What Do the Amish Think of Outsiders?
What do the Amish think of outsiders? And what does this mean for people wanting to befriend members of the Amish community?
Due to their separation, self-sufficiency, and old-fashioned ways, the Amish can be misrepresented and misunderstood. Yet they’re not opposed to friendship with their non-Amish neighbors. You may have more in common with the Amish than you think.
Amish people attend school, work, get married, and raise families like many people worldwide. They make beautiful crafts out of wicker and wood. They love to sew and bake and have hobbies. And they even partake in sports when they’re able. It’s the ways they do these things that differ from yours.
Learn more about what the Amish think of outsiders and how to enjoy a friendship with this community in the article below.
What this article covers:
- Can Non-Amish Be Friends with an Amish Person?
- How Do the Amish People View Tourists?
- Can the Amish Marry Outsiders?
- Can Outsiders Join Amish Communities?
Can Non-Amish Be Friends with an Amish Person?
There’s no rule against friendships between Amish and non-Amish people. The Amish love meeting other people and conversing about life. But always respect their devout laws and views on modern living, which will almost certainly differ from yours.
You don’t have to have the same beliefs to befriend an Amish person. You just have to respect theirs as they respect yours. That’s the key to all successful friendships with Amish or non-Amish people.
Amish Baskets - A True Gift Of Love & Friendship
Do the Amish accept gifts from outsiders? Yes, as long as they don’t offend or contradict their laws and values. Do they give gifts? Yes, they love to give gifts, too. Your Amish friend will probably gift you with something they made themselves.
These could be anything from handsewn Amish faceless dolls to handwoven wicker baskets for the home. Because of their great skill in basket weaving, many Amish people sell their wares through the Amish Baskets initiative to provide a community income stream.
Beautiful and functional, they include a wicker laundry basket with handles, a rustic bread box, and a charming multiple-pie carrier. There are so many items with olde-worlde charm for you to choose from. They make lovely gifts, so remember to pick some up while you’re here.
How Do the Amish People View Tourists?
Amish Country is a beacon for summer vacationers, but how do the Amish view these tourists?
They have no problem whatsoever with well-meaning visitors. Amish people are friendly and happy to teach outsiders about their lifestyle and culture. The problem is when visitors don’t respect the Amish “no pictures” rule.
The Problem with Photographs
Tourists tend to take a lot of vacation photos, and that’s not a problem by itself. It’s when they want to take pictures of and with Amish people, that difficulties arise. The Amish don’t take photographs of themselves or each other, nor do they allow their community members to be photographed.
Can the Amish Marry Outsiders?
Although it’s very rare for an outsider to marry into an Amish community, it can and does happen. The reason is that it takes a lot to be accepted by the Amish community as a full-fledged member. You’d have to convert to their religious doctrine, be baptized, and live amongst them.
Don’t feel as if you’ve been singled out, though. This rule applies equally to Amish-born people. They can only get married once they have been baptized into the Amish religion and way of life.
Even some born-and-bred Amish people find their lifestyle too rigid and demanding and leave. But once again, this is rare. Community spirit and family life are of paramount importance to Amish people, although religious duty always takes top priority.
Why Do the Amish Separate Themselves From the Rest of Society?
Their separation from the outside world is what has kept the Amish culture alive and well for centuries.
It makes it easier for them to stay true to their values and norms, away from the temptations and distractions of secular life. It also allows them the peace and tranquility to focus on their relationship with God and His creative works. This is why Amish people love to work outdoors and enjoy nature.
Unfortunately, this determination to self-determination is what has caused many misconceptions and led to some ludicrous Amish stereotypes over the years. Contrary to popular belief, the Amish are not a cult, and they don’t practice polygamy. They are protestant Christians, albeit extremely conservative ones.
Can Outsiders Join Amish Communities?
Outsiders can join Amish communities. But just as with marriage to an Amish person, there are some requirements. You’d have to leave behind your modern conveniences and secular pastimes, become baptized, and live in the Amish village.
Although you’d be permitted to visit your non-Amish family and stay in touch with friends, your lifestyle would have to change drastically. Modest attire, humble furnishings, and living without electrical conveniences all play a role. And then there’s the language.
Amish call outsiders English because, when they arrived in Pennsylvania all those years ago, they noted that most of their non-Amish neighbors spoke English. The name stuck, and that is what they call outsiders to this day. The English, on the other hand, called the Amish the Pennsylvania Dutch.
So, are they, in fact, Dutch? Are all Amish white? They tend to be mostly fair-skinned because they descended from the Swiss Germans, and there has been very little intermarriage since their arrival. Do they speak Dutch? No, this was a misunderstanding that never got resolved. They speak an old form of German.
Amish people are, at the end of the day, American people. They are a distinctive religious and cultural group of their own, yet they are a part of the fusion that is the United States. But while they are in the world, they aren’t worldly.
They strive at all times to avoid the spirit of worldliness that pervades modern society. Does that mean that they’re opposed to fellowship and socializing with outsiders? Not at all. However, they do so only if they can sustain their culture and preserve their identity as a people.
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