Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bates Interpret 'Bless Their Heart'


UP just started a new series of videos called "Bates Family Southern Speak." In the clip below, the Bates discuss the phrase "bless your heart" and whether it is a positive statement or a negative statement. Do you agree with the Bates 'interpretations?


Photo/video courtesy of UP

24 comments:

  1. You have to be careful with that one because it is often used in a patronizing or passive-aggressive way.

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  2. I am from the North, but through marriage became a "Southener". Took me a few years to realize when someone says "bless their/your heart" it's ALWAYS derogatory. Southern women's way of "being sweet" while actually being cutting.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean@ 10:00. I'm from the North too, but through marriage and military assignments am a Southern transplant It's a Southern Christian woman's way of giving "the bird", but they let themselves off the hook as you said by "being sweet". When I moved South I was always accused of being to blunt, and actually called a Yankee on more than one occasion. Thought that ended with Gone With the Wind! Anyway, Southern women are just as cutting they are just much sneakier about it.

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  3. I always thought that it was a sarcastic/condescending thing to say. I'm a Northerner, by the way.

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  4. I'm not sure. I suppose if someone said something mean you can just smile sweetly and say "Bless your heart" to keep yourself from responding back in a mean way. I'm wondering what the other readers think.

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  5. Proud Southern BelleJanuary 15, 2017 at 9:18 PM

    Born and raised in the South and proud of it. Bless your heart if you cannot understand the empathy of my knowing you weren't taught the same manners and graces. It's not a judgement or condescending.

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    1. Well now Proud Southern Belle...that certainly was a prideful, judgmental and condescending statement. Bless Your Heart...

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    2. My eyes got stuck rolling.

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  6. I take it as talking down to or about someone.

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  7. I've lived in the south all my life, and it's not always meant in a condescending/sarcastic way. It's true that it is at times, and all the "books" say it's condescending but I hear it used as a sympathetic phrase far more often than in a sarcastic way. I think "bless your pea head" is used more like previous commenters have said, having a more condescending taste. I would love to know whether the Bates use other phrases such as "knee high to a bullfrog" "mess" "it doesn't amount to a hill of beans" "If I had my druthers" "fine as a frog's hair split four ways" etc.

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    1. I live in the north but I agree.

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    2. I've definitely heard it used as a compassionate, sympathetic expression as well. I don't think it's always sarcastic.

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  8. How sad! I just took it face value. My former colleague use to say that when I would bring her a gift. Now I guess it means she did not like it but it was the thought that counted.

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  9. I am from the North too, but moved South due to job obligations. I was always told how "sweet" and hospitable Southern women are. Not True!! They smile "sweetly", invite you to Bible study, "bless your heart" all while stabbing you in the back. They have perfected the art of deception. Just because it looks pretty doesn't mean it is pretty. So no---it's not
    sweet, polite, being raised with manners etc. It is, however, as the Bates said a Southerner's way of literally saying anything they want and letting themselves feel good about it.

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  10. I see it both ways, but my sweet grandma says it in a very kind complimenting way; such as when I do her dishes or something she'll say, "Bless your heart, I really appreciate that."

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  11. My parents were from the South and my mother would say " bless her heart" or "bless his heart" when that person was going through time. For her it met sympathy for the person.

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  12. Why are they all in a car while answering this question?

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  13. I've heard Erin use this phrase when talking about her mother.

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  14. I'm born and bred in Los Angeles, California. People love to put down us Californians -- I've recently heard us called "the armpit of America."

    But when we say "Bless your heart," it means we truly hope that God will bless that person. Turns out we're not so rotten after all, are we? Glad I'm not a Southerner if that's how people are.

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  15. I am a born and raised Southerner, and "bless your heart" is used not in a negative way.

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  16. I was thinking about the whole "Bless your heart" phrase last night and I have decided that it really is a nice phrase if when you day it, you mean it.
    I remember a lady saying that to me a few years ago. We had brought a meal to her because she just out of the hospital and we had little ones at home. She was extremely grateful and said "Bless your heart" and gave me a hug. She appreciated that we went out of our way to bring dinner even though we had to make dinner for our own family with our babies to care for too.I didn't think anything about the phrase.

    Now I have heard it used in a mean way too. So now after reading the replies including my own, I will only say it in a nice way. I have to disagree with those who think Southern women are not very nice. There are plenty of sweet Southern ladies. There are also mean ones. But there are mean people from all over the USA as well as well as kind ones.


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  17. It is the tone of voice.

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  18. I've always heard & said "Bless your heart" as something endearing, what a sweet person, etc. It's when you say "bless your LITTLE heart" that is condescending. Born & raised a proud Southern girl.

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