Don’t “Honey” Me!

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Don’t “Honey” Me!

If you are a reader of Amy Dickinson’s* wise insights, then this gentleman’s recent letter to her may strike a chord. …My peers and I are puzzled, however, that so many women in positions of public engagement (waitpersons, receptionists, sales personnel, cashiers, hygienists, nurses, etc.) feel free to belittle and degrade us by referring to us as “honey,” “sweetie,” “dearie,” “sweetheart,” ad nauseam.These strangers do not speak to young or middle-aged persons in this overly familiar way. Why do they feel free to embarrass and devalue seniors with this childish gibberish? Do they think we have all entered a “second childhood’?Some neighbors of similar age and I gathered for what we call “Driveway Drinks” one evening last week and this topic came up. Everyone had a story about their disgust at being referred to in this manner…. This is a topic I’ve tackled previously – for both older folks (like me!) and the younger folks who use those terms of endearment. I’ve suggested to professional advocates that they avoid “the Sweeties” terminology; instead, asking those they are speaking to what they prefer to be called. Now – I do recognize that some of this is regional or even cultural. I get that. I also get that not everyone objects to it. So if being called “Sweetie” or “Honey” or a raft of other too-familiar terms being used by strangers doesn’t bother you, then find the arrows to the left or right of these words and move on to read another post. What to do if you object: But if you do object, if you find yourself cringing when someone belittles you with such a term, then I ask you to read Amy’s advice because it’s really just terrific. Her advice is about commanding respect, gently: if the offender uses one of those terms, and you will be speaking with that person again, then gently correct them with a simple, “I’d prefer it if you called me ____.” Instead of being annoyed or put off, consider it an opportunity to remind yourself that they don’t mean to belittle you. And that there are far worse things in the world than being unintentionally dissed. A reminder that this is not unlike previous advice, here on this blog, that it’s up to you to speak up when someone addresses you incorrectly in any fashion. If you prefer to be called by your first…



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