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?

Back to FAQ main page

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? It is not common, but occasionally outsiders do join the Amish as church members. 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]. <https://amishamerica.com/outsiders/>.

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

Get the Amish in your inbox

Join 15,000 email subscribers. No spam. 100% free

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    1. jasmine


      What do call a boy friend over in Lancaster county

    2. Mark -- Holmes Co.

      Sweetheart, honey, dear, pumpkin, oh…. you meant what does an Amish girl call her boyfriend? (Sorry, just kidding, couldn’t resist it!)

      In the PA Dutch we’d often say “kal,” which would be fellow or guy in English, but in PA you often hear “chap,” or “chappie” too, as in “Mary and her chap were there.”

    3. Jill

      Oddball question for the Amish

      Hi – as we are now in the end times of the Bible, do the Amish understand that they may become very popular if (more like *when*) the electricity goes out? I wonder about this a lot because we “English” city folk know *NOTHING* about…well, anything that is non electric, nor anything that is made by/used by hand. Would the Amish rise the occasion to help in a potentially electricity-free world?

    4. Jonathan

      Do you know of any Amish communities that would allow someone to live and work with them for a summer?

    5. Victoria Cooper

      Amish in Kansas

      I live outside a small town Wakefield,Ks. All of a sudden there are Amish building all around me. Is there any way to find out how many Amish are coming to my area? And how many buildings I can expect to go up? Feeling a bit overwhelmed by going from no neighbors to lots of new neighbors. I do know that they are from Pennsylvania. I’d ask them but they are not very friendly. Any help with this could be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    6. Tylor D

      Joining the Amish

      I have done a lot of research, and feel like God has led me to Joining the amish o and is there a way that find a way to join an Amish Community

    7. Bartimaeus

      How a foreigner join the Amish

      Hello, could you please tell me how a foreigner join the Amish? Did he/she should get a green card so as to live in America and then find a way to live in the Amish community? Thanks.

    8. Orange Iguana

      England is a country

      These poor kids aren’t allowed to get an education and don’t realize England is actually a country where English people live. But they are in America. It’s so sad.

      1. Pickles McGee

        "English" refers to the language, not the country of origin.

        Perhaps if you were burdened with an education you’d understand that “English”, when used by the Amish, refers to English-speaking outsiders… not their country of origin.

        Sad, indeed.