Being called a term of endearment on your job or while working

Discussion in 'Relationships' started by 4thtwin, Dec 16, 2021.

  1. 4thtwin

    4thtwin Members

    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    22
    I want to get everyone's take on this. I work for a very large medical company as a patient services rep. We assist patient with signing them up for free medication, namely insulin for their diabetes. We take calls all day long from patients as well as doctor's offices staff members. I'm a 52 year old male and I love what I do. But one of my pet peeves is when I answer a call from a patient or a doctor's office and I politely give my name but the person on the other end just feels the need to call me sweetie, baby, sugar, or honey. A cutesy term of endearment. I'm not talking about being in some roadside diner and the waitress comes over to you and says something like, "what can I get for you today sugar?" This is in a professional atmosphere on your job. You give your name and they choose to just call you sweetie or hun. A lot of the time I will politely say something like, "ma'am, my name is. . . . and I would appreciate it if you could call me by that if you don't mind." A lot of the times the patients understand and apologize but other times they seem to get offended when you ask them to call you by your name. I was speaking with one woman and she kept calling me sweetie or hun and when I asked her to call me by my name this was her reply. "Oh, I'm sorry. Do you mind if I call you asshole?" Another time a woman kept calling me sweetie and baby and then when I brought it to her attention this was her reply. "Oh, I'm sorry, I call my kids that." When did I become one of your children? I mean, I just don't understand why they would get mad if you ask them to call you by your name. Would you ever call your power company, cell phone carrier, or auto loan company and keep referring to the person helping you as baby, sweetie, or honey? Probably not. I was speaking with a customer last week and the same thing happened. When I addressed her on my name she told me that I was being rude and condescending to her and she was going to report me. She said, "I remember you from last time. I reported you then and I'm going to report you again." Funny thing is that after our call she called back and got another rep, a co-worker of mine, and stated that she wanted to report me for being rude. The co-worker asked her what was the problem and when she told her my co-worker said that I was one of their best reps and she do not think that I was rude by being asked to be called by my name. The woman then said, "well, he's not a nurse or doctor or anything." I guess if you don't have a title like Nurse Smith or Dr. Jones the patients feel they can call you anything they want. Would you call your doctor or pastor by their first name? If an officer pulls you over for whatever reason would you ask for their name and address them by that? Probably not.

    And the flip side of it is that nurses from doctor's offices will do the same thing. I just think that on your job you need to be more professional than calling someone sweetie, honey, baby, hun, etc.

    I've posed this question to others and most say I should just take it in stride and not let it bother me. Or that I'm being overly sensitive. My momma didn't call me baby, sweetie, or honey. The only ones I want to call me that are my momma and my wife. If a nurse from a doctor's office calls me to check the status of a patient's application or to see if their medication had shipped and I kept referring to them as sweetie or baby I'd probably be written up or fired for not using a professional manner. I've even explained to some patients that in these days you really shouldn't call someone you don't know a term of endearment.

    Am I wrong?
     
  2. Spectacles

    Spectacles My life is a tapestry Lifetime Supporter

    Messages:
    3,961
    Likes Received:
    1,543
    I would never call you sweetie or hun but I think this woman was spot on. I would gladly call you asshole.

    Seems like this story was in another thread about a month ago.... complaining about co-workers. Didn't you get the required responses in that thread?
     
  3. 4thtwin

    4thtwin Members

    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    22
    Yes, the question with the other employee has been address and she's not typed "sweetie" in the office chat since.

    So being asked to call you by your name is wrong? A person doing their job should just take whatever the caller feels like calling them? So if I call my power company and the person helping me is named John. If I keep calling him Bill then he should just accept it and go on? I don't mean anything by it but I forgot their name and Bill just seems appropriate to me at the time.
     
  4. themnax

    themnax Senior Member

    Messages:
    27,334
    Likes Received:
    4,078
    there is very much a matter of context, i mean, the person doing so might be from a culture where doing so is common.
    it generally just feels weird to me. well all terms of endearment do, any place, anywhere, from anyone not already personally close to.
    but people grow up with different expectations and experiences, family, school, where in the world they are born and grow up in.
    best is just not assume anything, and that they will eventually become acclimated to the culture where they are,
    and perspectives from previous times and place mostly fade in public or at work.
     
  5. 4thtwin

    4thtwin Members

    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    22
    A lot of people feel that it's a cultural or even a regional thing. Yes, I am born and raised in the south. And still live here to the day. I am college educated with a master's degree, not that my schooling has anything to do with it but I just prefer to refer to someone by their name and if I don't remember their name I'm going to ask or just call them sir or ma'am. Especially in the workplace, you can't go calling someone sweetie or baby. You're going to find yourself in the HR office for creating a hostile workplace. People get uncomfortable by these things and it's not appropriate anymore.

