"Bless Your Heart"

  1. That’s a phrase that I’m sure is meant well (most of the time), but for some reason it just grates on my nerves. Most of the time, it strikes me as condescending. It’s like the quintessential Southernism “Bless your heart,” which I’m coming to learn means nothing of the sort. (According to my late sister-in-law, “bless your heart” means “You’re behaving like a Yankee — synonymous with ‘Troll’ — and you have no idea that we’re all laughing at you behind your back.” This is the same sister-in-law who referred to me, until her dying day as “That dam Yankee my brother brought home.”


    Somehow, “Have a Blessed Day” just strikes me in the same way — as sarcastic, condescending and insincere. Every time I see a post ending that way, it makes me reassess the content and is sure to get my dander up. I know I’m not the only one who sees it that way. So I’m wondering, how do the majority of AN members see/use the expression?
  2. Poll: "Have a Blessed Day" -- Sincere or Sarcastic?

    • Sincere

      29.28% 101
    • Sarcastic

      11.59% 40
    • Sincere but kinda condescending

      19.13% 66
    • Should only be used among people of the same religious persuasion

      13.33% 46
    • You're making a mountain out of a molehill

      34.20% 118
    345 Votes / Multiple Choice
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    76 Comments

  4. by   CT Pixie
    My southern family and friends also say 'bless your heart' or 'bless his/her heart' is nothing more than code for...he/she/you are an idiot.

    Now 'have a blessed day' when said in real life doesn't bother me (as long as its not said with an eye roll or a smirk, in which case is nothing more than a sarcastic comment and equates a dismissal of the person its being said to). When certain posts end with 'have a blessed day' I think it depends on the tone of the rest of the post. Sometimes its nothing more than somone wishing someone else a nice day, other times as you say, its a sarcastic, condescending and insincere.
  5. by   elkpark
    Quote from CT Pixie
    Now 'have a blessed day' when said in real life doesn't bother me (as long as its not said with an eye roll or a smirk, in which case is nothing more than a sarcastic comment and equates a dismissal of the person its being said to). When certain posts end with 'have a blessed day' I think it depends on the tone of the rest of the post. Sometimes its nothing more than somone wishing someone else a nice day, other times as you say, its a sarcastic, condescending and insincere.
    If the point is to wish someone a nice day, why not just say, "Have a nice day"? To me, the point of the "blessed day" comment is to make good 'n sure that you know that the speaker is a religious (presumably, Christian) person, and I find that kind of "advertising" pretentious and off-putting.

    (Wasn't it Jesus who criticized the Pharisees for making a public display of their piety, and instructed his disciples to pray privately, where no one could see them?)
  6. by   klone
    I've learned "Have a blessed day" is something that a lot of black people say. Whenever I call patients and get their voicemail, more often than not, the black patients have "Have a blessed day" at the end of their voicemail message. Before this job, I had never really heard that phrase before.

    No, I don't find it condescending. I just think it's a cultural thing, similar to how Mexican people answer their phones with "Bueno!"
  7. by   RNperdiem
    "Bless your heart" is a vanishing phrase. I have seldom heard anyone under the age of 60 use it. It is great material for southern comedians, but I can't remember the last time I have heard this in a real conversation.
    I agree totally with Klone about the "have a blessed day" phrase. It sounds charming to me actually in this day and age of scripting. You would never hear that in a scripted verbal transaction.
  8. by   Farawyn
    I don't like Bless her heart. I use it myself when I want to be mean, and I'm not Southern. OR OVER 60!!!
    I also don't like Oh, Dear.

    Have Blessed Day depends on the blesser.
    Last edit by Farawyn on Apr 27, '15 : Reason: Clarifying my age...
  9. by   Cafelattee
    I live in Alabama my whole life (45) and when someone says bless your heart its usually means they feel for you but really don't have anything else to say that would be helpful. We also a blessed day which comes from our bible belt ideas that God watch over you and bless you. We also say yes mam and no man out of showing respect for each other.

    When I was young no one moved here we were pretty much insulated. The past 15 years Alabama has grown and we have a lot of people moving here from around the country. I've had people from Michigan say we are all keeping slavery alive (they were a white family with adopted black kids ) because we mam and sir. Which I found stupid since the military keeps that tradition. I've only heard people on line say we are not being sincere when we refer to "blessing someone"

    I can also tell see that different cultures perceive things differnts. I absolutely had a hard time when children came down hear and just talk to adults like they are adults. I personally dont' see a problem with teaching repsect to elders but I see that traditions are changing with more people coming here for jobs.

    I also think the obs family are just jerks. I have to say I may get the use of "bless your heart" as sarcasm when I here someone move here and complain the whole time which honesty we are a culture of being nice and not as blunt as a lot of other culture people can get. Instead of telling you to stop your cribbing just and move back up where you came from they may say "bless your heart yor poor thing it'll get better" They don't mean it they want your ass to move back where you came from LOL
  10. by   Mulan
    I was told, "bless your heart" means FU.
  11. by   LadyFree28
    Quote from klone
    I've learned "Have a blessed day" is something that a lot of black people say. Whenever I call patients and get their voicemail, more often than not, the black patients have "Have a blessed day" at the end of their voicemail message. Before this job, I had never really heard that phrase before.

    No, I don't find it condescending. I just think it's a cultural thing, similar to how Mexican people answer their phones with "Bueno!"
    I would like to point out that black people can use "Have a blessed day" and use it it be condescending.

    I'm black myself and I have seen it used not to be friendly.
  12. by   Rose_Queen
    I'd choose the poll option of "it depends on the situation/person saying it" if there was one...
  13. by   klone
    Quote from LadyFree28
    I would like to point out that black people can use "Have a blessed day" and use it it be condescending.

    I'm black myself and I have seen it used not to be friendly.
    As the only time I've heard the phrase is on outgoing voicemail messages, I would venture a guess that in those situations, it's not used sarcastically.
  14. by   Emergent
    Quote from Mulan
    I was told, "bless your heart" means FU.
    LOL, that's what my Mormon coworker says, that's LDS code speak for that.

    How about "I'll be praying for you"? I think that's code for 'You are a lost cause, are probably going to Hell, good thing for me I'm holier than thou".
  15. by   llg
    Quote from elkpark
    (Wasn't it Jesus who criticized the Pharisees for making a public display of their piety, and instructed his disciples to pray privately, where no one could see them?)
    Yes, it was. As for one of the more literate and articulate kids in my Sunday school class many years ago, I was often the one asked to read from out loud from the Bible. That particular passage is one of the passages I remember most -- as I was intelligent enough to notice the irony of the situation. There I was ... standing there reading out loud in front of a crowd .,.. reading that Jesus said we should not make a big show out of religion -- but rather, we should pray quietly and privately. lol


    I believe the Bible passage is in the book of Matthew, Chapter 5. It is the passage just before "The Lord's Prayer."

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