This post encouraged me to write on Polish greetings. The most important rule is to use formal greetings and Pan/Pani forms to:
1. people that you don't know
2. older than you
3. on a higher position.
Of course if you're young you can be informal with people in the same age. But the older you get you should avoid saying "Cześć" to strangers. In shops, restaurants or any kind of services we always use formal versions.
Informal both hello and goodbye:
Cześć - hard to pronounce but a nice word - it also means "honour".
Siema - abbreviation of "Jak się masz?" ("How are you?"), used by young people
Dzień dobry - Good day, morning, afternoon
Dobry wieczór - Good evening
Half formal half informal hello:
Witam - I welcome you, only the host uses it, very popular also in e-mails
Witaj - Welcome
Half formal half informal goodbye:
Do zobaczenia - See you! We assume that we will meet soon.
Do usłyszenia - the same but used only during phone conversation
Na razie - See you
Do zobaczyska - See you
Trzymaj się/Trzym się - Take care
In the night:
Dobranoc/Dobrej nocy - Good night
How do you do? How are you?
Jak się masz? Jak się Pan/Pani ma?
Jak się miewasz? Jak się Pan/Pani miewa?
The most popular answer is "dobrze" (well) and "(Wszystko) w porządku" (ok, everything all right). But we have a wider range of options: świetnie/super, bardzo dobrze, tak sobie (so so), jako tako (tolerably well), źle (badly), bardzo źle, fatalnie/okropnie (terrible).
Co u Ciebie? Co u Pana/Pani? Co słychać? Co nowego? - What's up? What's new?
Answer can be the same as above plus: Nic nowego/Po staremu (nothing new).
As Anna in Polish Blog wrote - be aware that you can hear a real answer including somebody's problems with: health, money, work or partner. Very popular is to complain about the weather, political or economical situation in Poland. Poles don't like to brag and generally they diminish their accomplishments. This is a very interesting topic but this post is getting too long so I will continue next time...
C.D.N. (ciąg dalszy nastąpi) - to be continued