    Granted, we're dealing with patients and doctor's offices and these people may not know they are doing it but if you do not let someone know that them calling you a term of endearment is inappropriate they will just continue to do it. Is it rude to want to be called by your name? No. Is it rude to correct someone on your name? No. My wife has somewhat of a difficult name and when someone says it, if they say it wrong then she will have to correct them a few times on it. Is that rude, no. I do not have a difficult name but I do like being called by my name and not sweetie, baby, or hun. And even so, it's not just women who do it. Guys do it too. Bud, buddy, pal, chief I've heard a few times too and yes, I give them my name too. If it makes me uncomfortable then that's all that matters. Maybe there's a difference in gender roles here. If I, as a guy, calls a woman sweetie or sugar, and she tells me it makes her uncomfortable I'm not going to curse her out or threaten to report her. I'm not going to do it anymore. However, if a woman calls a man, sweetie or sugar, then most people would say he should just suck it up and take it as a compliment.
     
  6. Vladimir Illich

    Vladimir Illich Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    Messages:
    11,162
    Likes Received:
    8,845

    Just consider yourself lucky that you don't live and work in the East end of London or perhaps Liverpool too - where common terms of endearment are heard repeatedly throughout the day.
     
  7. 4thtwin

    4thtwin Members

    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    22
    The thing here is that in the US the "Me Too" movement and sexual harassment claims have sky rocketed. Look at the number of celebrities, news people, politicians, heads of businesses, etc. who have been taken down because of their actions. You just can't address people anymore with sugar, sweetie, baby, or honey without fear that they might get offended. So the best option is to not do it at all. Even I myself am involved in a new position at my church and we're required to go through sexual harassment and misconduct training before we can assume any position. These things are being taken seriously these days. Granted the patient may not know but they will never know unless they are told. "It's not appropriate to call someone you don't know on a personal or even an intimate level a term of endearment." If you don't know their name or can't remember it simply ask or just call them ma'am or sir. I'm not trying to make a federal case out of this but if I'm trying to assist you with your application or shipment of your medication please do not refer to me as sweetie. The problem I'm seeing is that these patients and even doctor office staff workers are getting offended when you ask them to call you by your God given name.
     
  8. themnax

    themnax Senior Member

    Messages:
    27,334
    Likes Received:
    4,078
    that's pretty much what i was refurring to. never been there, but occasionally someone from there will have moved over here and work a register in a store.
    its sweet and i appreciate the thought, but over here its out of context and just feels weird.
     
  9. Romper

    Romper Lifetime Supporter Super Moderator

    Messages:
    4,139
    Likes Received:
    14,870
    What you are so concerned about doesn't bother me one bit.

    To answer your question, "Am I wrong?" No, you aren't wrong if you feel that strongly, but I think it is a bit of an over reaction. Just my 2¢.
     
    oldguynurse likes this.
  10. Biodome1980

    Biodome1980 Guest

    Messages:
    356
    Likes Received:
    623
    Well, I work at a factory. If it’s a female that I’ve talked to enough, I’ll call them babe. As in, “We are stopping for lunch babe. Don’t worry about building that.” It is a term of endearment but not really. The guy that works directly across from me that I’ve had sex with several times now, calls me honey, sweetie, sugar, etc in front of the other guys. They tease me and will say, “I think he likes you dude.” And I will say back, “You get better treatment from ppl when you suck their dick.” And just get laughs. Funny part is I’m not joking but they think I am. I love that my sense of humor has gotten over so much that I can be bluntly accurate and the guys still think I’m full of shit.”
     
  11. oldguynurse

    oldguynurse Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    Messages:
    2,085
    Likes Received:
    2,161
    I grew up in south Louisiana, where the term, 'cher' (pronounced 'sha') and meaning dear, often ended sentences. I now live in a more tight-assed part of the country, but still use the term frequently. As in, 'Thank you, dear, I appreciate that.' Out of actually hundreds of interactions with women, in person or by phone, only one balked at it.

    If we could all just drop the damned defensive, armed-camp attitude some of us carry around, and just talked in a more friendly tone, our society wouldn't be as screwed up as it seems to be getting lately.

    FWIW.
     
