Don’t Call Me Sweetie: When Terms of Endearment Aren’t So Endearing

Don’t Call Me Sweetie: When Terms of Endearment Aren’t So Endearing

I was 32 years-old and just promoted as a new manager in a training facility. A woman who lost out on the promotion who was three years older began passing my office, sweetly greeting me each day with, “Good morning, kiddo.”

In my mid-thirties I reconnected with an old highschool friend on Facebook who was my age, if not a few months younger. We enjoyed a long phone call and when the call ended, she said, “Thanks for calling, dear.”

I was 37 years-old working with a new manager who was one year older than me. I got a sense he was aware of my potential, and saw the respect a lot of staff had for me over him. When I left work each night, he started to say, “Have a good night, kid.”

I was 40 years-old out for dinner with my senior-citizen parents who came in to town. The 20-something waitress dropped off our drinks, showing my dad attention, “There you go, my love.” My mom and I gave each other a look as if to say, “Oh please,” but we were also given the same strange treatment, “Need anything else, dear?”

Don’t Call Me Sweetie: When Terms of Endearment Aren’t So Endearing

All of these ways of addressing me tell a different story of how the other person wanted me to perceive them, what their position was over me or against me, and I hope that more people understand the damage that occurs from this sort of disrespect. Because yes, it’s disrespectful.

Using a term of endearment is a privilege, often reserved for someone who is a generation removed from the person they are addressing and only in a personal environment. In the case of opposite-sex attention, if used carefully and it is welcoming, it can be used by either sex regardless of age gap.

Can’t remember the person’s name? Ask for it again. Don’t know the person’s name, but have the need to call them something? Ask them what they preferred to be called. In the case of a restaurant worker who just simply goes on auto-pilot with what she thinks is cute and will generate tips – I would say pick your clientele carefully. A married old guy sitting with his wife and a daughter old enough to be the waitress’s mother should probably take it off auto-pilot and learn some respect.

Whether it’s intentional or not, referring to employees or employers with terms of endearment is just dreadful. It tells a manager that you don’t fully accept their place, or tells an employee that they aren’t in their league. No amount of justification is needed. It’s just terrible.

To this day, I find it warming to hear someone 20+ years older than me calling me these names on a personal level. But in any professional environment, whether I’m at work or doing business with someone, I’ll cut the person off at the knees, letting them know I prefer not to be called anything other than my name. In ALL situations if someone is my age, younger, or even up to 10-20 years older, it’s never okay, even in personal situations.

Don’t Call Me Sweetie: When Terms of Endearment Aren’t So Endearing

I’m positive that a lot more respect and a favourable reaction will come anyone’s way to know how to address someone in various situations, and to be interchangeable with their terms of endearment by being aware of their surroundings and who they’re talking to.

Don’t Call Me Sweetie: When Terms of Endearment Aren’t So Endearing
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Most Helpful Girl

  • redeyemindtricks
    If someone is clearly just being polite and friendly, then taking offense is clearly unwarranted... and claiming "damage" is absolutely beyond ridiculous.
    I mean... If these things are actually a big deal to you, I can only conclude that you haven't faced much in the way of *actual* problems, or tragedy, or sadness, in yr life.

    In that case... just appreciate having a blessed life.
    Don't manufacture problems where no problem actually exists, and don't go around searching high and low for things to take offense to.
    Believe me, *real* problems will happen soon enough.
    Is this still revelant?
    • Ozanne

      It's a MyTake, not my life story, sweetie.

    • @Ozanne there you go. That "sweetie" really gives your passive, sarcastic comment some bite. That's clearly meant to be a jab.

      You should just start aggressively correcting/responding to people with that level snark'.

Most Helpful Guy

  • martyfellow
    What a PC rant. The waitress was just trying to be nice and respectful to you old people and you go into a fit ab out disrespect.
    Is this still revelant?
    • RedVulcan

      That's nice dear. I don't believe you've seen her point though.

    • @RedVulcan sweetie, it's a rant, there is no other point.

    • Unit1

      I kind of have to agree with martyfellow. What wrong with being kind, hun?

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • YourFutureEx
    Exactly! I've seen people who call just anyone "sweety" and they barely even know them. It's just irritating. These words mean a lot, we should use them only if we are close to each other. Even in college, seniors expect juniors to call them "sir", I mean really?
  • peachblossomluck
    I've heard these words used in a sarcastic way to demean others, while trying to tell them they are wrong about something, adding insult to injury with these names.
    • Ozanne

      Yes, the sarcastic way of saying them says a lot. Then there's the proverbial head-petting "hi, dear" way of talking, as if to minimize who the person is to them. Being called "kiddo" by my subordinate at work was just... *smh*

    • I noticed it.

  • thewanderingme
    I agree about terms of endearment/pet names, but I don't see the issue with an old friend calling you dear
    • Ozanne

      It was matronly. If I'm the same age as someone, it usually comes across high-handed.

    • oh. the once in a blue moon I use 'dear' for someone it's not for someone younger. it's always a friend.

  • PT1911
    so its bad when its a Friday i jokingly say to all of my coworkers "stay safe kids!" when I leave for the weekend?
  • Fathoms77
    "Sweetie" has no place in the workplace, that much is true.
  • carnageco
    at your age you should have the social capabilties to rise above it.
  • Phoenix98
    Lol yeah ok (sarcasm)
  • Relentless_Hippie
    Girl BYE. xD
  • Anonymous
    the more a waitress flirts, the more she's tipped, trust me