The Emptiest Compliment We Can Receive.

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I Am Not Sweet

Note: This is one writer’s perspective, and we welcome mindful dialogue around this. That’s what we’re here for. ~ Waylon Lewis

I’m Not Sweet.

“I can tell from your face you are a very open, sweet girl.” “Aren’t you just the sweetest thing?” “I like you. You are so sweet.”

The above words represent just a few of the hundreds of “compliments” I have received in my life on my “sweetness.”

Be they recent acquaintances (like the first), older women at the restaurant where I work (the second), or total strangers (the third), these people certainly do not mean to offend.

And yet, I struggle to respond politely. Sometimes I may cringe slightly. I am not flattered, because I am not sweet.

I will accept these words from my grandmother, but from anyone else I would rather receive words that mean something in themselves.

Since childhood, I have been “sweet” more often than I have been anything else—beautiful, intelligent, kind and interesting are only a handful of the more preferable adjectives that come to mind. It is beginning to grate. We tell little girls—and little boys, too—that they are sweet. The word carries connotations of innocence, naiveté, and, surely, goodness; however, I have no desire to carry it with me beyond girlhood.

As an adult, and as a woman, I would be pleased to be thought kind, compassionate and caring. I would be equally, if not more, flattered by intelligent, original or brave. Words like beautiful or cute are more problematic, but that is a story for another time.

I certainly do not wish to be called sweet. Sweetness lacks depth. An excess of sugar, of sweetness, in a dish conceals the absence of other, more complex flavors. We add sugar to things we don’t like to make them more palatable.

Sweet is weak. Sweet is what we tell girls they should be so they can grow into complacent, permissive women. Sweet doesn’t know self-defense, and sweet definitely doesn’t know how to throw a punch.

When sweet walks into a bar, she smiles at the vulgarity of strangers, for she has never learned to scowl. Sweet and assertive do not mix well. Sweet and angry? An outright oxymoron.

I am not sweet. I have depth. I am strong. I know how to defend myself, and I have expended a considerable amount of energy to learn how to punch. I scowl when strangers get out of line at a bar. I get angry.

Still, I do not do these things as often as I would like. Sometimes sweetness hangs over my life like an inescapable prophecy. The well-intentioned words of others have cursed me with this nagging desire to be nice. Despite everything, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I don’t want to cause a scene. A part of me, clearly, clings to the sugar spoon.

Even so, I am not sweet. Sweet doesn’t speak her mind. Sweet is always modest to a fault, and timid. Sweet hunches her shoulders.

I have never been afraid of expressing my opinions; I know my worth, and I stand up straight.

Now, if you are thinking that modesty is a virtue, and that there is nothing wrong, per se, with wanting to be sweet, I would almost agree with you. Only, why is it we rarely expect these qualities of men? We hardly ever criticize a man for speaking his mind. And when did you last see a man with rounded shoulders and a complacent smile and think, “He seems sweet”? I am continually perturbed by this double standard, and so I continue my vendetta against sweetness…

Many times, I have succumbed to the same temptation to describe people in this way. I might say of a coworker, “Oh she’s so sweet!” or, “He seems sweet,” of someone I have briefly met. I fall into these platitudes’ trap as often as anyone else, for they convey affection without demanding any precision of language. I constantly try to remind myself to say what I really mean—to use words that mean something.

Because these people are not sweet. They are strong and complex. They get angry sometimes. They probably know how to throw a punch.

Like me, they deserve real compliments.

When sweet reads this article, she may be offended, but she will be too sweet to say anything. I am not sweet, and neither are you, so please feel free to express contrary opinions in the comments if you have them!


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Toby Israel

Toby Israel Toby Israel is a vagabond and storyteller with a metaphorical closet full of hats. She currently works as a creative facilitator, editor, and writer, and as Content Manager at NuMundo. She is also a full-time lover of movement, food, and words. For the moment, she lives in Costa Rica. (She came for a masters degree in Media, Peace and Conflict Studies from the UN-mandated University for Peace—and stayed for the papaya, sunshine, and conscious community.) Share her journey on her website, and on FacebookInstagram and Twitter!

