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Is this condescending and how would you approach this with a co-worker?

 
 
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 08:28 am
I've posted this before about being called a pet or cutesy name while on the job from a client or patient but here's another take on it. Background: I work for a medical company and we supply free medications to people who qualify for it. We get calls all day long and some times the doctor's office staff or even the patients like to refer to you as sweetie or honey even after I've given them my name. Most times they understand and don't do it anymore. But other times they get offended because they feel you are correcting them, but I guess you are. My name is not sweetie, honey, baby, or dear.

Since we're working from home right now we have an inner offer group chat with all our team members and one girl in particular, that I've never met personally likes to send me messages outside of the group chat when I ask a question. We may be discussing a particular situation of work process and she'll call me "Sweetie". Talking on the phone with a patient or doctor's office is one thing. People may just use those words in everyday speech. However, this woman is typing it in a chat message. "I don't think we have blank forms we can access sweetie" and then she followed it up with, "Thanks sweetie for researching an option for these calls." Again, I do not know her personally and since we've been working from home more than year I've only chatted with her on the company Microsoft Teams account. And this isn't the first time I've noticed her doing this.

How would you approach this with a co-worker or would you just excuse it as "that's just how she talks". But in this situation she's not talking, she's typing. If we were in the office and I walked by other people's desks and said something like "good morning sweetie" or "baby, did you get that email I sent you" I'd probably find myself in HR with a possible sexual harassments charge against me or hostile work environment.

Should I say something to this co-work to correct her or do I bite my tongue and just look at it as that's just how she communicates?
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Type: Question • Score: 5 • Views: 349 • Replies: 35
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Mame
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 08:39 am
@Barry2021,
It's definitely unprofessional and I would ask her to call me by your name. Have you asked her to stop? Does she do this to everyone? And is she a girl or a woman?
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 08:48 am
@Barry2021,
I was watching People's court recently - the judge is woman. One of the people called her honey -- the judge said -- I don't take offense I know you are from the south and that is how they talk.

Yes, I agree it is not the most professional, but personally I would not take offense and not see it as condescending. But that is me.

If it offends you just simply keep reminding her kindly. Tell her I understand that you do not mean anything behind it, but I do find it offensive. People should be respectful of each other. She should without getting upset about it comply. That is not to say you will stop - but she should.

You cannot control others but you can control how you handle it - you can be firm and be kind at the same time - you may have to say this many times if it is part of her normal day to day way of speaking; you need to be persistent and patient.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 08:56 am
This sounds like the sort of thing Gibert the alien would answer in,"What's your problem Chummy?"
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Mame
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 08:57 am
@Linkat,
I was thinking the same thing, wondering if it's a regional thing. Some people just do that to everyone, but as you and I discussed about our same name, I don't like it shortened at all. Same kind of thing. Please call me X or that's not my name, my name is X. I have corrected people for years but they're just so used to the shortened version. I've had to resort to calling people by a similar name to theirs after repeated requests. If their name is Laurie, I'll reply, Yes Lorraine... it takes them a while, but they eventually get there.

So just telling this woman you don't like to be called Sweetie every time she says it might just get through.
Barry2021
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 09:01 am
@Mame,
Sorry, this is a woman, but aren't all women girls?

No, I've not asked her to stop but in speaking with other co-workers they say that she does them the same way. I don't know if she's older or younger than me because I've never met her.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 09:03 am
@Mame,
I quite often call women I don't know love or darling, and men mate.

Maybe is is a regional thing, I am from the South after all, although they tend to be more informal "Oop North."
Mame
 
  2  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 09:09 am
@Barry2021,
No. A girl is not a woman. Women are females. A girl is a young female. That's how it works. It's condescending to refer to an adult female as 'girl'.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 09:12 am
@izzythepush,
It actually doesn't bother me a bit to be called names like that - in fact, I think it's friendly. I've done it myself to my favourite elderly library patrons and they liked it. But... if someone asks you to stop, you have to stop because then it's disrespectful. Sounds in this case as if the woman grew up that way and it's just ingrained and doesn't mean anything condescending about it.
Barry2021
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 09:12 am
@Linkat,
I look at The People's Court every day and I think I remember that episode. However, if she gave someone a pass for being from the south, I've seen her chop other's people's heads off who weren't from the south who didn't call her Judge or your honor. But on the contrary, I've seen her on numerous occasions call people sweetie and other terms of endearment which does come across as very condescending simply because she's "wearing the black dress" as she so calls it.

