Don’t call me Pal

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By Chuck Woodbury
ROADSIDE JOURNAL
Calm down, Chuck, just calm down! That is what I am telling myself at this very moment. The reason is because a man has said something to me that made me mad! Maybe it shouldn’t have bothered me. But it did.

I was buying groceries at the supermarket. When I was about to finish up in the checkout line, the checker handed me my change and said, “Thanks, Pal!”


“Don’t call me Pal!”

Pal? Yes, he called me Pal. I hate being called Pal. Pal is a name for a dog, but not a person. Now, if I were best friends with this particular person, he could call me Pal and it would be okay. But the point is, he is NOT my Pal and I don’t think he ever will be! I think that calling someone Pal who you do not know is disrespectful.

In this instance, had I been quick-witted, I would have said right back to him, “Well, thank you, too, PAL!” Then we would have been two pals.

Now that I think of it, where does the word “pal” come from? Is it short for something? If you say pal over and over again it sounds stupid.

And while I am at it, don’t call me Buddy either!

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Linda

I’ve noticed in the past 10-15 years, more and more strangers and young acquaintances have been calling me dear, honey, sweetie, etc. At first I thought that my changed appearance as I aged made me seem approachable or “grandma-like”. I started feeling more and more vaguely uncomfortable by these terms. Waiters, waitresses, hairdressers, and now my new Doctor calling me “dear” caused me to evaluate what’s happening. One concern I had — do I appear old, weak, vulnerable and, if so, could I be seen as a victim by some predator? Am I over reacting?

My best friend’s daughter works as a home health aid. She overheard our conversation about this and chimed in “old people hate being called honey, dear, etc. I always try to call people by their name and treat them as equals!” Calling older people dear, honey, pal, is condescending and disrespectful. “Elderspeak” is the term for condescension towards seniors in healthcare settings.

Yes, many people think they’re being nice, and are shocked that someone would be offended by these terms of endearment. And, no, I am not a liberal snowflake. Call me “Your Highness “, Dearie.

John Sherman

Hi Chuck,
I am a long time reader, but don’t think I have replied to anything before. I agree 100% that being called ‘dear, honey, luv,etc. ‘ by someone I have never seen before is offensive and disrespectful ( I am 84+ yrs. old, so my opinion is probably considered obsolete by many ( most ? ) of the younger folks out there.
If ‘ thank you’ needs another word after it, ‘sir’ is quite acceptable, but unnecessary.
happy RVing,
cheers,
J.S.

TriMoot

I’m with you…same as “Dude”…especially coming from a millennial, it’s just disrespectful.

Wayne quick

“Don’t call me Pal”. If it was said in a friendly tone of voice I don’t see a problem. Get a grip and move on. Rather he called you Bro ? Or Dude?
You tell me what.

jim ellis

I dislike Buddy so. It’s my dog’s name.

Debra

Welcome to WOMAN’S world … “Dear” “Honey” and on and on …

alan c smith

last comment, I promise. I am just totally shocked by this, I just never would have thought of something like this being offensive, I wish I could share it on some other sites. Having said that I am really curious to know what type of people get offended by something like like. I am from the south and stuff like that is common, so is it a regional thing? maybe just a bully type of thing where you don’t think anybody should talk to you at all, is it a liberal thing, they seem to be offended by anything these days. I just don’t have a clue, if you people would wear a t-shirt saying you get offended real easy i promise I’ll leave you alone, won’t say a word, wouldn’t want to offend you. By the way I am laughing right now about this whole thing, I’m just totally amazed.

alan

It’s the land of the OFFENDED, my word add being called “pal” to the list, this has to be a joke.

alan

you seem to be a very grouchy, cynical man, almost everything you write is negative, if this is all you have to worry about you need to be counting your blessings.

Evans Givan

Seems to me you’re just a little bit touchy. Pal.

John T.

Where I grew up (western Pennsylvania), there is an expression, i.e. ” Call me anything but late to dinner.” People were expected to be polite in formal situations, or toward an authority figure(teacher, police officer, supervisor, etc.), but in the day-to day exchanges with others, all the formalities were usually absent. It was a place where taking offense was often thought to be just as “offensive” as giving it.

L ynne

While you’re at it, don’t call me sweetie, or honey or sugar, babe, girlie, girl, or any other similar names unless you ARE my sweetie, etc. you don’t know me, I am NOT your honey, etc. it’s condescending and waayy too familiar. I hate it, I want to snarl back, I’m not a girl, I’m a woman, I’m not your honey or sugar.

Cahriad

Thanks bud or honey drives me insane.

Mark B

Whoa. Take a chill pill Charlie boy (and others below). Unless somebody is trying to intentionally offend you, just smile. In time you will be older and more cranky and spend most of your days shuttling between your room and the dining room. Your hearing will be mostly gone and you won’t care what they call you…hun, dear, Nate, you old fart or even pal. You’ll just hunger for acknowledgement and a smile.

Bob Godfrey

Once again it’s about respect which there is little of these days. Why couldn’t that person have simply called you “sir”? I was raised to call someone I didn’t know personally as Mr. or Mrs. or Miss before Ms became fashionable. When dealing with someone for the first time I address them as Sir or Ms out of simple respect but then these days people address me by my first name when doing business even though I do not know them because they were never taught to properly address someone as Mr. or Ms. in the business world. Times have changed but I don’t have to like the new normal now do I?

Kim Pierce

And don’t call me “Honey” or Sweetheart”. As a nurse for the past 40 years, many doctors who came to make rounds or perform surgeries, couldn’t remember my name even tho we had worked together for years. They would use this euphemism. It isn’t so PC now, but some old timers still fall back on it.

Nels

“Buddy”, “Pal”, “My friend”, “Brother”, “Bro”. These are all terms used frequently here in my home province. Along with “Darlin'”, “Honey”, “Sweetheart”, “My love”. We do not take offence to these terms. I think that the fact that we are a large island with small population and for hundreds of years we have felt like family to all and sundry, may have a lot to do with this feeling of familiarity.

Seann

I have the same problem with a waitress calling me hun or dear

Jeannie

You are being far too sensitive. Unless it is actually being used maliciously (and if you can’t tell the difference, get help), no harm is intended and you need to lighten up.

Judy G

I get it! As a lone, lady RVer I hate it when someone calls me dearie.