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Jammie Bowser Feb 8, 2019 8:08am

I tell people they’re sweet while appreciating their kindnesses and thanking them. Sweetness is often absent in life and I enjoy it’s presence in many forms. It’s not that I’ll never take the time to put it into better words…

anonymous Mar 26, 2016 3:15pm

I'm very petite and growing up I was always called cute. Always, even while trying to hold a serious conversation. I found it dismissive and at times condescending. On the other side of the coin you mentioned that you were called sweet by a new acquaintance, an older lady in a restaurant and a stranger. With that little familiarity with you, should they know your depth?

anonymous Mar 26, 2016 3:03pm

I emphatically agree with you about the sweetness. It has bothered me as well, and I feel you break down the implications of what's implied often with "you are sweet" even without much though behind. You touched on the most problematic issue here, that most of the time "cute" and "sweet" are reserved for women, younger than the speaker, and it's subtly patronising. The fact that Waylon Lewis felt he needed to defend himself by putting his disclaimer "it's only one writer's opinion..", etc, etc. before your article highlights even more that it's a problem in how women are viewed in a male-centred culture which is still pervasive. To the extent that both men and many women will see no problem with cutesy terms of endearment being insulting to a mature grown-up independent and self-aware strong woman.

In one of the comments here Waylon reiterates that he doesn't see the problem, he's blind to the fact that telling around you look cute can be perceived by you as inappropriate and icky. That he (not you, the one on the receiving end) was "sad" to know you didn't accept it wagging your tail like delighted puppy. He doesn't need to get defensive and say "oh it must have been some shirt" she was wearing… (very lame) but the moment he realised he offended you to understand why and apologise. That's what a man who truly respects women and their rights would have done, not throwing some warning disclaimers in our face that it's only one author's opinion!

anonymous Mar 26, 2016 3:04am

This is an interesting perspective and I can say that after initially feeling a rise of some anger at the start of reading it. I would like to share a little of the knowledge I have gained in this journey and that is this; It is just a word, as many know, a word is just a word, it's the story you attach to it that gives it its meaning for you and or the emotional response that's clearly been triggered in you. I would dig into that a bit further to understand what is actually going on for you. Dr Wayne Dyer used the example of an orange at his seminars asking the audience, What do they think comes out of it when it's squeezed? Orange juice of course not pineapple juice or lemon juice. The same is true for people if you are squeezed. If you have love on the inside that's what will come out, but if you have fear then that's what will come out. When we take an honest look inside ourselves we become aware of what our fears really are and usually it's linked to self worth. Perhaps when you find the answer the next time that you hear a word such as 'sweet' your response will be very different than the irritation and upset that it currently triggers in you. Love and light to you on your journey. Xx

anonymous Mar 26, 2016 1:49am

I find there is a lot of depth and importance to her words – and find it not just sad but almost outrageous that this is the one article (except stuff on astrology) Waylon felt the need to "give a warning ahead". Because a woman complains about the daily sexism?

That said, I personally have no problem with being called sweet – happens rarely enough! 😉 Better though I find "That is sweet!" because it points to an action of a person. Because, as the author correctly states: how can we know if someone is sweet?

Again, that said, I know quite a lot of guys who I would and do describe as sweet.

Yet, the author has a very valid point, and Waylon's introductory "warning" just proves that even the more.

anonymous Mar 25, 2016 9:09pm

Amber Weik Considering the hell nasty cruel people can bring into your whole being and literally destroy your life, being called sweet is about the flipping last of my worries. No offense but when are people going to grow up? I mean really ? You have kids being sexually abused, men beating and killing women, The unbelievable corruption of our government, sex rings……Do I need to go on? But someone called you sweet? Really?
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Elephant Journal
Elephant Journal I agree. This is one writer's perspective. I said to a colleague that she looked cute, this year, referring probably to the colors of her shirt or something–I had zero weird intent, just wanted to say something nice…and she took it as inappropriate. It really made me sad—I had no kind of inappropriate anything in mind. ~ Waylon Lewis
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Kerryn Butler
Kerryn Butler What a limited and minimising definition of 'sweet' you have. If you ever call anyone 'sweet' we'll know what YOU mean but I think you over step by assuming that your definition aligns with everyone else's definition. I've known many women who I would …See More
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Patricia J. Paronett
Patricia J. Paronett Yes
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Elephant Journal
Elephant Journal Agree. This is one writer's perspective, and we welcome mindful dialogue around this.
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AW Alexander
AW Alexander So basically we need to be offended by people trying to be friendly or nice now. Honestly, people can't win. Do this, don't do this. Do that, wait no, it's insulting. Everyone needs to stop whining about silly stuff. The world has far larger issues.
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Kirra Webster
Kirra Webster I highly disagree, as every woman should. Like most young girls, I was raised to be complacent. Standing up for myself and what is right would lead to being deemed a bitch. Still, today, after abandoning any urge from societal pressure to be complacent (after it nearly killed me) years ago, choosing to be strong over sweet turns people against me. I don't think I ever use sweet as a compliment, and being called sweetie makes me cringe. If you want to compliment someone on their personality, lovely is nice, caring, bubbly even, but sweet is so empty. Sweet is harmless and shy. That's not what women should be encouraged to be. I mean we shouldn't be encouraged to be harmful either, but I would much rather be called strong than sweet, and I would much rather talk about the things that really do matter, such as how women are shaped to be complacent, than turn a blind eye and accuse people of whining because I'm too ignorant to see the big picture.
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Patricia J. Paronett
Patricia J. Paronett AW I'm with you, I'm not here to tell other women what to be and if I'm talking about someone I'm really not that acquainted with but I generally like them I may call them sweet, meaning, kind, compassionate and full of grace. My sister also gets bugged out by the word cute when it comes to clothing but here's the deal, compliments are so rare these days and life is tough enough…call me sweet, petite, cute, whatever you want, a compliment is wonderful either way. Smile, be kind, receive kindness because that's the way it's meant…as kindness
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Julie Lawrence
Julie Lawrence Yes, frankly a put down by those people threatened by grace, class and humility.
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Stamatina Fillippis
Stamatina Fillippis Just be thankful for the compliment geez!
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Christi Tov
Christi Tov Welcome to the land of hyper-sensitivity.
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Elephant Journal
Elephant Journal agree

