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Younger people calling older people 'sweetheart' is patronising.

(115 Posts)
3dogsandacat Sun 22-May-16 08:37:30

I must be getting old.
In M & Syesterday the shop assistant (poss 30's) called me sweetheart!
As in "don't you worry sweetheart, I'll get you another size''
I'm only 48! ffs.
I obviously haven't been using my oil of Olay. grin
I was telling my mother about it, she laughed and said get used to it.
You will get spoken to like that a LOT as you get older.
I think she has a point. I've never heard younger people calling each other 'sweetheart' or similar. Only the older generation getspoken to in this slightly patronising, ageist way.
I suppose there are worse things to be called. But still.

southeastastra Sun 22-May-16 08:39:32

A customer at work called me princess last week he was about 25 and I'm 47 ;D

3dogsandacat Sun 22-May-16 08:49:08

Older people in hospitals and nursing homes often get spoken to in this way, which has never sat right to me. I think it's ,the whole thing of treating them like children and the choice off words,reflects this.

Afreshstartplease Sun 22-May-16 08:50:21

I'm often called sweetheart by older people .....

YoJesse Sun 22-May-16 08:52:02

YANBU, it's lovely being called sweetheart by someone older than you though.

VioletBam Sun 22-May-16 08:55:16

I am going to get shit for saying this but where I come from it's a very working class thing. Young women in particular will do it no matter what your age.

"Can I get you anything else love?"

From a girl of about 18...I'm 43.

"Hiya babe!"

From the same girl.

"Alright hon? Do you want anything else?"

Girl in cafe aged about 22.

Only1scoop Sun 22-May-16 08:55:54


I cringe when I hear colleagues doing this.


PurpleWithRed Sun 22-May-16 08:58:39

DRIVES ME MAD!!! I volunteer with the elderly (and am no spring chicken myself). It's patronising and belittling. Hearing a 19 year old care assistant call a 90 year old Doctor 'love' or 'darling' or 'dear' - GAAH! They are Sir or Madam until they let you call them something else.

Well, that helped - I can channel my rage into a run.

Peyia Sun 22-May-16 08:59:17

I sometimes get 'love' by older people. I don't know why terms of endearment are acceptable to strangers but I usually assume people mean nothing by it.

I guess it depends on the tone it was said.

HoneyDragon Sun 22-May-16 09:00:31

I know that it's a very bad thing in mnet land but I'm a constant user of Sir, Madam, sweetheart, duck, my lovely, chick and so forth. Age is irrelevant.

Oddly enough anyone of around 15+ will get chick (male or female) younger will get chicken instead confused. I think that for a lot of annoying people like endearment terms aren't age based, if that helps? grin

3dogsandacat Sun 22-May-16 09:00:40

It's the tone of voice.
An upbeat 'Alright sweetheart?' said with a twinkle in the eye, is a lor different to
'bless! let me help you sweetheart' said with a sad face.

sandgrown Sun 22-May-16 09:02:05

I do use sweetheart or sweetie but it tends to be with children. I don't think I would call an older person sweetheart but I would not find it offensive If said to me.

Rosae Sun 22-May-16 09:03:59

Im only 28 and i get this all the time but from people of varying ages. So not sure its an age thing. But i do find it patronising especially when it is in a work setting.

Julius02 Sun 22-May-16 09:06:55

As a general rule I am not offended by people who are trying to be nice; they probably don't mean to be patronising. It does depend on context though.

Floisme Sun 22-May-16 09:16:49

I don't mind 'sweetheart', 'my lovely' or 'duck' because they're not age specific round here. But if you refer to me as an 'old dear' you will be asked to fuck right off.

RaisingSteam Sun 22-May-16 09:17:18

A lot of it is quite regional, I wouldn't want to lose what is effectively a bit of dialect.

OTOH when DMIL - a formidable lady in possession of all her faculties in her late 70s- was in hospital for an operation, I cringed to hear staff calling her "flower" and basically talking to her as if she was too do-lally to know if she wanted a cup of tea. Fortunately she was gracious enough to go with the flow but I itched to say "she's not your flower or anyone else's, she's Mrs xxxx to you". None of us would dare call her that.

It was a shadow of what's to come if you have grey hair and look a bit frail.

LemonySmithit Sun 22-May-16 09:21:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DaisyArcher Sun 22-May-16 09:23:14

I hate the way young people say 'bless' to me in a patronising manner.

Then again a young man in Costa called me 'madam' yesterday and that narked me too!

FayKorgasm Sun 22-May-16 09:24:31

Everyone uses 'pet' and 'chicken' here for people of all ages. Even my teens to their friends.

MsHoneyBee Sun 22-May-16 09:27:24

Oh dear. I call everyone sweetheart, my love, or sometimes just love.

I also say bless to everyone. I must be very offensive!

EatShitDerek Sun 22-May-16 09:29:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Stardust160 Sun 22-May-16 09:31:25

I work in a care home the numberous times an elderly resident has called me sweetheart and pet I've lost count. My own mother often referred to me as pet in an affectionate way.

OurBlanche Sun 22-May-16 09:31:40

I have just been 'hunned' three times of fb... by a PT looking for clients.

He ain't getting me!

parmalilac Sun 22-May-16 09:32:02

I think it's perfectly fine, except for in an office/work setting. In hospitals, nurses cannot possibly remember everyone's names and preferences, and I would much rather be called 'love' or 'flower' than 'madam' or addressed with no name at all -seems too cold.

originalmavis Sun 22-May-16 09:32:15

It beats being called 'hen' or 'missus'! I don't like 'ma'am' as the American guy in our local shop calls me.

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