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  • Writer's pictureDawn Wallis

Bless Your Heart - Sassy Southernisms

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

I've met quite a few people that have relocated to the South from other parts of the United States, as well as, other countries. I can't help but wonder what they think about our Southern slang. So, every Monday, I will be tackling sassy Southernisms and doing my best to provide some insight and clarity. This first one is my all-time favorite.

"Bless Your Heart." Perhaps, you've been the recipient of this expression and wondered if you've just been consoled or cursed. Well, allow me to help you decipher the meaning of this sugary Southernism.

Sometimes, "Bless your heart" can be as genuine as, "Oh, honey, I'm sorry that such and such happened to you." Of course, other times, it means, "Aw, poor thing, you're dumb as a brick."

But how can you tell the difference? This can be tricky, especially for people from other cultures. However, one way that I have found is looking for the tell. You may be wondering, "What's the tell?" The tell is paying close attention to the facial expressions of the person blessing your heart. Does her face appear genuine, caring, or compassionate? If so, that's a Southerner letting you know that she is empathizing with you, which is a good thing.

However, if the person's face has a smirk, a sly expression, or she appears to be stifling a laugh, then you know you've been blessed as stupid, and the person giving the blessing didn't want to come right out and hurt your feelings.

So, "Bless your heart" can be both a compliment and a slight, but never at the same time.

I hope I have been able to provide some clarity to any confusion surrounding this sweet Southern saying. I'd love to hear your comments, questions, or thoughts about "Bless your heart." Feel free to shoot me an email, and better yet, sign up for my Hopeful Heart newsletter to join me on my journey to having my Southern books published.

Bless Your Heart

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