anonymous Nov 12, 2015 4:38pm

I’m going to totally disagree with this. I’m a very strong opinionated, intelligent and educated woman and my current boyfriend calls me sweet and a sweetheart. He means I’m kind, loving, thoughtful, generous, affectionate and think of others. He also loves how I speak my mind without a filter and am quick to sarcasm and humor. I’m well known for telling it like it is but I also have a good, kind heart. And I don’t have a problem with someone telling me I’m sweet. Even if a stranger noted something I did and said that’s sweet. I think she’s taking far more offense to the word than it merits. Take your compliments gracefully and show your strength is doing so. If your physical attributes make you seem cute therefore sweet looking or seemingly sweet natured – be confident and let that strength shine through as well. But don’t dismiss this as an empty comment. I think it means they are saying you seem to have a kind heart. And that is a HUGE compliment!!

anonymous Nov 8, 2015 4:51pm

I can't help but wonder if this is the reason people don't speak to each other anymore… There are many people out there that are so quick to jump to offense, and why? Because someone called you sweet?
If someone's words are well meaning, however empty you feel them to be, they still found the courage and energy to express something to you that was intended to make you feel good. Accept it and move on

    anonymous Nov 9, 2015 12:33pm

    I totally agree. There are far worse things than being called "sweet." I'm sure the people saying it weren't saying it to be disrespectful or condescending. While the article is well written, I wouldn't think that being called "sweet" would be enough to go on a what seems to be a rather frivolous rant.

    Of course, I do have a friend who has a minor stroke when he hears the word "potential." He attributes all of his negative emotions about this word to his upbringing where he was told he had so much "potential," which he feels he never really lived up to.

    anonymous Mar 26, 2016 5:04pm

    i fully agree! people read into everything way too much these days. It's sad and definitely not worth writing an article this size about it. For someone with so much depth, this article lacks a great deal of it. I don't mean to disrespect , it's just hard to understand that someone would find 'sweet' offensive. That does not mean you are not brave, deep, strong and confident woman. You can be all those, and sweet. I hope elephant journal starts sharing more meaningful content, and while i understand there are many expressions on here..some are just total waste of time and would be best kept in personal journals.

anonymous Nov 8, 2015 3:04pm

While reading this and the comments, I bounce back and forth with agreeing and disagreeing. If tone and repetitiveness deem so, there would be a tiresome element to it. I would guess the mere overuse of the word may make it the most difficult. However, the other side of me considers how all the most popular movies and books create such disharmony and cataclysmic plots with characters that possess quite the collection of fatal flaws, that it appears that just plain goodness is not good enough anymore. It isn’t good enough for Hollywood, books, art, social scenes, some friendships and a myriad of other life scenarios. Give us conflict and flaws and situations that could be entertainingly played out in stories and such.

I’m the type that does get the word sweet more often than not, but I always take it as a compliment. I do, because you don’t know others experiences. They may be overwrought with drama and chaos and insensitivity in their life that when they come across someone that just seems “kind,” “genuine,” and “heartfelt” it may come out as the dreaded “sweet.”

