14 Things You Should Never Say to a Southerner

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When you find yourself south of the Mason-Dixon line, you’ll notice quite a few differences. People take their time, talk to strangers more, and the food? Let’s just say you won’t leave hungry. 

Southerners are well known for their warmth and hospitality, but there are a couple of rules to follow. First of all, saying “please” and “thank you” goes a long way. Don’t forget your “sir” and “ma’am,” and never say these 14 things when talking with Southerners.

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1.’Bless Your Heart’

Granted, this might sound sweet as peach pie to the untrained ear, but this Southern staple carries more punch than a mint julep at a Derby party. Southerners use it for both sympathy and sass, making it a phrase that can be quite tricky to understand. Outsiders might think they’re offering comfort or being charming when they say it, but without the right inflection and context, it can come off as insincere or even insulting.

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2. ‘Why Do You Say Y’All? It’s You All’

Well, thank you all for the grammar lecture, but when you are in the South, it’s “y’all,” and y’all better get used to it. It’s time-tested and sounds friendly. Beyond the contraction, “y’all” is a badge of Southern identity — smooth on the tongue and warm in spirit. Also, don’t make fun of the accent — it’s tacky. 

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3. ‘Isn’t All Southern Food Just Fried?’

Anything from “Why do you fry green tomatoes” to “I bet you cannot name three vegetables that aren’t fried” might provoke a slow-motion eye roll from any self-respecting Southerner. Yes, the South enjoys its fair share of golden, crispy delights, but have you heard about jambalaya, shrimp and grits, chicken and dumplings, and countless other delicious Southern classics that aren’t dropped into the fryer?

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4. ‘I Don’t Do Sweet Tea’

Saying this will definitely earn you a “Bless Your Heart.” Sweet tea dates back to the 19th century and was considered a luxury beverage. Dolly Parton called it “the house wine of the South.” So when a Southerner offers you one, it’s often associated with hospitality and warmth, something you’ll find at nearly every social gathering. 

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5. ‘Dolly Parton Is Overrated’

Yes, sure, and sunshine and oxygen are nothing special. In these parts, Dolly is practically the patron saint of good vibes and big hair. Overrated? More like over here saving the world one rhinestone at a time. Dolly is the fairy godmother of the Smokies, spreading love, literacy, and a whole lot of sparkle wherever she goes. So, watch it!

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6. ‘Grits Are Just Bland Oatmeal’

Sure, and the Magnolia is a simple weed. Grits are a staple down here, much loved for their versatility. Amp them up with butter, cheese, or shrimp, and then check if they’re as plain as bland oatmeal.

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7. ‘Aren’t You a Little Too Obsessed With College Football?’

College football in the South is far more than a sport — it’s a season, a religion, and a community event all rolled into one. It’s a way of life that unites friends, families, and entire towns. 

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8. ‘I Guess You Learned History From ‘Gone With the Wind’?’

First of all, “Gone with the Wind” is about as accurate for historical facts as “Frankenstein” is for a biology lesson. Second of all, to reduce someone’s understanding of their heritage to a Hollywood film is to overlook the rich history and real-life experiences that define the South.

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9. ‘Do You Guys Do Anything Besides Church on Sundays?’

While church does play a central role in many Southern communities, Sundays are much more than just service. They’re about lingering brunches, afternoon barbecues, watching football games, and enjoying the company of family and friends.

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10. ‘That’s Not A Salad’

In the South, the term “salad” is used with somewhat wild abandon. While some might only see a salad as leafy greens dressed up in various ways, Southerners go beyond the bed of lettuce. If it’s got fruit cocktail, gelatin, or marshmallows stirred together, it counts.

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11. ‘Why Do You Need a Gun?’

For many Southerners, owning a gun has to do with cultural practices like hunting and self-defense. Guns are also a part of heritage and family legacy, often passed down through generations.

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12. ‘Hunting/Fishing Is Unethical’

 Hunting and fishing are more than just pastimes in the South. They’re a way of life that connects them to their environment and their heritage. These activities are often seen as ethical and sustainable ways to manage wildlife populations and provide food.

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13. ‘Do You Have To Wear a Trucker Hat?’

Now, do you have to wear a baseball hat? Let’s just agree that commenting on people’s personal style choices is not only rude but also pretty pointless.

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14. ‘Do You All Just Marry Your Cousins?’

Again, that’s only in “Gone with the Wind,” not modern Southern life. Southerners find the idea of marrying your close relatives just as repulsive as anyone else. The myth persists, but it’s far from reality. 

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.

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