Post # 1
Do you say it? Does it bother you if other people use it?
My job requires me to be on the phone, a lot! ( I know everyone is now insanely jealous of me!) … It requires me to call all over the country. Fun, right? Except it’s been engrained in me to say ” ma’am” or ” sir”. Some people think its cute. Some people think I’m being sassy. I know it’s a ” southern thing”… But do you find it offensive?
Post # 3
Yep…I say it too. I would hope no one finds it offensive!! But around here, it’s just the polite thing to do.
Post # 4
I say it, it was drilled into me as a kid. Yay Southern things! :p I don’t find it offensive when people call me that and I’m not implying people are old when I say it to others. I call people my own age and younger ma’am and sir. It just comes out of my mouth.
Post # 5
I don’t use it but I also don’t find it offensive. I have used when writing letters to people in my job, but I’ve never said it. If I do need to talk to someone on the phone I usually just refer to them as Mr./Mrs.
Did someone take offense to it?
Post # 6
If I am speaking to someone that is clearly my elder, I always use ma’am and sir. I refrain from using it within my own generation (that just comes across as awkward). Some people say that it makes them feel old, but for me, it was just taught to me as a sign of respect!!
Post # 7
If someone calls me ma’am, they are risking a punch in the face. I am 26. I look about 21. I am far from a ma’am.
I’m from the north, if that helps your stats at all 🙂
Post # 8
No, I would never find it offensive, but I don’t use it myself – it’s not really done in MA.
My story of the ma’am/no ma’am cultural divide: I was born in the north, where no one ever used it, and then moved to Texas when I was 7. I have SUCH a clear memory of being publicly scolded by a neighbor for not calling her ma’am. I was a very polite, eager-to-please child, and I felt absolutely humiliated by this woman that I barely knew reprimanding me for not using something I’d never been taught to use.
Post # 9
I’ve always been stumped by how it’s offensive or disrespectful to address someone as ma’am or sir. It’s not an indication of age, at all. It’s just a polite address until you’re invited to be on a first name basis.
But, then, I’m Southern, so it feels natural to me.
Post # 10
I use it really occasionally when I am sure that it is age appropriate an I am dealing with someone who is very angry or inebriated, as I find that helps tomake theinteraction more polite. I HATE it when people call me ma’am I am so not old enough forthat !
Post # 11
Ha! I called this woman ” ma’am” on the phone and she said ” don’t get sassy with me!”. I was like F that–you’ll know I’m getting sassy when I say ” bless your heart “.
Ok I didn’t actually tell her to F that, but I tried to steer clear of ” ma’am”!
Post # 12
I say it all the time! I didn’t even know it was considered “sassy” or anything but respectful until a couple years ago.
Post # 13
I don’t mind but it’s not all that common with me so I’d probably do a double take… hate being called “petal” or “lovely” though…
Post # 14
I live in the south so we “Sir” and “Ma’am” all over the place.
I actually didn’t know til recently that some women are offended by the use of Ma’am because it insinuates that they’re being called old.
When I waited tables every day, I made sure to be a little careful of my ma’am usage if we had Northern tourists but other than that, I didn’t care if you were 80, 18, or 8 years old, I addressed you as Sir or Ma’am.
Post # 15
@ladyartichoke: “petal” is a new one to me, never heard someone called that before!
Post # 16
Another Southern vote~ it’s just polite where I’m from. Even so, I was a bit surprised when it was said to me for the first few times. It did make me feel old, but I had to realize that 29 seems old to someone in high school… and when I hear someone use it, I get a sense that they were “raised right”.
eta: My parents are from the North, and raised us to say it to them and others…