S/O Is calling someone "Honey" or sweetie" demeaning them?

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Posted 1/26/2013 by susans sister in NSBR Board
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susans sister

PeaNut 128,232
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Posted: 1/26/2013 6:43:46 PM
I've called people by these names forever. It is hard for me to remember the names of all the kids in the neighborhood so I call them all Darling. Now they all call me Mrs Darling. But I use endearments to address adults also. Is this not nice?

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PeaNut 143,106
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Posted: 1/26/2013 6:49:22 PM
Like with a lot of things, context is everything. If it's a man at a meeting calling me "sweetie" or "darling" then yes, it's demeaning.

If it's meant to be an endearment, then no. I call my nieces/nephews a variety of things, ranging from "my love," (as in "Hi, my love!", to "gorgeous," to "sweetie pie," to crazy endearments to make them preen; I don't necessarily want to be called any of those in a professional setting, or by someone I don't know.

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PeaNut 3,902
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Posted: 1/26/2013 6:54:47 PM
It depends on who is doing it..and how they say it. If the kids in my neighborhood started calling me Mrs Darling, I would think they are making fun of me..

sunny 5

PeaNut 472,024
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Posted: 1/26/2013 6:57:28 PM
anything outside of friends or family...yes. I don't like being called this and I wouldn't use it myself. if you don't know a name, you can use sir, madam, or something equally polite.

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PeaNut 49,641
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Posted: 1/26/2013 7:01:26 PM
I agree that it depends. If I start calling you 'Honey' or 'Sweetie' then, yes, I'm demeaning you.

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PeaNut 43,061
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Posted: 1/26/2013 7:03:04 PM
Depends. If you are not in my immediate circle of friends or family, yes it's demeaning. And if you do it to me and you are not in that exclusive circle, I am going to want to stab you. Strangers assuming that kind of intimacy piss me off.


PeaNut 209,453
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Posted: 1/26/2013 7:03:09 PM
All depends on who is calling me these things. My BF and I are always calling each other "Sweetie" and there are times with my little kids at school when they are not feeling good or crying that I will call them honey and tell them its all ok.

My last boss though called everyone Honey when she needed help with something and Sweetie when you did something right. If she just called out your name with no Honey or Sweetie everyone would look at you and wonder what you did It was weird at first but once we learned the code it wasn't a big deal.

I've never had a male boss say these things to me and I think THAT would be awkward.


PeaNut 18,334
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Posted: 1/26/2013 7:08:04 PM
I'd prefer you not address me with an endearment unless we have a live together relationship going on.

If you don't know my name it is ok to by-pass calling me anything. Or ask me my name. If you don't know me well enough to remember my name you don't know me well enough to know if I'm your honey or not (I'm not!)

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PeaNut 11,642
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Posted: 1/26/2013 7:08:22 PM
If you are my mom, it is OK. If I am your customer or your coworker, it's not ok. I have specifically asked some male coworkers not to call me that.

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PeaNut 506,197
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Posted: 1/26/2013 7:09:21 PM
Totally depends on context and/or tone.


PeaNut 40,147
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Posted: 1/26/2013 7:14:08 PM
Some of my (male) customers call me sweetie and it pisses me off to no end.

Family and close friends - okay. Using those terms with a small child - okay.
Any other scenario - no. Just don't.


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PeaNut 297,141
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Posted: 1/26/2013 7:15:55 PM

I'm not particularly fond of using endearments with strangers - or even most mere acquaintances - but here in the south it's pretty common. Especially by store clerks and waitresses.

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PeaNut 163,728
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Posted: 1/26/2013 7:21:23 PM
If you don't know my name ask me. Don't make one up. M'am is fine but sweetie or hun? Not if you aren't my Mom or my SO. I have no qualms about saying so in person either.

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PeaNut 200,953
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Posted: 1/26/2013 7:24:27 PM
Family, sure. Strangers, please don't.

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PeaNut 88,246
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Posted: 1/26/2013 7:30:12 PM
Depends on the intent.

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PeaNut 36,163
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Posted: 1/26/2013 7:34:44 PM
Ugh. I hate being called dear, especially by strangers. Hate it.

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PeaNut 93,895
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Posted: 1/26/2013 8:01:26 PM
To me, it depends on the industry. An attorney at the law firm I used to work at? No way. Demeaning. The men in the oilfield services business that I now work in? Doesn't bother me a bit. They mean nothing bad by it, and it's a way for them to show that they see you as different from the steel-toe booted men they are used to dealing with.

I can always tell if it's meant as an insult or not, so I am not generally bothered by it. When I sense it's an insult, I just reply with whatever I was going to say, and follow it up with "you got that, darlin'?" Usually puts a stop to it.


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PeaNut 473,951
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Posted: 1/26/2013 8:09:33 PM
It depends on the context. A male stranger probably couldn't get away with it. A little 80 year old woman could use those endearments with no problem.

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PeaNut 469,703
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Posted: 1/26/2013 8:18:57 PM
It absolutely offends me, only my husband is permitted to use terms of endearment with me. I have complained at work, my manager was extremely supportive and when my coworker did not stop, disciplinary action was taken. When a customer says it? I suck it up and deal with it, I know I'm not spending 8-9 hours a day with them.


