I'm not your bro, bro! Picture source: Corbis

A pet peeve of mine is the term “bro”. Quite often, it is used under the presumption that someone is closer to you than they actually are.

Here’s an example from my ex-workplace:

A new guy joined the company, and he’s pretty anti-social. I mean, we’re not a very large company so it’s really not that big a deal to walk around and say hi to about 10 people in a small office.

For two days, he goes about his business and doesn’t greet anybody – no casual “good morning” greetings or anything like that. On the third day, he comes up to me and goes:

“Hey bro, do you have a charger for Nokia phones?”

What I wanted to do was flip out and yell “I’m not your bro, bro!” After all, we haven’t so much as exchanged casual greetings, and suddenly he thinks he’s my brother from another mother? If he doesn’t know my name, he could’ve easily said “dude” or “hey guy”.

Being the calm, collected and civilized colleague that I am, I just politely said no… and then retold the story countless times during work lunches with other colleagues in this workplace and other workplaces since.

Don't call me bro, bro! Image source: Corbis

My peeve is really with any term of endearment that is used incorrectly or overly freely… but this specific event has made me focus my displeasure entirely on the term “bro”. I can’t really bring myself to ever call anybody “bro”, not even my biological brother or my BFF.

Surely I’m not the only person to get extremely irked by certain terms like this? What terms of endearment rub you guys the wrong way?


About Drew

I love videogames, movies, my wife and my dog (in no particular order).

17 responses »

  1. I have found that there are only a select few in my life that I would even consider calling bro (and I don’t even have a brother or sister for that matter). Not everyone in my mind, even if they were really close friends, would the term bro fit their personality or their connection to me in life. I only call my teammates bro and that is usually when I don’t know their name. I think sports cancel all other societal rules when talking with people. But that is in Big Mike’s World……not everyone’s.

    • drewpan says:

      Hahaha I’ve never been in any kind of sporting team, so I wouldn’t know about that. What kinda sport are you playing right now? Does that mean your leg is all better?

    • Russ says:

      The team context when you don’t know the guy’s name seems very logical. You’re acknowledging the fact that you don’t know his name, but you still regard him as being a team ‘brother’.

  2. Alvin says:

    I believe Derek Zoolander said it best:


  3. Addie says:

    I guess when it comes to us girlses, using endearments is not much of a big deal. I sometimes even call lady strangers “girl”, aside from the term “miss”, casually like how I would call my girl friends. And they don’t seem to mind.

    My uncle! Gosh. We were at a department store and he called the attention of the saleslady by referring to her as “babes”. Right, with an “S”. And I was like, “uncleeeeeeee…ugh!”.

  4. Here in America people are more likely to call you “dude,” which is fine by me since it evokes a laid-back, surfer dude feel without being overtly friendly. But I know what you mean: don’t call me bro, especially if you’re not my actual bro, or if you’re not from “da hood.” And don’t call me “hey guy,” “sir” or just whistle in my direction to get my attention, because my name is not Fido.

  5. I agree! And I’m not your “sweetie”, your “Honey” or “Babe”.

    • drewpan says:

      In my opinion, “sweetie” is one of the most patronizing terms hahaha! It’s only ever used in the the context of “Oh sweetie, the moon really isn’t made of green cheese. That’s just in the nursery rhymes.” or “Oh sweetie, that’s so sweet of you to say! But you’re more like a brother to me.”

  6. Cara Olsen says:

    LOL — Oh, yes, yes, yes! I know this fury. For us, women, the equivalent would be “sweetie” or “sweetheart”. You can hear the word dripping with venomous sarcasm or aloof disinterest.

    I think you made the right call holding your tongue, Drew. Nothing good is going to come from you blowing your lid and going all death-con on him. Maybe you should try striking up a convo, see what happens. Hopefully the guy will prove to just be a little shy or socially inept — and maybe your humorous, charismatic, garrulous nature will rub off on him?

    Happy Friday!

    • drewpan says:

      Hahaha he really only lasted about two-three weeks at the company before he disappeared. Nobody knows where. Maybe he called the wrong guy “bro”.

      BTW that wrong guy is definitely not me!

  7. […] couple of weeks back, I wrote a post about my annoyance with people who use the term “bro” without actually being close to […]

  8. hey drew … today i saw a dude wearing a t-shirt that read, “Don’t bro me if you don’t know me.” Apropos!

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