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Comeback when stranger calls you "dear"?

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Vark:
I've been in several situations where strangers call me "dear" or some equivalent: restaurant waitstaff, phone order-takers, people at airline ticket counters, supermarket cashiers, etc. I find this extremely irritating but am never sure how to address it in a way that will not anger these people and thereby result in subpar service. I sometimes call them "dear" in return, but that feels awkward to me. Would appreciate some suggestions on replies that are polite but get my point across.

mahagonny:
As far as on-campus life, I never address a student as 'Dear_______' in an email. Always 'Hello________.' Of course a female professor could certainly do it, and a male recipient would be required to put up with it, whether or not he likes it.

marshwiggle:

--- Quote from: Vark on September 22, 2022, 09:29:17 AM ---I've been in several situations where strangers call me "dear" or some equivalent: restaurant waitstaff, phone order-takers, people at airline ticket counters, supermarket cashiers, etc. I find this extremely irritating but am never sure how to address it in a way that will not anger these people and thereby result in subpar service. I sometimes call them "dear" in return, but that feels awkward to me. Would appreciate some suggestions on replies that are polite but get my point across.

--- End quote ---

Anyone I've had call me "Dear" (other than a family member) seemed to address everyone that way, so it didn't bother me.

mamselle:
It depends.

If it's at the airport coffee shop and I'll never see them again, I let it go, usually (unless it's really obnoxiously put).

If it's a situation in town where I'm likely to reappear, I simply say, "Please don't call me that, thanks!" and they usually apologize and we go on.

I was raised in Ohio, where such blandishments are quite common, and they bothered me then, too; after I moved away, and was encouraged to take more control of the quality of my day-to-day interactions, and dealt with the fallout of an abusive marriage in which it became more important to me to shape the nature of my interactions with others more, I started speaking up more.

It is important to be able to distinguish between when the terms ('honey,' etc.) are just reflexive--the individual was raised someplace where they were expected, for example) and when they border on stalkerish grooming--which I've also seen.

That affects the tone of my reply.

I'm stern with stalker-types, more genial with others...and if they seem truly perplexed, I don't make a big deal of it unless it happens again. In those cases, I might say, quietly, "I'm not really your dear/honey, whatever, remember?" and then go on.

M. 

Puget:
This is a cultural thing-- in some places, everyone is "dear" or "hon". Certainly this is accepted, even expected, of diner wait staff in much of the US. Unless it is said condescendingly I'd let it go, especially for one-time encounters.

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