Perhaps, also, it is individual experiences that sway us one way or the other. For those that have been knocked down and gutted by loss and betrayed by those we love, being called sweet may be a testament to avoiding our hearts being hardened. As far a wishing others would have a depth and “precision of language,” sadly, most of those in our lives do not have that awareness. It doesn’t make them less, it just means they don’t have that quality and they shouldn’t be discarded for it.

So, while I thought when I started this that I was conflicted, it seems I’ve written myself onto the side of Sweet. I guess there are tougher things in life, but it’s a great piece for discussion.

anonymous Nov 8, 2015 2:08pm

Not everyone you encounter will spend enough time with you to fully experience the depth of your character. While you are offended by someone characterizing you as sweet during the small slice of time they spent with you I take that same compliment as evidence that I left them with a momentary glimpse of peace, light and goodwill. That our shared experience caused no unnecessary anxiety or stress and possibly brightened their world if only for a moment. When you become centered and confident in who you are you won’t need to constantly bellow from the mountaintop how fierce, strong, intelligent and resourceful you are; it will be apparent even to those to whom you show sweetness.

anonymous Oct 3, 2015 2:45pm

Well I dont know about whether You are sweet or not…but Your article makes me feel You are too cute !

anonymous Apr 25, 2015 11:07am

"I will accept these words from my grandmother and any other woman her age, but from anyone else I would rather receive words that mean something."
I feel dismissed, invisible, irrelevant, of no consequence, hurt, isolated, ostracized, trashed, and extremely vulnerable.

anonymous Jan 11, 2015 4:46pm

It is very challenging, if not impossible, for someone who lacks depth to give a compliment of depth. You bring up some good points about the double standard of the word "sweet", but how much of what we do comes down to our conditioning? How much of what you do comes down you your conditioning? Such as taking others lack of depth personally. If we are to interact with the world and those in it based on our own experience and where we are in our personal journey, those who are deemed to have less depth, and are therefore ignorant to the meaningful compliments that we so deserve, we will always find someone to offend us. You're right, I'm not sweet! Thank-you you for inviting honest and "un-sweet" comments! 😉

anonymous Dec 12, 2014 7:47pm

I want to be sweet!!! But, because of my flamboyant talk and assertive manner, I'm often described as a "pistol" "She's quite a pistol" "Whew, you're pistol, aren't you?" "I tell everyone what a pistol you are." "We've got one smokin' pistol here tonight, folks!" A photo of me in a little cowgirl outfit, from decades ago, has written on the back, "Our little pistol." My family has even joked and said they were going to put on my tombstone, "She was a real pistol" because they've heard it so many times.

The people who say that sincerely respect and like me and mean it as a compliment, at least in part–to say that I'm feisty, assertive, take-charge, never intimidated and so forth. I've needed that in my career and have been valued for it. But, it sounds to me like a backwoods woman, chewing tobacco, or a tough talking dame from a 1940's detective drama. That's not what my heart is like. I'm romantic and loving and sharing and I tear up over poetry and babies and old people and I care deeply about many things. I would like for someone, just once in my life, to say I am sweet, with all that word denotes.

An interesting question to pose in training, meetings and interviews is, "How would you like for me to describe you, if I could only use one word?" Maybe we should ask that question of those we love, with whom we work, and whoever we know well enough to have been describing them in the one word we think applies.

    anonymous Apr 25, 2015 11:04am

    I'd love to spend time with you…, in all your glory! The powerful, articulate, flamboyant, assertive, respected, feisty, one; as well as the romantic, loving, sensitive, teary, sweet one. Your words challenge me to see all of that in myself.

anonymous Nov 16, 2014 3:26pm

Perhaps you’d prefer “petty?” Or how about “ungrateful?” Whenever someone offers a compliment, so long as it’s not backhanded, we should practice gratitude and appreciate the sentiment, rather than mincing words and letting ourselves get it the way of being present in someone else’s attempt at grace. Try not to overanalyze things and you’ll probably get more enjoyment from the kindness of others.