PeaNut 385,849
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Posted: 1/26/2013 8:23:22 PM

I'd prefer you not address me with an endearment unless we have a live together relationship going on.

If you don't know my name it is ok to by-pass calling me anything. Or ask me my name. If you don't know me well enough to remember my name you don't know me well enough to know if I'm your honey or not (I'm not!)

^^^^what she said^^^^


Ruby Slippered Pea

PeaNut 74,765
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Posted: 1/26/2013 8:26:08 PM
I find it demeaning when someone younger than I am calls me "sweetie" or "hon". The other day I went into Best Buy to look for a new phone for my son and the girl standing at the security booth at the entry way door said to me "Hi, hon! How ya doin' today?!" It just grated on my nerves. When I left, she said something like, "Have a nice day, sweetie". To me that just lacks respect for someone older. I wouldn't mind being called "hon" or "sweetie" by someone older than I am, but I certainly don't want to hear it coming from someone half my age.

Peain' in the Pool

PeaNut 78,065
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Posted: 1/26/2013 8:41:42 PM

I would've thought so most of the time, until I moved to the South, and realized it was something I'd just have to get used to.



PeaNut 146,748
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Posted: 1/26/2013 8:47:12 PM
having lived in the south for so many years, I have gotten used to it, usually it is used as "politeness". there have been a few times when it has made me uncomfortable...

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PeaNut 24,951
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Posted: 1/26/2013 8:59:46 PM
Really, unless it was my boss, it is not demeaning to me at all. To me, it is a comforting thing that a stranger would have nice words for me.


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PeaNut 268,398
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Posted: 1/26/2013 9:28:17 PM
I don't like being called these kind of pet names by people I am not close to. If your not my mother, grandmother or significant other you don't get to call me that. Based on past experiences I can predict that nothing good is going to come after the mushy greeting. When women "sweetie" you it can come off as fake. If it's in a work setting it's very unprofessional. I had a married man on an Southwest airplane say to me "hey hun, is that seat taken" and then proceed to hit on me the entire flight while I'd tried to read and listen to my ipod. I'm thinking of switching gas stations because the gas attendent is always calling me these sorts of names and it's really making me uncomfortable.


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Posted: 1/26/2013 9:40:33 PM
When I get petrol at the local servo, my DGS like to go in and pay. The owner always used to call him "sweetie" and GS hated it. He said that was for girls and couldn't the guy see he was a boy? The last few months Mr Petrol Man has been calling him 'mate' which makes him happy because that's for men.

I don't mind 'sweetie', 'honey' or those types of names if I know you, but not so much from a stranger. It's just seems a bit too familiar from someone I don't know well or have just met.

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PeaNut 163,613
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Posted: 1/26/2013 10:16:12 PM
As long as my boss isn't calling me that I'm good with it

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PeaNut 431,337
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Posted: 1/26/2013 10:23:35 PM
I live in the south. I'm totally ok with the term. I got called baby girl today by my BIL.


PeaNut 551,174
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Posted: 1/26/2013 10:36:56 PM
I don't like it. It makes me uncomfortable unless it's from my mom or dh.

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PeaNut 307,816
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Posted: 1/26/2013 10:38:36 PM
I'm not from the South, but it doesn't bother me a bit. Maybe it's because I'm past the years when I would have thought it was a chauvinistic put down. Of course, there might be times when I might find it slimy, depending on who, and the tone of voice. Now I'm just pleased that people address me with a term of endearment. Life is too short to be annoyed by things that are, for the most part, done innocently.

Never mind, I forgot what I was going to say.

PeaNut 40,938
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Posted: 1/26/2013 11:14:51 PM
I'm on the phone a lot for work and it really bothers me when a customer calls me hon or honey. I don't like it when customer service people use those terms either and have even asked them not to use it.

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PeaNut 509,811
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Posted: 1/27/2013 9:54:10 AM
I agree - depends on context and intent. But in general not something that I'd get my panties in a bunch over

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PeaNut 219,004
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Posted: 1/27/2013 10:01:10 AM
It definitely depends on the context. My former boss called me sweetie all the time. She was a backstabbing, micromanaging bitch on wheels. Apparently she thought that calling you sweetie while cutting you down softened the blow. It didn't.


Doxie Pea Mom

PeaNut 52,841
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Posted: 1/27/2013 10:08:12 AM

but here in the south it's pretty common. Especially by store clerks and waitresses.

This^^^ The waitresses are usually in diner type restaurants. Also, it almost always women using the terms, not men.

The tone they use tells me they are not using the term in a demeaning way. It is just what they have always done and they are being friendly; therefore, I don't get offended. If this were being said in a more professional environment, I wouldn't like it.

