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Friend wants to be known as 'they'

(953 Posts)
namechangeindiana Wed 17-Jun-20 22:00:22

I know there's a lot of discussion about this going on at the moment, but I read the threads and don't understand a lot of the terminology. I haven't done a huge amount of reading about it, but I know that I feel uncomfortable with it and don't really 'get' it.

I keep forgetting and calling my friend 'she' or 'her'. This then ends in a minor heated discussion and me trying to defend the fact that it takes time for me to change the language I am used to using. I try, I really do. We have been friends for 24 years.

Has 'they/them' always been a thing? Am I completely awful for thinking it's strange and not being entirely comfortable with it?

Sorry if I sound naive or am posting something that has been done a million times. I've not thought about it much until now. Willing to learn and hear other people's views...

Preparing to be flamed...

OP’s posts: |
Lottapianos Wed 17-Jun-20 22:02:51

No flaming here. This would hugely get on my nerves.

EarringsandLipstick Wed 17-Jun-20 22:03:05


How are these rows happening? You're not calling them 'she/her' to their face, presumably? As you'd be using 'you'?

Also, it's hard to get your head around? Really? Your friend has asked you to use certain pronouns when referring to them.

Not so hard 🤷🏻‍♀️

HumphreyCobblers Wed 17-Jun-20 22:03:09

Can you just say her name?

I wouldn’t really want to be around someone that made such a strange demand. It seems extremely attention seeking.

Suchan1d10t Wed 17-Jun-20 22:03:34

I don't know, but I'm also interested as am in a similar position with a friend I have known a long time now prefers to be known as they, and I am trying, but find it hard to immediately drop the automatic he, his etc

RocksOfStone Wed 17-Jun-20 22:03:47

Them / they is difficult termology to use because we would normally see this "them / they" as meaning two or more people.
Its very hard to adapt to, can you sit and talk to your friend and try to get ur friend to understand its not that easy adapting for you, but you are trying

EarringsandLipstick Wed 17-Jun-20 22:04:17


Why is it 'attention-seeking'?

It's the individual's prerogative to choose what pronouns they'd prefer. It's not exactly a new thing.

Sparklesocks Wed 17-Jun-20 22:05:08

Out of curiosity how often is it coming up, surely when you’re talking directly you would say ‘name’ rather than pronouns?

CarlottaValdez Wed 17-Jun-20 22:05:12

I have a friend who is now “they”. I forget constantly and say he or him but never to his (their) face as that’s not normally how language works. I’m amazed you’ve managed to do it multiple times - where is she overhearing you talking about her so much?

Wearywithteens Wed 17-Jun-20 22:05:18

YANBU for thinking it’s strange. The silent majority is with you.

namechangeindiana Wed 17-Jun-20 22:05:39

@EarringsandLipstick an example was when we bumped in to another friend and I introduced them. I referred to my friend as 'she' when I was talking about how we knew each other.

Yes it is hard to get my head around using different pronouns when I am used to using she, he etc. It is so hard to change language and the way you use it...

OP’s posts: |
namechangeindiana Wed 17-Jun-20 22:07:04

Another example was when my mum phoned me and I explained that I was with my friend and said 'she'

OP’s posts: |
BooFuckingHoo2 Wed 17-Jun-20 22:07:26

I have ASD and I find gender neutral pronouns exceptionally difficult. To me they/them is plural and I cannot get my head round referring to a singular person in those terms because (to me) it’s factually incorrect.

Bmidreams Wed 17-Jun-20 22:08:00

I couldn't pander to this nonsense and level of self obsession. It's my opinion. Don't bother arguing with it. I don't care what you think.

Prettybluepigeons Wed 17-Jun-20 22:08:15

Except pronouns are part of grammar and you can't really change the rules of grammar without making language nonsensical.
It would get my goat too and I also think it is attention seeking. When people start with this kind of shit , it makes me think they must an otherwise very easy life and a lack of things to bloody worry about.

EarringsandLipstick Wed 17-Jun-20 22:08:24

I am not sure you're being 100% honest here OP

That's one occasion. You indicate there are many more.

It sounds to me that you've clear views on thus, which is fine. But your friend's preference is that you use certain pronouns. How big a deal is it, really?

HeckyPeck Wed 17-Jun-20 22:08:49

Has 'they/them' always been a thing? Am I completely awful for thinking it's strange and not being entirely comfortable with it?

Why on earth would it make you feel uncomfortable? They’re not asking you to call them Mein Fuhrer or Cunty McCuntFace.

Why would you need pronouns when talking to them anyway? It’ll only be when talking about them. It’s really not hard. It sounds like you’re deliberately not trying because you feel so ‘uncomfortable’

Bertucci Wed 17-Jun-20 22:09:03

How is this even a thing? You wouldn't need to call your friend 'they' in her company - surely you'd be using her name or 'you'?

Guineapigbridge Wed 17-Jun-20 22:09:15

Just try and do what they ask as a matter of politeness and respect. If they can't forgive you for slip-ups then they're oddly demanding and high-maintenance and probably not friend material anymore.

Adults transitioning is way less threatening to me than teens, who frankly don't know what the hell they're doing. Adults presumably have thought it through in some detail.

Apple1029 Wed 17-Jun-20 22:11:06

I would honestly start distancing myself from this nonsense. Absolute ridiculousness that doesnt need to be entertained.

missingmum Wed 17-Jun-20 22:12:29

If it was my friend insisting on this then "they" would need to find another friend.

The world has gone mad!

ChaToilLeam Wed 17-Jun-20 22:12:40

I have a sneaking feeling that your friend might be an attention seeker of quite a high magnitude. FFS.

Ellisandra Wed 17-Jun-20 22:12:43

If your friend does not identify as female - YABU “uncomfortable” which their preferred pronoun, but TABU to not recognise that it’s really hard not to slip. If they don’t identify as female I expect your “uncomfortableness” is what makes them arsey if you do slip though - it might seem quite deliberate.

If your friend is just on some wanky woke trip, then YANBU at all, and I’d sideline that friend for being irritating.

hey1234 Wed 17-Jun-20 22:13:07

I really don't see how it's such an issue for you and makes you uncomfortable to just use they/them. Not difficult.

RiverCrossing Wed 17-Jun-20 22:13:42

@Bmidreams Gosh you sound like a treat.

OP, with the greatest respect, it’s not about you. Research the links between suicide rates and use of preferred names/pronouns. If you care about your friend then you’ll start remembering what they have asked of you.

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