What do you think about people calling you "honey"? - page 2

I am in my forties, but a lot of people (such as waitresses, sales clerks, cashiers) call me "honey" and "sweetheart" all the time. I think this is fine, when the person is older than me, but I get... Read More

  1. by   ebear
    I think it is regional too, and I don't have a problem with it at all..or "M'am," but I'm Southern fried and a GRIT to the bone. If a person says it in a condescending way, though, we're liable to "get sideways!"
  2. by   vashtee
    Meh, I never understood why some people get up in arms about what really amounts to intent. I think most people are bright enough to know when someone is trying to be condescending. I take these words in the way they are intended to be heard, which is normally as a term of endearment, and I'm not even from the South. I don't like being called "ma'am", but I am not offended if someone says it.

    BTW - a lot of the staff in one hospital I worked in called the female patients "mama".
  3. by   Diahni
    Quote from Hellllllo Nurse
    I am in my forties, but a lot of people (such as waitresses, sales clerks, cashiers) call me "honey" and "sweetheart" all the time. I think this is fine, when the person is older than me, but I get annoyed when someone who is young enough to be my daughter calls me "honey." Males never call me by these names (with the exception of my husband!)
    Occasionally, a subordinate at work will call me "honey. " I tell them immediately not to refer to me that way. But when a waitress does it, I let it go. I'd like to ask them not to, however.

    I have only rarely referred to anyone as "sweetheart," and when I have, it's been a child, or a pt in a very vulnerable, hurt state, who is seeking reassurance and protection.

    What's your opinion on this?
    Don't worry about it - it's a cultural thing, not specifically one ethnic group, but I think some people don't even know they're doing it. I will call a child or hurt person a term of endearment, but some people call everybody that. I think it's a generic term to make contact, though in some cases, as you point out, it's not appreciated. I've even had strangers on the phone do it to me. I think it's kind of funny, especially if you don't know the person at all, but I do think it's not intended to be insulting at all. I try not to be offended when somebody says "young lady" to me, but they're trying to be nice. And if they're not, don't let it affect you. Better honey than an insult.(Incidentally, I don't like it when someone calls an elderly person by their first name, for the same kinds of reasons you have about honey - it is patronizing, but it could be worse!)
  4. by   EmmaG
    Quote from ebear
    I think it is regional too, and I don't have a problem with it at all..or "M'am," but I'm Southern fried and a GRIT to the bone. If a person says it in a condescending way, though, we're liable to "get sideways!"

    I've lived and worked my entire life in the South. It's almost second nature. It doesn't bother me, and I am guilty of saying it too. I'm pretty good at 'reading' people, and refrain from saying it when I'm sure it will bother them (although sometimes it slips out lol).

    Something I cannot do is call a patient by their first name, even the younger ones (I don't work with peds). It's always Mr or Ms. Only after I've cared for someone over a period of time can I even consider using their first name, and even then I have to make a conscious effort to do so. And that is usually only those younger than me or my age. However, an older, confused person often responds better to their first name rather than Mr or Mrs. So I will use it in those cases.

    I know what Tweety is talking about with "baby". It's not a 'hey baby' pick-up kinda thing. It's more regional/cultural, particularly among many of the older Black nurses I've worked with. I hear this so much--- hun, honey, baby--- that I hardly notice it.
  5. by   Zookeeper3
    Quote from PRESLA
    ]Live in NC and "honey" is aways used I don't mind because "bless their heart" they can't help it.

    Same here, don't forget the "shoog" aka sugar. Every female patient is Miss so and so, like driving "Miss Daisy". and when "bless their heart" comes out, and insult is SURE to have preceded it
  6. by   nursemike
    When I entered healthcare, I was taught that pts often object to "honey" and other pet names and feel they're just used because we can't remember their names. I don't believe I've ever used "honey," unless maybe on a small child. I have used "dear" or "darlin" on occassion, generally with older women, but mostly I stick with Ms. and Ma'am. We're southern enough here that Ms. can be taken as "miz" for "Miss," rather than a political statement, especially among older ladies.
    I suppose I'm revealing my age when I still see "Ms." as a political statement--but at least it's one I pretty much agree with. I don't object to "Miss" or "Mrs.", though, and will use them if the patient prefers.

    One thing I have learned is to use first names with pts. who are very confused. A post-ictal pt may not recognize himself as Mr. Smith, so you have a better chance getting through calling him Bob. Well, you know, unless his name is Jim. On the other hand, I tend to stick with Mr. or Ms. for someone chronicly confused and/or non-compliant. I think it helps to delineate that I'm not your buddy, I'm your nurse, and this is not a personal relationship, it's strictly business. Sometimes that little bit of distance is therapeutic.

    Our portable phones have caller ID, so I sometimes answer "Hey, baby, whatcha wearing?" Which is okay, unless it turns out a doc has borrowed the station clerk's phone to return a page. At least it was a female doc... Well, I've cut back on that, some, but not long ago I got report from the ED that began, "Hey, Baby, whatcha wearing?" So at least I'm not the only one guilty. (I continue to regard sexual harrassment as the best of all forms of harrassment, because at least it's sexual, whereas the others are pretty much just harrassment.)
  7. by   psalm
    I prefer "honey" to some of the names I have been called by irate patients!

    I go along with the others on the intention...some of the pts. it is easier if they call us Honey instead of remembering our names. Had one lol the other night who asked to be called "Gorgeous" instead of "Dear" as we were putting her in bed
  8. by   Boston-RN
    I've been called worse.......

    It all depends on the context and I normally have other things that are ticking me off or occupying my time more than what nickname someone called me. Sorry, just my opinion
  9. by   ElvishDNP
    I don't care if a pt calls me honey (all my pts are female). I am in the South and it is purely second nature. I have been guilty of calling pts "honey", "shug" (sugar), "sweetie", or any number of other terms of endearment. It's not meant at all in a condescending way and no one to my knowledge has ever taken it that way. I've never even gotten a funny look. Here in these parts everybody calls everybody honey. My coworkers do it all the time. "Have you had your break yet, hon?" etc. It's all about intent and tone down here.
  10. by   meownsmile
    I agree that in most cases it isnt made a big deal of. However, is it up to us to presume that the person we are addressing like that wants to or appreciates being called that? I think a more cautious approach is to presume that most people dont appreciate it and just not do it unless they tell you its ok. You really shouldnt even address people in a work relationship (im not talking co-workers here) by their first names unless you have been told by the person to do so, so why would we think it would be ok to call them something else. It's more an etiquette thing.
    Actually in some positions such as working with DD individuals using even a term for an individual that to us wouldnt mean anything can get you reprimanded by state investigators. Words like silly, clown, goofy can get you into real trouble when working with certain groups of people.
  11. by   tencat
    I really don't mind it in the least. As others have said, to me it's the intent that matters, not the actual term. I know I don't mean to be offensive or derrogatory by using the term (I don't use it ALL the time, but I do use it on occasion).
  12. by   sleepyndopey
    I will never understand why some people get upset by things like this. I don't refer to people by these terms of endearment but I am not offended if someone calls me that. Some people just have a habit of using those terms. I'm sure after they got to know you well they wouldn't use them. If I accidentaly called someone honey or sweetheart, without evil intent, and they reprirmanded me I would think very little of them. After all they are just being friendly.
    Lighten up.
  13. by   SuesquatchRN
    If that's the worst thing that happens to me in a day, please call me honey every five minutes.