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Calling adult sisters 'the girls'

(155 Posts)
Beswitched Fri 01-Oct-21 11:03:22

I have a friend who is single and so is her sister. She was telling me yesterday how they both absolutely HATE being referred to as 'the girls' by family members. They are both in their early sixties, have held down responsible jobs, bought their own houses, one lived abroad for several years, and they feel a bit insulted at being referred to as if they're two young siblings living at home.

I do sympathise. My neighbour has two sibling nieces who are single and in their late 40s. She too refers to them as 'the girls' 'and I've seen a rather irritated but resigned look being exchanged between them a couple of times when she's done this.

People seem to do this far less where one or both sisters are married. AIBU to think it's a bit demeaning to refer to middle aged women like this?

Their elderly parents I would forgive as we all remain children in our parents eyes I suppose smile.
But can other relatives not just refer to them as Helen and Grace or whatever?

Zoejory Fri 01-Oct-21 11:08:31

Not quite the same but my mother would meet up with her 3 school friends for lunch, every month. That was her day with the girls.

The youngest was 87, eldest 89. And they were called "the girls' by the restaurant staff and they loved it.

Elspeth45 Fri 01-Oct-21 11:09:41

That's ok. My twin brother and I are still referred to as The Twins - we are in our 70s!

Beswitched Fri 01-Oct-21 11:10:10

For some reason, and probably totally illogicalky, I think a 'girls night out' doesn't have the same connotations.

Mollygo Fri 01-Oct-21 11:15:02

It’s a bit like the abbreviations on GN like DH instead of Dear Husband.
They probably think it’s quicker and easier to say ‘the girls’ than Helen and Grace, without realising how irritating it is.
I’m a bit guilty of something similar. When my DD rings to say she’d like to come over, I ask, “ are you bringing the children?“ instead of, “Are you bringing x, y and z?”

Beswitched Fri 01-Oct-21 11:21:01

I know what you mean about brevity, but if Helen is calling over with her married sister my neighbour says 'Helen and Alison will be over later'.

VioletSky Fri 01-Oct-21 11:24:39

Is it because it is not treating them like adults or more "we have names you know!"

I also would forgive parents, but I'm a bit invested as I have 5 children and there is not always time to run through all their names!

My 2 younger cats are still "the kittens" even though they are definitely not any more lol

Beswitched Fri 01-Oct-21 11:28:56

I think a bit of both Violet.

Nannylovesshopping Fri 01-Oct-21 11:29:12

My two sons, 48 and 47 are referred to as the boys in our family, they don’t mind in the slightest ?

Kali2 Fri 01-Oct-21 11:31:01

Same for my two.

VioletSky Fri 01-Oct-21 11:31:38

My comment makes it sound a bit like I don't agree with them.. Here they obviously do mind and an effort does need to be made to change it.

Habits like that are hard to break though

Nannarose Fri 01-Oct-21 11:39:54

It's personal. I grew up around women who called each other 'gel' (hard g) and would refer to meeting up as 'seeing the gels', or 'the gels are calling round'.
It is other people who tell me that the use of the term 'girl' is demeaning. I certainly don't regard it as professional and wouldn't use it in the workplace or similar formal places.
But within families and groups of friends, my experience is that it is warm and sociable - and not belittling in the slightest. If anything, the gels I grew up around were formidable.
I suspect that the women who dislike it are aware of being belittled in other ways. My youngest child was referred to by a diminutive that his older siblings used. Aged about 8, he asked for it to stop - he didn't really mind it, but it reminded him that he was the youngest! We followed his request.

Daisend1 Fri 01-Oct-21 11:47:47

I could think of worse?{grin}

Beswitched Fri 01-Oct-21 12:04:09

Yes if I hadn't been made aware that some people dislike this, for various reasons, it probably would never have occurred to me.

As I said upthread, I think it's a bit different from a group of friends referring to themselves as 'the girls'.

My friend says it makes her feel as if people think they've never fully grown up because they're not married with kids. She could be projecting of course, but I take her point.

Nannarose Fri 01-Oct-21 12:13:38

That's the reason I suppose - the 'family message' is that you are not 'grown up' until you marry / have children.
I think though, that if you are going to ask the extended family to stop saying 'the girls' you have to ask the parents - from whom the others are probably taking their cue.

Interesting, prompted me to think about how I refer to people.

nanna8 Fri 01-Oct-21 12:29:30

Ooh I’d be delighted and flattered personally. Those were the days ….

LauraNorder Fri 01-Oct-21 12:37:56

We have four sons, always referred to collectively as the boys.
All have family of their own and when we refer to them individually it is by name.
Can’t see a problem myself.

M0nica Fri 01-Oct-21 12:40:53

My parents always referred to their three daughters as 'the girls' when referring to all of us. We trained them up to it when we were in our early teens because we hated being referred to as 'the children'.

It never bothered us. A friend with sons, always talks about her boys, even though they are grown up.

It doesn't bother me now. As I said where boys are concerned it is just the same.

Beswitched Fri 01-Oct-21 13:15:21


Ooh I’d be delighted and flattered personally. Those were the days ….


Granmarderby10 Fri 01-Oct-21 13:33:29

My brother has been known to refer to my 3 sisters when talking to me as The Others ! Sounds a bit ? spooky

Smileless2012 Fri 01-Oct-21 13:43:45

We call our next door neighbours 'our girls' and they sometimes call us auntie .... and uncle ...., and if they're feeling particularly cheeky GM and GDgrin.

If it bothers them that much Beswitched why don't they say or have they and their feelings are being ignored?

halfpint1 Fri 01-Oct-21 13:48:22

My son has 3 sisters and yes he calls them 'the sisters' has done so ce he was small

Shelflife Fri 01-Oct-21 16:16:07

My to daughters will always be ' the girls' to me !

AGAA4 Fri 01-Oct-21 16:22:42

My sons and grandsons are my 'boys' and daughters and granddaughters are my 'girls'.

They all refer to each other by name.

Visgir1 Fri 01-Oct-21 16:30:38

Can't see the problem, my first thought was that's a bit childish?