Are the Amish Rude? Viewers Respond

“I don’t recall ever feeling they were rude. But I definitely thought they didn’t like small talk. I assumed it was because I was English – or if I was speaking to a man, it was that I was a woman.”

That’s a comment from one observer on the question “Are the Amish rude?” Some of you might recall this topic from back in March – the post on Amish manners.

That got quite a good discussion going at the time. So I decided it might make a good video as well. That just went up (see bottom of post). I also wanted to share some of the many interesting responses.


Like on the original post, the video has been getting some great comments. People’s opinions seem to be mixed, but with many leaning to the more neutral or positive ideas that Amish are “polite”, “quiet”, “blunt”, “nice”, “distant”, and “direct”.

Are the Amish Rude? Your Experiences

Here’s a sampling of viewer comments suggesting a wide variety of experiences:

@dellabryan4768 • 17 hours ago
Any Amish I’ve talked with have been nice. They are direct, but pleasant.

@sharonholmes2470 • 10 hours ago
Short and to the point. Our experience in Lancaster, PA.

@kagnewmp12 • 16 hours ago
As I am approaching my fourth year of being an Amish driver I can relate to what you are saying. I have noticed some of my riders can spend most of the drive without a single word till they ask me what my charge is.

I’ve had riders that started out as very quiet but as they come to know me better they are much better at talking with me about a wide variety of subjects.

@joycel242 • 4 hours ago
They are not rude; they get to the point without a lot of unnecessary conversation. People don’t understand that the Amish have a living to make and every minute counts.

Image: Don Burke

@nathanyoder2379 • 16 hours ago
Interesting! I’m no longer Amish but when I was a part of the culture I used to speak at several local colleges about once a year. One of the topics was titled “Are the Amish Rude?”

Funny story – my Amish ministers and friends were curious about what I had to say about Amish being rude. In a discussion one Sunday after lunch I mentioned that Amish often abruptly end a conversation simply by walking away.

My friends all laughed and within the next 5 minutes two of the people in the conversation demonstrated that very thing. For those still in the conversation it suddenly became real to them.

@mo-rfd • 14 hours ago
My husband rides his bicycle frequently through the Amish community near our home. The Amish always wave as a greeting but never call out “hello.” My husband feels they are more comfortable with the “silence” of nonverbal communication.

@fransak2723 • 5 hours ago
We live amongst the Amish in southern Lancaster county. They always wave when they go by or when you pass them but seldom stop to visit. We have come to the conclusion that we will never be true “friends” just neighbors.

Amish businessmen do not seem to want to deal with me but would rather deal with my husband. We were parked next to an Amish transport van yesterday and the young Amish woman opened the door and hit our mirror, she never said a word of apology, just proceeded to the store.

@RockinRavenVA • 16 hours ago
Can confirm the one-word requests at the dinner table! It was disconcerting at first, but now I mumble “buttah” or “kaes” (cheese) just like everyone else.

Image: Jim Halverson

@michaelnoble8098 • 15 hours ago
Our local Amish community is Swiss (their term) and leans more toward Schwartzentruber culture. I have two different ways of interacting with the families.

Those folks I’ve known and worked with my whole life are family to me. We are very open and “chatty” across generations. Those folks I don’t know as well are more reserved and so I follow their lead. Their level of comfort with English varies and I think that is a factor in the ease of communication.

I also have learned not to address the lady of the house directly unless she addresses me. I try to be conscious of social norms they prefer to hold so I’m not rude or unwittingly creating discomfort for my Amish neighbors.

@angieb7733 • 9 hours ago
I sometimes work with Amish families in their homes to provide services for their children who have disabilities. They have always been friendly and hospitable and have not been curt or “impolite”. I enjoy spending time with them. They are no-nonsense, though, and want to get things done. I can appreciate that.

@Douglas4936 • 16 hours ago
The more modern ones seem to be friendlier. The Swartzentrubers less so.

@zelphx • 14 hours ago
“Blunt”, but not “rude”. Even then, most Amish I have interacted with were not that way. MANY are quite amiable… In their way.

There are many more, but that gives you an idea. Check out the video below, or if you prefer, read the original article here.

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    1. K.D.

      Are the Amish Rude?

