17 Things You Should Never Say To Someone From The South

17 Things You Should Never Say To Someone From The South

If you think the South is all about slow-talking and sweet tea, you’re in for a surprise. Sure, we love a good porch swing and a tall glass of sweet iced tea, but there’s a whole lot more to us than meets the eye. Get ready for some seriously good food, a side of sass, and more stories than you can shake a stick at.

1. “Y’all sound funny.’

Look, accents are a thing, and bless your heart, trying to imitate a Southern drawl is probably not hitting the mark the way you think it is. We get it, not everyone talks the same, but maybe save the impressions for when you’re practicing alone in the mirror. And hey, if we ever try to copy your accent, be kind. We’re all just out here doing our best to communicate, right? Leave your stereotypes about the South at the door.

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2. “Do you even own shoes?”

Flip-flops and cowboy boots are the Southerner’s uniform of choice, depending on the occasion. We know shoes exist, they’re just not always necessary. Besides, feeling the grass between your toes is one of life’s simple joys. Plus, when a fancy event does call for heels or dress shoes, you better believe we’ll be rocking them… maybe with a little less grace than we think, but we’ll give it a go.

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3. “Is that all sugar? I think I got diabetes just watching you.”

Sweet tea is serious business (this recipe from The Kitchn is a particular fav). We’ll take your judgment about our beverage choices about as seriously as you take a Yankees fan at a Braves game. You stick to your unsweetened herbal concoctions, and we’ll stick to our liquid sunshine. Besides, a little sugar rush never hurt anyone… it’s the perfect fuel for front-porch story swapping.

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4. “This ain’t no picnic!”

You got that right. A proper Southern gathering, whether it’s a church potluck or a tailgate, is about the abundance of food, and that food better be good. We’re talking enough fried chicken to feed a small army, mac and cheese that’ll make you weep tears of joy, and more casseroles than you can shake a stick at. Let’s just say, leftovers are a guarantee.

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5. “I can’t understand a word you’re saying.”

Maybe slow down and listen a bit closer. A little “y’all” and a side of charm never hurt anyone. Besides, half the fun is trying to decipher those sayings your grandma uses. And if all else fails, a smile and a nod go a long way. Just remember, communication is a two-way street!

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6. “It’s too hot and humid here!”

Bless your heart, we know. But iced tea on the porch swing fixes that right up. Besides, a little sweat never hurt anyone, and it’s the perfect excuse to jump in the nearest lake or pool. And who doesn’t love the excuse for an afternoon nap in the AC?

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7. “Everything is so slow down here.”

We like to savor the little things, like a warm biscuit and good conversation. Rushing is overrated. Sometimes the best moments happen when you just sit back, relax, and let the world unfold around you. Think of it as a forced reset to appreciate the good stuff.

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8. “You actually like NASCAR?”

You betcha. Race day is practically a holiday for some folks, as The New York Times points out. It’s the perfect mix of adrenaline, tailgating, and a little friendly competition. And hey, there’s something special about the roar of those engines echoing through the stadium – gives you chills in the best way possible.

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9. “Bless your heart…”

couple walking down city streetiStock

Don’t be fooled — depending on the tone, this phrase can cut deeper than a knife. It’s the polite way of saying everything from “you’re not the brightest bulb” to “that outfit is a choice.” Remember, it’s all in the delivery, and sometimes, silence is the best answer.

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10. “Is it always football season?”

Absolutely. Roll Tide/War Eagle/Go Dawgs (insert your team of choice). Football isn’t just a sport down here, it’s a way of life. Saturdays in the fall are sacred, and the whole town knows who’s playing. Whether it’s high school, college, or the pros, you better believe we’ll be decked out in our team colors, ready to cheer.

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11. “You guys really do say ‘y’all,’ huh?”

Yep, and we’re mighty proud of it. It’s the perfect way to address a group, a single person, or even your pet if you feel like it. Think of it as the Swiss Army knife of pronouns, efficient and versatile. Plus, it just sounds friendly, doesn’t it?

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12. “How many cousins do you even have?”

Enough to fill a football stadium, that’s for sure. Family is everything down here. Get-togethers are more like small-town reunions, and everyone knows at least a little bit about everyone else’s business. And don’t even get us started on tracing our family trees – it’s like a full historical investigation.

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13. “Isn’t it, like, racist down there?”

Happy loving caucasian family with adult children standing together in nature on a sunny day. Happy senior couple posing outdoors with their daughter and son in law

No place is perfect, but judging an entire region based on stereotypes ain’t a good look. The South has a complex history, and we’re constantly working to do better. Like anywhere else, you’ll find all sorts of people – kind, prejudiced, and everything in between. The best way to find out the truth is to visit with an open mind.

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14. “I bet you’ve never even seen snow.”

Maybe not a ton of it, but when those flurries come down, prepare for full-on pandemonium. Schools shut down, grocery stores get ransacked for bread and milk, and everyone becomes an expert snow driver overnight (even when evidence suggests otherwise). It might not last long, but that snow day magic is something special.

15. “Do you have indoor plumbing?”

Seriously? We’re not living in the 1800s here. We’ve got all the modern conveniences, just with a side of hospitality and sweet tea. Think of it as the best of both worlds: high-speed internet and rocking chairs on the porch. Now, that’s livin’.

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16. “There’s nothing to do there, is there?”

Between the beaches, the mountains, the food, and the hospitality, you’ll be wishing you had more time to explore. Cities buzzing with energy, small towns where time seems to slow down, and some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the country – the South has something for everyone. So pack your bags and ditch those preconceptions, there’s an adventure waiting.

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17. “Can you fry anything?”

Bearded hipster in a plaid shirt with pointy mustache eating a chicken wing.

The better question is, can we fry this conversation and move on to something more pleasant? Sure, we love our fried food, but there’s more to Southern cuisine than meets the fryer. We’re talking about fresh seafood, slow-cooked BBQ, and biscuits so light they practically float off the plate. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

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Josh grew up in Connecticut and thought he could never be happier away from big bodies of water until he moved to Minneapolis and fell in love with it. He writes full-time, with his lifestyle content being published in the likes of Men's Health, Business Insider, and many more. When he's not writing, he likes running (but not enough to train for a marathon even though his buddy won't stop asking him).