by Ean Kramer
As with most things, language is evolving. Slang terms often times appear out of nowhere. One second, someone is ending every sentence with “YOLO” or claiming (quite falsely) that they have exorbitant “swag.” In fact, slang seems to encompass every part of the English language. There are slang words to end a sentence, modify a noun, express actions, reactions, or even all of the above. So it’s no surprise that slang words may even start to blur the lines of esteemed greetings.
That’s not altogether a bad thing. Greetings serve to acquaint two people in a small amount of time and/or show friendship. If a slang word accomplishes those goals, then it’s a word well said. Certain greetings though, should not even be uttered out of the mouth of an innocent child, and, as much as I’m afraid to admit it for fear of a thousand moms chastising me, I would cuss out a child should it greet me in such a way. Not because I hate the child, but because their parents/siblings deserve to be flabbergasted at the most inopportune moments by the random bad words of an innocent lad/lass.
Bud, buddy, and son are three different words commonly heard in greetings. And it is not uncommon to encounter a “friend” in the hall – or classroom – that uses this degrading slang.
“Did you finish the project yet, buddy?”
“Great story, son.”
Some people might not mind this, they might just think it is another innocent pronoun. It is not. No matter how it is used the word just sounds belittling. Like the person saying it believes they are on a higher level than the person they bestow the word upon. Part of the reason why bud, buddy, and son carry a negative connotation, is because of their affiliation with children. If people were great friends in elementary school, one could say they were “best buds.” If a father is talking to his son, he can justly use the word to say “son, come over here”. The words are often not used to talk about a mature party in the present tense. Therefore, calling someone “bud” is akin to calling them an “immature six year old who cries to his mommy when he doesn’t get his way.”
If you happen to be of sound mind and body yet have somehow gotten caught up in this vortex of negativeness, it’s not too late. Acceptable alternatives include but are not limited to: bro, bruh, dude, duuuuuuuude, man, hombre, brother, or brotha. When in doubt of the social situation, just call the person by name. Lastly, to get someone’s attention if you don’t know their name, do not point out something obnoxiously obvious about them. Saying, “hey, person with the huge muscles, can you pass me a pencil?” Is a big no-no. After posing this question, the dude with the big muscles clearly knows that you do not know his name despite having spent four months in a classroom with him. So just stick to an acceptable alternative.