Beth Armstrong

Christian wife, mom, & author. Doing life with my eyes fixed on Jesus. I walk, I stumble, I fall. But God is big. And this is what I write about… Thanks for stopping by!


Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed the absurd overuse of the so-called “terms of endearment”? Everyday I encounter someone (usually much younger) who addresses me with one of these terms–usually sweetie, honey (or the shortened version “hon”), or dear.

Just this week, when I got my haircut, the gal who checked me in called me “hon” three times. Each time it grated on my nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard. After the third time, I said to her, “It’s Beth.” She just looked at me like she had no idea what I was saying. Perhaps I should have used some “terms of endearment” right back at her and said, “Sweetheart, my name is Beth, and I’d appreciate it, dear, if you could use that instead of hon. Okay, darlin’?”

By definition, a “term of endearment” is a word or phrase used to address a person for which the speaker feels love or affection. How is it that the 16-year-old cashier at the restaurant, grocery store, or fast food place (who insists on calling me honey, hon, sweetie, darlin’, or dear) feels any love or affection for me? (Truth be told, I have a beef with nearly everyone who addresses me this way.) But it especially gets under my skin when the young’uns out there speak to me this way. I’m old enough to be their mother, for Pete’s sake!

Whatever happened to the simple, respectful “Yes, ma’am” or “Thank you, sir”? Can we please go back to the respectful old days?

Sorry for the rant!

Tell me…what kinds of things get under your skin, drive you crazy, or grate on your nerves?


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  1. Bryan Pearce on said:

    It’s just young’ns trying to act older.

    Here’s one that gets me. I’ve had to bite my tongue a lot lately when young men call me “bud”. I’ve traditionally interpreted it as a diminutive. I might call one of my kids, “bud”, and it’s not necessarily a term of endearment. “Bud” to me usually means “I’m in control and setting the agenda here.” So from a young man to an older man, it feels fairly insulting.

    Using “bud” has become popular lately, it seems, and so much so that I’m beginning to suspect that it doesn’t carry the intention I previously believed. However, young men, don’t be too surprised if I respond by calling you “punk”.


    • Bryan,
      Thanks for the response! I’m glad to know that you can relate. Let me know how your response to the next young “punk” works out for you! 😉

      • Bryan Pearce on said:

        I decided to go with “son”, rather than “punk”. I think it communicates to point more effectively.

  2. It seems like anything goes these days. I totally agree with you. I also hear the media butchering our English language, but apparently I am just old fashioned. When I mentioned to someone the other day about my pet peeve with the use of “Where’s it at?” or “Do you know where we’re at?” I was met with a blank stare. They had no clue what I was talking about. I hear media saying, “done” when they really mean “finished.” And then there is just the bad grammar. I have given up.
    Barbara Menefee **barbell**

  3. I laughed reading your post. Part of me understands the “shock factor” regarding “that whipper snapper calling me honey, sweetie, whatever.” But I guess, Beth, that when a younger person says that to me, I am thankful in some ways, because it shows a gentleness (at least to ME) that I will take in a New York minute. I’m only 53 and not a wobbly old woman yet, LOL!!!, but if a young person calls me sweetie, I don’t have a problem with it (it sure beats an impatient look of silence and eye rolling and sighs of disgust) and letting them feel a “be nice and kind to your seniors” moment. Maybe it has something to do with walking out a cancer journey with my mom and most of the nurses who tend to her when she gets her chemo use those exact words, “honey, sweetie, dear, hon.” In that particular situation, those words are somehow a balm of kindness and it makes my mom feel well taken care of with the caring attitude in and of their words. Me too. 😀 Thanks for your transparency NO MATTER WHAT YOU WRITE. It’s refreshing! 😀

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