      Hello Erik,
      My personal experience with the Amish has been limited as there are
      none where I currently live. But back around 1989 I had a chance to visit
      Kalowna, Iowa with my grandmother. At some Amish owned businesses
      I noticed the employees were mostly teenagers. They were being supervised
      by various Amish adults. I got the distinct feeling the adults did not approve
      of innocent “chit-chat” with the English as the emphasis of the teens’ work WAS
      to work, not be silly and chat up each customer. The other side of the coin is
      that around the same year I was fortunate to find a teenaged Mennonite girl to
      write letters to. We exchanged several letters over maybe 6 months. Then to my
      sheer joy, she invited me out to her family’s farm for morning church service and
      lunch at their home afterward. I tell you, the whole family were wonderful!! Very
      warm & kind in every possible way. They patiently answered any questions I had
      about their history, faith, family, occupations, etc. I think this is because I was not
      the first Englischer to their home & farm. Also, the husband/father in the family was
      a church Deacon. I assumed he had spoken to many Englischers over the years of
      service to his church and had also answered their questions as well. Then in the
      early 1990s a woman I knew from the local Amish area began driving the Amish to
      the stores, appointments, etc. She said for the first several months the ladies were
      quiet, almost timid. So one day she took one of the older Amish ladies aside and
      asked, “I notice there’s not much talk between me and my riders. Have I done
      anything wrong?”. And the Amish lady replied, “Oh, on the contrary. It is we who feel
      embarrassed because we don’t know much about the lives of the English. We’re not
      sure which subjects to ask YOU about.” The important take away for me on the subject
      of rudeness is simply: Don’t apply the manners of a few plain folk to ALL plain folk.
      Just wanted to share these little glimpses into plain culture with you & those who
      frequent your site.

      1. Dolores

        Very well stated

        I was a driver for an Amish Farrier for several years. The first year was a bit awkward and not much conversation, but as we got to know each other and learned more about each other and our likes, dislikes, beliefs, etc…our families have become close friends. We talk about everything, tell jokes and discuss politics, religion, hobbies, etc without any awkwardness.
        Tho retired now, I visit them whenever I am back in their area and consider them family.

    2. Glenn Renfrow

      Are the Amish rude?

      I have been around Amish communities for several years. I have only met one I would consider rude. Many have invited me in to their homes. I have been invited for meals. Some I consider food friends, while some are just people I know. The one who was rude, was extremely rude. He never spoke to me. I had breakfast with the family, and was invited for morning prayer. His wife talked to me, and his son tried to talk to me, before the father got on to him about it. Funny thing is, this was my first exposure to any other than ones I had known a few years. I have been driving for the Amish community near me for 8 years now, and have never met another like him.

    3. Brigitte Franzen

      Not rude at all

      I definitely agree that their style goes back to its German(ic) roots. Having grown up in Germany, I feel perfectly at ease in Amish Country, mannerisms included. I have lived here for over 40 years, and I still hear comments about my blunt communication style. When I wrote my memoir and started working with a coach to improve my chances of getting published, one of his first comments was along the lines of needing to be nicer and less blunt. (Touché )
      You could even expand it to include body language. Growing up German meant that sitting with my arms crossed indicates being relaxed or ‘gelassen’. In the US it is invariably interpreted as feeling standoffish or at the very least the room being chilly.

      1. Dolores

        Old Country

        Hi Brigitte, my Grandmother and Grandfather were both children when they emigrated to the U.S. Tho I never met my Grandfather (died just before my birth), my grandmother was raised very “old country”. I guess that may be why I am very comfortable around Amish…it is what I was raised with and many of their mannerisms feel normal to me also. I don’t find them rude…I find the directness quite refreshing and find I am m7ch more comfortable around Amish than I am most English…even tho I was raised and am “English”

    4. john

      Amish Rudeness

      I have stopped ar different locations in Central Michigan Clare and Manton area and found most of them to be very friendly and helpful. There is one family who sets up on a Saturday selling jams and others canned food I was looking for a certain flavor of jam and he did not have any on display I purchased several others and went back to my truck and he went through his stock again and found a jar of jam I was looking for and brought to my truck. I try to strike up a conversation with them when I stop there and they seem very friendly. I have stopped at the quilt auction in Clare many times and most of them are friendly while others are just down to business. I stopped at a business in Manton that builds the sheds and buildings that you along the road up there and asked several questions about them picked up a flyer form the sheds and he made feel like he was used car salesman as he had the sales agreement out and wanted a make a sale right then. I told him I was just looking for information and he walked away. They may seem rude but compared to today’s world where you go into stores or gas stations and the cashier sits there talking on their phone while you wait to make your purchase the Amish are likeable.

