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Yellowdog's avatar

When a Brit says 'love' (or 'luv') when addressing you, does it come across as more or as less personal to you?

Asked by Yellowdog (8038points) 1 month ago

I used to go through a drive-through at a fast-food restaurant late at night, because, not only was the service really good, but there was an English girl who worked there who always addressed the customers as “love.’

She didn’t even have a particularly strong accent from the UK. But it came across as very personable, caring, and natural.

Regrettably, she’s either been told not to use it in addressing customers, or has learned on her own not to.

My understanding is that the colloquial address comes from Leeds, a Methodist community, where the address meant “beloved” (loved by the community, God, etc) and not necessarily a term of endearment.

For what its worth, its only acceptable spoken woman to woman, woman to man, or man to woman, but not one man to another man.

I was charmed by being addressed this way, as it sounds more amicable than merely ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ and not as endearing as ‘dear’ or ‘honey’ which is usually inappropriate.

But now that I’ve thought about it, though ‘love’ may be more amicable and, well, loving/caring— it seems mostly what one would say politely to an acquaintance, not someone who really desired a close relationship with you.

So, which is it? Is it reserved for distant relationships or close ones?

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12 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

I view is the same as Southerners saying “hon”. It is not a term of endearment for close relationships.

janbb's avatar

It can be used for both but, like you, I enjoy being addressed that way by waitstaff and shop workers when in the UK. I do definitely hear people using it to address their romantic partners as well. I doubt it is specific in origin to just one region of England or one religion since it is and has been so widespread for a long time. And yes, it denotes casual caring or affection or perhaps just rote manners.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Trying to imagine people saying ‘Hey, luv, got your knickers in a twist again today?”

I rather like it. Does remind me of how we’d use ‘sweetie’ or ‘doll’, etc…less formal than Ma’am, Sir.

ucme's avatar

There are lots of these casual affectations thrown around throughout the whole of the UK.
They include but are not limited to…pet, darling, sweetheart, love & treacle.

Up here in the north east you mostly hear pet or even hinnie & the weird thing is they’re used in close relationships as well as with casual, brief encounters with perfect strangers.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I thought treacle was a dessert? Fun! You must be a friendly lot. :)

kritiper's avatar

More. But it depends on if it’s a chick that’s saying it. If it was a dude it would be WAY, WAY less!!! Non-existent. Repulsive. ICK! (Get away from me!)

kritiper's avatar

It’s like a waitress here in the states that calls you “hon.”

ucme's avatar

@KNOWITALL Treacle is mostly used in London, more specifically, the ‘cockney’ east end.
It really is just that, friendly banter, no harm intended, but as I say, we use these words with family & partners too.

Kropotkin's avatar

“Love” is commonly used throughout Yorkshire. Probably more typically by women, and among the working class.

It’s used between strangers, and I hear it all the time if I’m out shopping or ordering something.

LadyMarissa's avatar

I don’t have a problem with it; however, I bet she was instructed to stop using it as in this politically correct times we’re in, it could be mistaken as a come on & not as a friendly banter. My favorite waitress calls everyone darlin’ whether they be male or female. One of her regular customers came in on his day off & brought his wife with him for a change. Without thinking, she referenced the wife as darlin’ while taking her order & then turned to the husband & did the same. The wife went off on her big time for flirting with her husband. She tried to explain that she wasn’t flirting & it’s how she addresses every customer when she doesn’t know their name. The wife was having none of it & remained livid throughout her meal & refused to allow her husband to even tip the waitress for the service that they DID receive. He came back in sheepishly the next day with his co-workers, apologized & explained that his wife is an extremely jealous person who thinks that any woman who even looks at him wants to take him away from her & he left the waitress a double tip before leaving. Most of the corporate businesses out there try to stay sensitive to the nut jobs in order to stay out of the limelight; so, I bet she was instructed to stop or some nut job went off on her for flirting with their husband!!!

KNOWITALL's avatar

As far as the restaurant, sometimes overfamiliarity with ones husband is…disconcerting. I feel sorry for all three a bit.

LadyMarissa's avatar

@Yellowdog Although you & I find your server’s use of “Luv” to be ebdearing, The attitude expressed here is why corporate execs won’t allow their employees to use such a reference..

In my example the wife nor Know didn’t grow irate when the waitress called the wife darlin’; however when she referenced the husband the exact same way, she was suddenly being overly familiar with the husband. It’s a double standard .In an hours time, she probably called 100 people darlin’; so in my mind, she was NOT being overly familiar with just the ONE husband…she was treating him just like she did 100 other people. With the double standard present, major chains have to beware because it is better to stop ALL from being greeted with a pet name than risk having ONE customer pissed off & going to the press to express their displeasure!!! At that point, they not only have ONE pissed off customer, there are thousands taking her side in being offended by something that hadn’t bothered them until they were asked ”:does this bother you”. The old adage “better to be safe than sorry” becomes the rule of the day!!!

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