Questions on Amish relationships with non-Amish


  1. What do Amish call the rest of us?
  2. Do Amish cooperate with non-Amish?
  3. Can I be friends with the Amish?
  4. Can I visit an Amish community?
  5. Do Amish accept outsiders into the church?

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What do Amish call non-Amish people? Most commonly, Amish refer to non-Amish people as “English”. They may call them “non-Amish” though that term is probably more commonly used outside the community.

The Amish in the Geauga County, Ohio community have their own name for non-Amish–“Yankees”. One theory for the unique name in this community, suggested by Amish researcher Stephen Scott, is that the English who settled that area of Ohio hailed from New England, and were literally “Yankees”.


Intercourse, PA Fire Auction and Community Days

Do Amish cooperate with non-Amish? Yes, in numerous ways. In business, many Amish have non-Amish partners, employees, co-workers, and of course customers.

Though conflicts sometimes arise, Amish also cooperate with local authorities in various ways, including with law enforcement and other officials. Amish also maintain relationships with English people as neighbors and friends.

Can I be friends with the Amish? Yes. Many Amish have friendships with English people. Amish appreciate those who respect and practice Christian values, though Amish maintain relationships with others not of their faith.

Can I visit an Amish community? Yes. Amish communities can be visited and some are popular tourist destinations. Many visitors enjoy patronizing Amish businesses and roadside stands. Try to respect the Amish by driving carefully and being thoughtful about photography.

Do Amish accept outsiders as church members? It is not common, but occasionally outsiders do join the Amish. Read more here.

More questions on the Amish? Get answers to 300+ questions in 41 categories at the FAQ main page.


  • Mackall, Joe. Plain Secrets: An Outsider Among the Amish. Boston: Beacon Press, 2007.
  • Stevick, Pauline. Beyond the Plain and Simple: A Patchwork of Amish Lives. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2006.

To Cite this Page: Wesner, Erik J. “Outsiders.” Amish America. Erik Wesner, 9 Apr. 2015. Web. [Date Accessed]. <>.

Image credits: Non-Amish visitor- Lauren Futch; Intercourse Community Days- Ed C.