  12. TrudginAcrossTheTundra

    TrudginAcrossTheTundra Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    Messages:
    3,648
    Likes Received:
    1,955
    Okaaay... To answer your question, yes. Someone piss in your beer?
    With such a negative take on people, how are you a successful rep? It comes across as if you're embittered and unhappy, and feel vindicated adopting a victim mentality. For goodness sake, enjoy the compliment and take the win. Return the compliments. Or find a more suitable job where contact with others is minimal.
     
    scratcho likes this.
  13. TrudginAcrossTheTundra

    TrudginAcrossTheTundra Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    Messages:
    3,648
    Likes Received:
    1,955
    This bears repeating.
     
    oldguynurse likes this.
  14. NubbinsUp

    NubbinsUp Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    Messages:
    624
    Likes Received:
    732
    The problem isn't what they're calling you, over which you have very limited control. The problem is that you're answering to it. That you do control. Ignore comments and questions that include overly familiar forms of address, and you won't be answering to it. This is really up to you, entirely within your control.

    In your workplace, if someone called you "sugar bottom," "honey lips," or "sexy man candy," they're hitting on you or being objectively disgusting, and I think that everyone knows today that you do need to respond to that by using the phrase "unwelcome and unwanted." Persistence after clear one-time notice from you makes it actionable.

    Getting back to your sensitivity, if someone called out "hey asshole" I hope you wouldn't turn around. Similarly, you don't have to answer to "honey" or "sweetie," unless you care to. So far, you care to, and you've done so over and over. What you need is probably some coaching and practice on influencing others. Apply some of the techniques you learn in negotiation training, or assertive communication training. You're not doing either now.

    Consider driving. You can't control what other drivers do. However, the "sweetie" form of address in the workplace is like another driver using his horn in a way that offends your sense of how a horn should be used. Instead of ignoring it or him, what you're doing is attempting to give the other driver a lecture on the use of his horn. That's really unproductive, as is what you're doing in the workplace.

    As a successful professional at age 52, you should already know all of what I'm telling you here. You probably do, so connect the dots and use it.
     
  15. TrudginAcrossTheTundra

    TrudginAcrossTheTundra Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    Messages:
    3,648
    Likes Received:
    1,955
    It's disheartening how people melt at the most benign things. I was at a big store the other day, poking about the shelves, when a lady asked if she could help find something. I told her what I was looking for along that isle and she took me right to it. I read off the next item and she said it's right over here. As we walked she spouted off the various sizes in stock. I was impressed so I complimented her on her knowledge. On the next item, she called me "sweety". Now I know she's not really coming on to me but she's expressing that she likes me. It may have been permission for me to work toward coming on to her, or just her way of appreciating me for appreciating her. Didn't matter, she made me feel good. It never would have come to my mind that she's being inappropriate in any way. She was just being pleasant and friendly. She still maintained professionalism throughout. It would be counterproductive for human relations in general if I were to feel put out by someone acting nicely!
     
    scratcho and zer0 like this.
  16. zer0

    zer0 Members

    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    187
    When I’m called “sweety”, “honey”, “sugar” or any harmless term of endearment in a genuine friendly way, it always brightens my day. If someone feels anger or indignation at the same exact gesture then I’d say the negativity is all on them.


    Some people are incensed to violent fury at the sound of children laughing. That’s their own private hell to deal with. Humans hurl enough real indignities & insults at each other; no need to create new ones out of friendly gestures.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2022
  17. TrudginAcrossTheTundra

    TrudginAcrossTheTundra Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    Messages:
    3,648
    Likes Received:
    1,955
    Maybe some kind of trauma from earlier in their life, or some kind of neglect or abuse as a child?
    I want to be around grateful, happy people - not bitter complainers. Let the misery have its company and the gleeful theirs.
     
    oldguynurse likes this.
  18. Dianne with 2 nn's

    Dianne with 2 nn's Members

    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    60
    When a customer calls me "sweetie" or "hon" I say "thank you", let it go and maintain a sense of professionalism.
    When a co-worker does the same thing, we'd have a chat about "office manners".
     
  19. TrudginAcrossTheTundra

    TrudginAcrossTheTundra Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    Messages:
    3,648
    Likes Received:
    1,955
    That makes sense. Unless it's a co-worker I wouldn't object to having a romp with, then having a chat about office manners would be more a chat about maintaining discretion.

    Bringing up a concern directly to the transgressor shows respect, and invites respect in return. Nobody respects those who go file a complaint without first giving the transgressor a chance to vindicate themselves.

    And if someone in passing says something a little colorful, then it's a high ground maneuver to cut them some slack and let it go.
     
  20. drock69

    drock69 Members

    Messages:
    212
    Likes Received:
    119
    You are sensitive af.
     
    scratcho likes this.

Share This Page


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice