Q: My boyfriend often refers to me as “she” or “her” when I’m standing right next to him. He has said for example, “She was planning the trip,” or “She and I went there.” Although I can’t seem to explain why, it seems rude to me. I feel that he should use my name when he refers to me. Am I being oversensitive or is this impolite?
A: It bothers you because it is rude. It sounds impersonal, for starters, and is distinctly unclear to others, as well. The general response is “She who?” when someone talks of another in the third person pronoun form when that person is standing right there. Your boyfriend needs to listen with his inner ear to hear how this sounds to others and perhaps he will change his ways.