anonymous Oct 2, 2014 7:43am

The Key to "Enlightenment " is to "LIGHTEN UP" ! Its the intention of the heart that matters, not the semantics….. I think "over sensitive" would be more appropriate….
and yes I am Woman……. a very "strong" woman, and have qualities as "sweet" as the nectar of a divine ripe mango …

anonymous Oct 2, 2014 4:41am

this post reminded me of this quote from Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth":
"Once there is a certain degree of Presence, of still and alert attention in human beings' perceptions, they can sense that there is more there than the mere physical existence of that form, without knowing that this is the reason why he or she is drawn toward it, feels an affinity with it. Because of its ethereal nature, its form obscures the indwelling spirit to a lesser degree than is the case with other life-forms. The exception to this are all newborn life-forms—babies, puppies, kittens, lambs, and so on. They are fragile, delicate, not yet firmly established in materiality. An innocence, sweetness and beauty that are not of this world still shine through them. They delight even relatively insensitive humans."
so maybe there's more beneath the surface of what you perceive to be "sweetness". keep looking.

    anonymous Oct 2, 2014 12:32pm

    thanks, something to consider, i am frequently labeled as sweet & i think it is just my childlike-ness they are picking up on.

anonymous Oct 1, 2014 2:26pm

There is a giving and a receiving in communication and this article only speaks to one part of that exchange. Sweet, for the author, is perceived as weak…but that may not be what was intended at all.

Do we truly know what the other means when they say we are "sweet"? Have we asked?

I believe "How so?" or "Is that a good thing?" or "What does sweet mean to you?" should suffice. We might be surprised to find out what it means to the other that they should consider us to be sweet.

anonymous Sep 28, 2014 8:02pm

I have gotten "you are just so sweet! you are the sweetest! o you're such a sweetheart!" my whole life. Usually from those older than me, and I remember them saying the same words when I was a child. The words have a condescending dismissal, the phrase is often the last thing said before the person moves on. I find that having grown up with the world, I still fall into the silencing trap it brings, keeping my mouth shut and giving a smile in silence. The phrase might as well be "well im afraid to talk to you about anything that matters so shut up and look pretty while i walk away".
The entire situation is a testament to most americans fear of sincerity or personal depth, and loss of language to do so. And now the one "compliment" used so regularly has become one of the most shunning insults. It is a means to keep social peace by neglecting reality.

anonymous Sep 28, 2014 6:21pm

I would actually like to be called sweet once in awhile – bitch & difficult is what I often hear.

anonymous Sep 27, 2014 1:44pm

I don't get sweet, but I do get "lovely", especially from guys. I don't like it either. For all the same reasons. Great article.

anonymous Sep 27, 2014 11:12am

I understand your point and in many way I agree… But like spicy, salty, sour, bitter and all the rest, sweet is a very basic way of describing an experience. Usually to explain a taste or an emotional experience. I wonder if perhaps the connotation of what “sweet” means might vary depending upon which perspective you look at it from. Sweet can be icky, can be overly processed, nutrient deficient crap. OR it can be much more than that…. Chocolate is sweet but that is not the entirety of what chocolate is. A really good quality, lovingly made chocolate has depth of character within that sweetness… Subtleties and hints of various notes and flavors within the overall “chocolate flavor”. If someone doesn’t know all of the complexities and depth of the chocolate bar they hold in their hand, they can usually still assume it is sweet because it looks like chocolate and smells like chocolate. The depth and expansion on that description can come later, if they are fortunate enough to be able to take a bite. Sometimes sweet can also describe a refreshing sensation on our palette… Fruit is sweet. It’s like bliss on our tongues… In a metaphorical sense, sweet could be a bigger compliment than it seems you realize… It does often seem to be used to describe children, but perhaps it’s not because they are cute or other such shallow reasons? Children are often more pure of heart, more readily loving and accepting of others, free with their affections…they are also generally more in touch with their sense of imagination and of awe and wonder… The world is magical through a child’s eyes. I rarely use the word to describe someone but when I do it’s usually because I sense that their overall energy is very good (not cutesy good, but genuinely GOOD), generally an open hearted, loving individual. Perhaps I sense that they still have a childlike quality about them in their open heartedness, their sense of awe and wonder… If I don’t know much more about them, I can’t say all of the other wonderful qualities they might have, but I know sweetness when I see it.

anonymous Sep 22, 2014 3:34pm

Consider that maybe you are salty AND sweet. It's a lovely combination with one playing against the other. Of course sweet without salty can be cloying, and salty without sweet can be overwhelming. Balance in all things 🙂

anonymous Sep 20, 2014 6:49pm

I regularly lurk on this sight but have never felt moved to comment before; as a fellow strong woman who has fought hard to get where I am yet still get called “sweet” THANK YOU so much for this!

    anonymous Oct 2, 2014 4:06am

    I was thinking the same thing. Some of the articles are good but I've never felt the need to comment. This article, however, hits the nail right on the head! I feel the same way about "hot" since there are so many better choices of words and people get offended when I say "thank you, but that would not be my first choice of vocabulary." I get called hot on the regular from people who do not mean it as a compliment so much as a more articulated cat call. I'm not opposed to these terms in their entirety, I just agree with the author – there can be so many better choices of verbal admiration out there!

