Personal Addressing

I was born and raised in the American south where my parents and grandparents taught me to say ma’am and sir to my elders. As I have grown I extend that to people equal and younger than myself. This is not to be patriarchal but to be polite. However I know the rules have changed because of gender preferences so I try to handle how I address a person based upon their personal preferences and hope I remember it all.

When someone calls me “baby”, “sweetie”, “sugar” it confuses me because I am of the persuasion that those titles need to be reserved for those closer to them in relationship. Tonight I was called “sweetie” by someone in a local drive through. I don’t know how to react to that. They probably were called that themselves so they think its cool to do it to others and I get that however in a professional setting I don’t think its cool because it could be misunderstood by some who think its flirting. Maybe it’s a tool of the trade to get a bigger tip or something but it’s really not necessary. Some spouses could be offended by use of such nicknames.

Maybe I am making a bigger deal out of it than there should be but you know in the world we live in being safe is better. What do you think?


Author: Tony Burgess

Hi There! My name is Tony Burgess. My friends call me "T-Bird", I'm a believer, blogger, lover and bleeding heart idealist from the great city of Chattanooga, TN. I embrace all things geeky and nerdy. This blog is where I chronicle and curate the silly and sacred things in life. My life is about my wife of 17 years Laura, Cody our boy dog, family, friends and of course blogging. I work for Blood Assurance a regional blood bank. The Episcopal/Anglican Church is where I express my faith and St. Peter's parish is my community. Grace and peace to all!

6 thoughts on “Personal Addressing”

  1. I think you must consider the source. Some older people, particularly those from the south, tend to use more intimate terms to address people … it is just how they were raised. I generally agree with you and am careful how I address people, but I also try not to be offended when a total stranger calls me ‘honey’, as sometimes happens. I remind myself that I have been called far worse … 😀


  2. I think it’s a local thing. I’m from Tennessee and I get called sweetie by women all the time. I don’t think they mean anything. I think they are just being polite. You definitely won’t get that up north. You’d be lucky to get a hello when you purchase your groceries.


  3. Also being from the American South, it’s not anything to be worried about. “Sweetie”, “Sugar”, and “Honey” are all par for the course and mean no disrespect. Personally, I use “ma’am” and “sir”, because that’s how I was raised. Now, when someone says “bless your heart”, that’s when you should become dubious of their intentions.

    But folks are going to get offended over whatever they want to get offended over. There’s no controlling it. You can be completely well meaning and have no ill will, and people will still get offended.

    Liked by 1 person

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