I guess I'm looking at it as we're in an office chat and my name is clearly on the chat screen she's viewing but she still chooses to type "sweetie" instead of my name.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 09:13 am
@Barry2021,
Well, make your point with her then. Tell her it's a professional environment, you have no personal relationship and you don't like it.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 09:18 am
@Mame,
I'm talking about day to day, if I was on the phone to the bank or the energy provider I would be a bit more formal.
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 09:23 am
@Mame,
Mame wrote:

I've had to resort to calling people by a similar name to theirs after repeated requests. If their name is Laurie, I'll reply, Yes Lorraine... it takes them a while, but they eventually get there.



I like that - it kind of makes a point especially if you deliver it with humor someone may say hey yeah I am an idiot I keep mistakenly call you something incorrectly.

And kind of in that same thought - I have called someone back after they said honey -- ok sweetie. But more in a humorous tone.
0 Replies
 
Barry2021
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 09:23 am
@Mame,
Look at it this way. Talking face to face with someone or on the phone is one thing, however, this woman is typing it in a chat. Speaking may just be a natural thing but you have to think what you're typing and you're choosing to type "sweetie". And again, most times if you're talking to someone and you correct them they understand and apologize. Again, I'm not big on cutesy names like this, and yes, I'm in and from the south. Born and raised. But on your job you expect people to be a little more professional.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 09:29 am
@Barry2021,
Send her a message.

Dear xxxx,

I'm sorry if this upsets you, but I'd rather you not use terms like honey or sweetie when you communicate with me.

It makes me feel quite uncomfortable because these are words that I normally only use with family.

Again I'm sorry if I've made you feel uncomfortable but I would really appreciate it if you stopped addressing me in such a manner.

Thanking you in advance Barry "Sugartits" 2021
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 09:33 am
@Barry2021,
Barry2021 wrote:

Look at it this way. Talking face to face with someone or on the phone is one thing, however, this woman is typing it in a chat. Speaking may just be a natural thing but you have to think what you're typing and you're choosing to type "sweetie". And again, most times if you're talking to someone and you correct them they understand and apologize. Again, I'm not big on cutesy names like this, and yes, I'm in and from the south. Born and raised. But on your job you expect people to be a little more professional.


Doesn't matter whether it is a chat or not - a chat is different than other forms or written correspondence - a chat is just that chatting (informal) so it is implied that you would write as you would speak. It is similar to a phone call but in written word.

And no plenty of people do not think when they type -

I think the big difference here is what YOU expect -- which can be very different than what another person expects. You seem to have difficulty understanding that people have different expectations. Not everyone has the same expectations as you do even in a professional environment. That is why you kindly clarify how you would like to be addressed.

To answer your simple question (and most seem to see it the same way)
Is this condescending - NO. How would you approach - clarify that you would like to be called Barry. We all agree on that - how best to address - difficult to say -- humor by turning around calling her tweety bird after she writes honey - or being kind and firm - please call me Barry each time after she writes honey or whatever the heck she does.

Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 09:35 am
@izzythepush,
I like that approach the best - it gets to the point - while not causing a stir especially the signature I find very appropriate.
Barry2021
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 09:37 am
@izzythepush,
Nice reply. I think I'll leave the sugartits part off though.

My mom calls me sweetie and my wife calls me babe, but that's about as far as I want to go there. My siblings call be my my name as I do them. If a man does it to another female employee / co-worker then it's frowned upon. But if a woman does it then it's just excused as "she's just being sweet."
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 09:46 am
@Linkat,
If you want someone to do or stop doing something it's a good idea to start off with an apology.

It comes naturally to me. A while back a second generation immigrant from Pakistan was talking about when she was on holiday in Karachi.

When she was in a shop she wondered how the shopkeeper knew was English, he said that he saw somebody bump into her and she apologised.
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2021 10:22 am
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:



When she was in a shop she wondered how the shopkeeper knew was English, he said that he saw somebody bump into her and she apologised.



LOL That sounds Canadian Smile
0 Replies
 
 

 
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