Eve Lanik Oct 1, 2018 6:05pm

I get that you disagree, but its just flat out rude to end your statement with "sweetie" after she articulated her reasoning for why she did not like to be called sweet. That is childish.

Lora Spears Griffith Dec 18, 2017 5:23pm

I worked with very strict Baptist people at a job. I'm a Christian/Lutheran. One of the young ladies was running someone down very cruelly . I gave my honest opinion and she bluntly tells me ,that I am just way too nice of a person. So,,,,,,

Crystal Newhope Aug 7, 2017 6:01am

I tell people I'm not sweet, I'm thoughtful; I'm not sweet I'm compassionate. I'm not sweet, I'm caring. I'm not sweetly because you don't need a dental plan to know me....that one usually hits a home rum.

John Hague Jan 3, 2017 10:09pm

I'd focus on learning to be greatful for being announced, acknowledged, included into well intentions To have that opportunity is a luxury

Richard Decater Oct 2, 2016 10:25pm

"Thank you, that's very kind of you say" is Likely the most appropriate response to any positive or negative compliment

Rebecca Gould Oct 2, 2016 10:18pm

"Sweet" is not the emptiest compliment we can receive. It can have depth. Of course sometimes it's said in a lazy, meaningless, or even condescending and insincere way. But genuine sweetness, and the genuine appreciation and recognition of it, are beautiful things. Whether or not any compliment is "empty" depends on the context, and on who is saying it and who is receiving it--or, in this case, how it's *not* being received, how it's being blocked and criticized as empty, shallow, and weak. Sweet does not always have hunched shoulders. Sweet doesn't necessarily mean modest or weak. Sweet can coexist with all other personality traits. Sweet can certainly speak up and throw a punch; when I was two I punched some guy for calling me cute! I'm sweet as hell but get angry, too, and I know how to speak my mind.

Paula Meegan Sep 5, 2016 2:59pm

It's always kind of hurt my feelings that no one has ever called me sweet.

Philip T Trice Sep 4, 2016 4:29pm

Mostly I feel the way you describe. I have come to think of "sweetness" as a quality I can have that mixes well with other qualities without the overall characterization implied by "sweet". Like I can be ruthless with sweetness for example. Otherwise if people call me sweet I tend to feel I'm being seen through cultural/box colored glasses and not more directly, and like I'm being set up for behaving according to expectations.

Todd Lempe Sep 4, 2016 4:27pm

Article is written to arouse. It's misplaced responsibility and making a negative assumption which can be emotionally fatal. She's responsible to ask for more information, "hmm, exactly what do you mean when you say I'm sweet?" I use this term of endearment affectionately lovingly - yes, I agree it's too broad, but my definition of intent is: interesting, intelligent, refreshing, strong, courageous, unique, amazing, brilliant...sure I could use those terms, but that would be weird..

Lori Littrell Sep 4, 2016 4:22pm

I can relate. A running joke is that in various places and times I'm commended for, or described as very nice. At 52 yrs old there's SO much more to me, but, alas, that's often all I'll get is... I'm nice :-) Sigh!

Francesca Tripodi May 1, 2016 2:45pm

I don't know about the rest of the world, but here in Australia being called sweet is not considered offensive, empty, shallow, demeaning, hollow, weak or whatever negative connotation you wish to believe. It's simply a sign of endearment. Be grateful and accept compliments with the kindness and gratitude in which they were intended. That my opinion anyway sweetie

Francesca Tripodi Apr 24, 2016 7:11pm

I'd much rather be called sweet than bitch. WTF IM PROUD TO BE CALLED FUCKING SWEET!!!!

Sandra Jackson Apr 22, 2016 4:02pm

I grew up in North Carolina and "aren't you sweet!" was used mostly after you did something nice for someone -- a Southernism of "aren't you kind!" I can understand your point, though. As an educated black person in the US, I am SO tired of hearing "You're so articulate!" as if being a black person who can speak English is an exception to the rule. I often get this damnation with faint praise at work, where I'm a COMMUNICATIONS PROESSIONAL. Of course I'm articulate. So are most of the black people I know. So are most of the black people the speaker knows. It's not a compliment; it's a statement of the speaker's narrow vision of the world.