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PeaNut 57,182
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Posted: 1/27/2013 10:11:00 AM
I work in a school library where I see 570 kids on a weekly basis. I also work at our public library at the main circulation desk, so I see a ton of people there, too. Aaaaand, all three of my kids are involved in hockey/ringette and baseball/softball, so there are three more teams of kids and parents each season. Not to mention all the people I meet through my general life and through my dh and his job. My brain just can't handle that many names and faces, so at school, I generally refer to most kids whose name doesn't immediately jump to my lips as "Buddy". I thought it was a nice generic and friendly term, and more respectful somehow than dear or sweetie or honey. About a year ago, a little girl turned to me and said, "I am NOT a buddy. I am a GIRL"--so now I have 569 buddies and 1 Maya

Thrift Ninja

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Posted: 1/27/2013 11:58:20 AM
The people who I speak to at work (my manufacturers) who are Southern talk that way. Doesn't bother me. I just figure they're Southern and that's how they do it.

We're from Seattle. Yeah, we don't talk that way. I think it's kind of cute/quaint when people do though.

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PeaNut 114,407
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Posted: 1/27/2013 12:09:00 PM
Depends on tone.

When said with love, no.

When said with derision, certainly.

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Thrift Whisperer

PeaNut 114,407
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Posted: 1/27/2013 12:10:28 PM

About a year ago, a little girl turned to me and said, "I am NOT a buddy. I am a GIRL"--so now I have 569 buddies and 1 Maya

Or 569 buddies and one little witch.

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PeaNut 508,803
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Posted: 1/27/2013 12:14:45 PM
If it is a peer that you just met and or stranger, then yes it could be. Some people just use those terms to everyone though, that's the catch.

Now if it is someone you have built a relationship with there is nothing wrong with it. Also, if it's an elderly person using the term I seem to be more understanding of it and it's more acceptable in our society.


PeaNut 304,038
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Posted: 1/27/2013 12:19:09 PM
The only place it bugs me is when people use it on here, or facebook or wherever on the internets to be passive aggressive.
For example:
Listen, sweetie, you can say what you want but gall stones are not funny in my book.


PeaNut 190,156
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Posted: 1/27/2013 1:02:20 PM
Born and raised in the South and heard it all my life. I am a school teacher and use those terms daily with my students both boys and girls (I teach 5th grade!). I have never had a child or parent complain. Of course they know I am using it as a term or endearment.

It also doesn't mean I don't know their name. I use their name equally as much if not more.


PeaNut 364,981
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Posted: 1/27/2013 1:07:14 PM
It's just being polite where I live. I like the sound of Southern charm and am sorry to see it fading away.

However, when used in the workplace or with sexual intent it is always inappropriate.


PeaNut 130,936
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Posted: 1/27/2013 2:52:09 PM
Hmm, a lot of you would be mighty uncomfortable in Australia.

There was a national debate on this recently last year, with considering to ban endearments. Most of Australia was up in arms as it is so common for us to use them.
I, myself, call practically everyone I meet 'honey, sweet, hon, mate' I may or may not remember their names but it is a habit that runs deep. I don't see how it is demeaning or disrespectful. If anything, it's a sign of friendliness.

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PeaNut 33,625
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Posted: 1/27/2013 3:06:07 PM

I'm not from the South, but it doesn't bother me a bit.

Same here, but I'm not bothered by much

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Posted: 1/27/2013 3:26:05 PM

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PeaNut 43,061
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Posted: 1/27/2013 4:09:27 PM

If anything, it's a sign of friendliness.
I'm sure it is, however it also implies an intimacy between us that is not there. If you are my cafeteria lady and you constantly call me "sweetie", "hun", "dear", or whatever and we have never had a relationship beyond you giving me my food, you are overstepping the boundaries of the relationship. If you are my intimate friend or family, then it's a different ball of wax entirely and more appropriate.


PeaNut 317,184
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Posted: 1/27/2013 5:18:31 PM
I'm not a big fan of endearments. I'd much rather be called by my name. Even my DH doesn't call me honey or sweetie.

One of the receptionists at work always calls me doll. As in Hey, doll, how are you? I don't know why but it just bugs me. It's so on the tip of my tongue to say, well, I'm not a doll but my name is S....... Though if I called her on it, I'd probably be the one in trouble.


PeaNut 300,909
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Posted: 1/27/2013 5:30:57 PM
Context. If a stranger on the street calls me darling or honey then I assume it's like 'sugar' and I'm offended. Somebody I know who can't remember anyones names, fine.

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PeaNut 199,404
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Posted: 1/27/2013 6:19:52 PM

I "sweetie" and "honey" my teenage DDs, and I usually end up doing it to their friends when they're over. Bad habit? Maybe. I didn't think it was so bad before this thread. I still don't think it's the worst thing in the world. Would you be offended if it was your friend's mom saying it?

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PeaNut 52,307
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Posted: 1/27/2013 6:51:11 PM
I'm from Louisiana and it is normal to me. I don't actually use honey or sweetie but it sounds normal to me and I'm not offended UNLESS the person means it that way. Where I live now is populated by people who ARE Texans OR who have lived in Texas and it is normal here too. And surprisingly, where I work, there are two other people from Louisiana, one from north Louisiana like me and the other one from near Baton Rouge.

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