17 Phrases to Not Say To A Person From Southern America

Talking about cultural differences can be tricky. Sometimes, even if you mean well, you might say something that offends people. Things like food, football, and gardening are big in the South, so it’s best not to say the wrong thing about them. Southerners are usually too nice to get upset. They just enjoy chatting with people, whether they’re friends or strangers who will eventually become friends.

Here is a list of 17 phrases you should never say to someone from South of America.

Where’s the lettuce? That’s not a salad.

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When it comes to salads, they are pretty open-minded. They don’t necessarily need lettuce. A salad can be any mix of cold ingredients, like a fruit cocktail, gelatin, or marshmallows. They don’t always stick to the idea that salads must have lettuce, except when it’s in a sandwich with mayo, crispy bacon, and tomato.

I have to run. I’m in a hurry.

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In the South, people like to take their time with everything. They enjoy long conversations, leisurely Sunday drives, and slow meals. They like to savor their experiences. So, if someone starts a conversation with a Southerner in a checkout line, it might take a while to finish.

I’ll never have a green thumb.

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Saying “I’ll never have a green thumb” is discouraged in the South for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Southerners are optimistic and dislike the word “never.” Secondly, Southerners believe that gardening, much like cooking, requires practice to learn and improve. Additionally, it’s best not to say this in front of the Southern gardening expert, the Grumpy Gardener, as it will likely irritate him further.

I’m going to turn in early.

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Southerners love to spend time with each other whenever they get the chance. Whether it’s at a favorite restaurant with cocktails or on the porch with sweet tea, they enjoy sharing stories, catching up, and being with loved ones. They don’t like to end the evening early when there are still things to do and people to see.

Is unsweet okay?

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In South America, unsweet tea is not acceptable. When “sweet” tea is requested, it means tea with a lot of real sugar. If “unsweet” tea is the only option, they would prefer to have lemonade instead.

Where’s your accent?

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Accents in the South are diverse. Some people from Tennessee and other Southern states don’t have strong accents. It is common for people to learn to speak without an accent to avoid being teased. It’s best not to comment on or question someone’s accent to avoid making them uncomfortable.

You must have a Confederate flag at your residence.

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Many people in the southern United States don’t agree with some of the things their state governments do. They might not like laws about issues like abortion and guns. And not all of them support the Confederate flag, which is a symbol of the South’s history, including its support for slavery.


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“Y’all” is a contraction of “you all.” It’s used to talk to a group of people instead of just one person. Some people think it’s funny to make jokes about Southerners having bad grammar. It’s not fair to stereotype people based on where they’re from.

What’s SEC?

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The SEC stands for Southeastern Conference. It’s a college athletic conference in the southeastern United States. They mainly compete in American football but also in other sports. People in the South are really into football, so if you’re chatting with them during football season, knowing a bit about the SEC and football stats can help you join in the conversation better.

I’m not hungry.

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In Southern families, food is a way to show love. Southern grandmothers especially love to feed their loved ones with recipes that have been in the family for a long time. It’s a way of showing affection, and if you refuse, she might playfully scold you.

I don’t know how to cook.

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In the South, not knowing how to cook is uncommon. There are plenty of locals who’ll gladly teach you. They might start you off with simple recipes and help you improve. They might even invite you over to learn some Southern recipes.

That’s all, just a flyover country.

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When someone dismisses the South as “flyover country,” they’re missing out big time. Dollywood in Tennessee is a major theme park; Memphis is barbecue heaven; and Kentucky is the birthplace of Bourbon. The South is packed with amazing places to explore, and you could spend a lifetime discovering it all.

You talk so slowly.

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When someone says, “You all talk so slowly,”  it can hurt feelings and make people feel like their way of speaking isn’t respected. In the Southern United States, people often speak slowly and with a certain rhythm. They might take longer to speak because they’re thinking carefully. It’s important to be patient and listen closely to what they’re saying, just like you would with any accent.

Isn’t it dangerous down there?

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Some people think the South is a dangerous place because of crime. However, crime rates are different in different places, just like anywhere else. Asking if it’s dangerous there makes the South seem unsafe. Many cities and towns in the South are actually safe and friendly for people who live there.

The civil war is over, you know

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“The Civil War Is Over, You Know.” means that the dispute was concluded. However, it can be hurtful because the effects of the Civil War are still felt, especially in the Southern United States. The South’s history is complex and ongoing. Some aspects of it continue to be discussed and debated. Instead of making statements like that, it’s more considerate to ask open-ended questions about Southern history.

You’re just a hick.

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Calling someone a “hick,” especially if they’re from the South, is rude and disrespectful. Everyone should be treated with respect, no matter where they’re from. In the South, people work hard and take pride in their communities. So using such terms is not nice and can hurt people’s feelings.

You can’t handle spicy food, can you?

5. eating bad food in restaurant roach
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Southern food has tasty flavors, some of which are spicy, but not everyone there eats spicy food all the time. Assuming someone can’t handle spicy food might stop them from trying a dish. It’s better to offer and encourage people to try new things instead of assuming what they can or can’t eat.

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