    5. elaine

      amish rudeness

      based on 15 years’ experience of interacting with a variety of amish communities this is what i have learned. “rude” is not in their vocabulary as far as interacting with the “english.” if, you have something that they want/need and they can only obtain it by interacting with the “english” they will ever so briefly with the limited people skills they have not be what we consider to be “rude.” the amish DO NOT want to interact with the “english” out of “gee i like you.” they DO NOT want to be your friend, they are not “come to my birthday party” kind of people when it comes to having a relationship with “english.” remember, this is a group of people who have some really quirky behavior and using “our religion” as the reason why inappropriate behavior is acceptable is wrong. tread and watch your step carefully, because they are doing the same with you. rudy schwartz once made this comment to me, “it takes all kinds of vegetables to make vegetable soup.”

      1. Dolores


        I think your interpretation of Amish is a bit “askew”. I have Amish “FRIENDS” that are true friends. They have invited me and my husband to their weddings, shared the announcement of the birth of their children, call just to “chat” and have even referred to me as “family” (they refer to me as “Amlish”).
        I think it depends on the level of understanding that the English they interact with give them and their culture.
        I guess I am very comfortable with the Amish culture since my grandmother was Penn-Dutch and I was raised in a very similar manner under my grandmother’s influence.
        However, I know I am not the only English person that they consider close friends. I do think Amish become good at “reading” English and figuring out who is accepting of their culture and at what level.
        I also think it also depends on whether you are interacting with a more progressive community or a Swartentruber (old order) community.
        They are not rude, nor are they “distant” or “standoff-ish”…they just want English to respect their right to their customs without judgement or comment.

    6. Jeffrey C Masters

      My experience with them over the last 25 years, has led me to change my opinion about this. At first, I thought they could be very rude, but as i was around them more and more, I realized that many of them are just introverted. Not in a bad way, but reluctant to talk to people they don’t know very well. As we have become good friends with them, I understand that They express themselves simply, and without a lot of unneeded words. They would never be described as verbose! My wife and I have spent many many weekends with them in their home, and the women are all comfortable enough with us to wash their hair and get ready for the next days church service with us in the house. Sometimes, actions speak much louder than words. After a recent family tragedy I spent a lot of time on the phone with several members of an extended Amish family. I am never shy about expressing our familial love for them, which is seldom returned, but understood. I guess the sudden loss changed something because several of the men told me we were as close a friend as their family had. Quiet, reserved, rude, whatever you choose to call it, they are fine people who should be respected.

    7. bill

      amis being rude

      They live all around me in york cty. some wave some dont some will talk some wont. I think there like everyone else

    8. Dolores


      I have several Amish friends and they are definitely not rude. For the most part, Amish do not partake in small talk. They are a bit reserved around English until they get more familiar with them, but even then, they are very “matter-of-factly” about things. The Amish aren’t into “political correctness” (which is probably why I feel so comfortable with them). They speak what’s on their minds, and since they are not familiar with our (English society’s) nuances of P.C. and subtle questioning and colloquialisms, they seem much more abrupt about things they don’t understand or are new to them, which I find quite refreshing.
      However, in many ways they are MUCH more polite and respectful of others than most English. They will not turn away things offered to them (by English) for the reason they do not want to “offend” the giver. Nor will they speak up when English make an inappropriate or incorrect comment, again, for fear of offending.


      A new amish arrival to our community bought some property from a friend of mine.
      I farm the adjoining property. The Amish fella put up a single strand of wire 1/2 mile long to pasture his horses. When harvest came I realized that his horses had been able to reach over and under the wire and eat two rows of my corn all summer. A deer ran through the wire and drug it onto my field. I hit it with my stalk chopper that fall resulting in broken belts, burned bearings and a huge tangle of wire resulting in two days of repairs. When I went over to complain he state, “I’m sorry for your troubles” and walked away.
      I sure miss my old neighbor and hate to see so many new Amish/Mennonites colonizing our area as they contribute very little to our community, state, nation and only care about obtaining land, land and more land.

    10. bill powell

      are amish rude

      My new amish neighbor just bought farm next to me stoped by yesteray with his dughters brought cookies and christmas card.I have no problems with them. Would rather have have them then 50-60 new homes cant eat them.