20 Things to Say When Someone Calls You “Honey”

Ever been called “honey” in a conversation and found yourself at a loss for words? This term of endearment, often laced with varying shades of intimacy, familiarity, or even condescension, depending on the context, can catch us off guard.

Whether it’s in a professional setting where such familiarity feels out of place, or in personal interactions where the term might not be welcome, knowing how to respond can help maintain your composure and control of the situation.

what to say when someone calls you honey

What to Say When Someone Calls You “Honey”

Here are 20 thoughtful responses to “honey” that cater to a range of scenarios, each crafted to help you navigate these conversations with grace and assertiveness.

“Thank you, but I prefer being called by my name.”

This response is perfect for professional settings or when interacting with someone you’re not very close to. It’s polite yet firm, clearly setting boundaries without escalating the situation. It’s ideal for when you want to maintain a level of professionalism or simply prefer a more formal mode of address.

“Oh, are we at that level of familiarity now?”

Use this when you’re caught off guard by someone’s casual use of “honey” and want to lightly challenge the presumption of closeness. It injects humor into the situation, diffusing any potential awkwardness while subtly hinting that you’re not entirely comfortable with such terms of endearment.

“I’m curious, what made you decide to call me ‘honey’?”

This is a great way to turn the situation into a conversation about boundaries and expectations. It’s particularly useful in new relationships or interactions, offering a chance to express your preferences in a non-confrontational manner.

“That’s an interesting choice of word. Any particular reason?”

Similar to the previous suggestion, this response is slightly more neutral and can be used when you’re genuinely curious about the other person’s intentions. It’s a gentle probe that invites explanation without directly expressing discomfort.

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“Haha, that’s my grandma’s favorite word for me!”

Opt for this response when you want to acknowledge the term affectionately but also subtly hint that it’s somewhat outdated or overly familiar for your liking. It’s light-hearted and keeps the mood friendly.

“Only my friends get to call me that. Are we there yet?”

This response is perfect for a playful yet clear boundary setting. It’s ideal for situations where you’re open to building a more personal relationship but want to remind the other person that certain levels of familiarity are earned over time.

“I appreciate the warmth, but I feel more comfortable with less familiar terms.”

Use this when you want to acknowledge the other person’s friendly intent but prefer to maintain a certain distance. It’s respectful and leaves room for the other person to adjust their approach without feeling rebuffed.

“Hmm, ‘honey’? That’s a new one for me. How about we stick to ‘friend’ for now?”

This is a good choice for casual interactions where you’re okay with friendly terms but ‘honey’ feels too personal. It offers an alternative that’s still warm and inclusive.

“My name has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?”

A light-hearted way to remind someone of your preference for being called by your name without coming across as too serious or offended. It’s casual and can easily steer the conversation back on track.

“Does everyone get to be ‘honey’, or am I special?”

Another playful response that can help gauge the other person’s intent. It’s flirty if the context allows for it, or simply humorous in more platonic situations.

“Interesting, I usually reserve that for people very close to me.”

This indicates that you have personal boundaries regarding terms of endearment. It’s a polite way to signal that such terms might be premature or unwelcome at this stage of your relationship.

“Honey? That’s sweet, but I’m more of a ‘dear’ person myself.”

Opt for this when you’re not opposed to affectionate nicknames in general but prefer a different term. It’s a gentle nudge towards your personal preferences.

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“Oh, I didn’t realize we were in a diner in the 1950s!”

Use this response to inject humor into the conversation, especially if “honey” feels anachronistic or out of place. It’s a playful way to address the term without making the situation awkward.

“Thank you, but let’s keep it professional, shall we?”

Ideal for workplace interactions where “honey” might not be appropriate. This response is straightforward and sets clear expectations about professional boundaries.

“That’s kind, but I think names are more meaningful, don’t you?”

A thoughtful way to express preference for being called by your name, suggesting that personal names carry more significance. It’s respectful and fosters a sense of individuality.

“Well, that’s a first! Most people stick to my name.”

This response is great for expressing surprise without directly criticizing the other person’s choice of words. It’s a soft reminder of your preference for being called by your name.

“Honey? I must say, you’re quite the charmer!”

Choose this when you want to acknowledge the term with amusement and without taking offense. It’s suitable for lighter, flirtatious contexts where the term is clearly meant as a compliment.

“Let’s save the sweet talk for later, shall we?”

Perfect for deflecting the term with humor and a hint of flirtation, assuming the context allows for it. It keeps the conversation light while indicating that “honey” might be too forward or premature.

“I’m all for endearments, but maybe we can build up to that, yeah?”

This is a friendly, open response that acknowledges the other person’s friendly gesture while suggesting a slower pace for developing personal closeness.

“Honey? How quaint! But seriously, my name works just fine.”

A slightly sarcastic yet friendly way to address the use of “honey,” suggesting a preference for more straightforward forms of address without completely dismissing the other person’s approach.


Navigating conversations where terms of endearment pop up unexpectedly can be tricky, but with the right response, you can maintain your comfort and boundaries while keeping the interaction positive and respectful. Whether you choose to address it with humor, directness, or a blend of both, the key is to communicate your preferences in a way that respects both your own boundaries and the intentions of the person you’re speaking with.