May I have permission to put parts of this article, with your credit, in my organization’s newsletter? The name of the organization is the Kopernik Memorial Association and is in Utica, NY. We mail out approximately 200 newsletters. I would like to print the 5 levels of Poles and the first few sentences of each type. I’m a level 2. Thanks so much for your writing and consideration in this request. Sincerely, Mary Currie Kopernik Memorial Association Secretary


  8. I am Polish through my mothers father (the Michalkiewicz family from the Wilno area) so technically I am a quarter Polish. In the past 5 years (or perhaps longer) I have imersed myself in my Polish heritage. I have with much persistance and stubborness (Good Polish traits!!) traced through sacramental records from here in the USA, back to Poland (In my case modern day Lithuania) many lines of my family tree back to the 3rd partition.
    As proud as of I am of my other heritages (English, Scottish, Irish and Swedish) my Polish heritage is the one I have fallen the most in love with. The tragedies and the perseverance after them, the glories of her Golden Age, and the piety and simplicity of these noble people have me so proud to be part of such a great people through my blood. Perhaps it is because I look mike my grandpa Alex’ side of the family, whatever it is I am so proud of being even just a quarter Polish as my uncle says “being a quarter Polish is better then none at all!!”
    So, classify me as a very high 3.85 or just a plain level 4! I am glad my friend Mark Malionek turned me on to this page.

    Do widzenia!!!



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