Christian Heilmann


Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 at 11:48 pm

Back in November my colleague Robert Nyman wrote about a word that annoys him. I like that. I think our day to day online conversations are full of little misunderstandings and knowing what ticks someone off or brings up weird connotations is a good thing. So I thought I should quickly write this bit here.


There is a pretty bullet-proof way to make me feel uncomfortable and not react to requests that you have and that is by calling me “Bro”. There are two people on this planet that can call me “Bro” and that is my sister and my brother and both call me “Christian”.

I don’t like “Bro”. I understand that for some this is a very normal way to talk to each other but I don’t get it.

First of all, it assumes a relationship that we just don’t have. I have quite a lot of friends and I have some very good friends (you know the ones that helped you when you were sick or show up without any questions when there are things to be done like moving flat). Friendship is something that grows, that gets earned. A bond that would warrant calling someone else a brother (or sister for that matter) that is not related to some religious lingo is something that so does not happen by using the same social media channel or commenting on the same pull request thread. Someone calling me “Bro” out of the blue makes me twitch and reminds me of the fake friendliness the bazaar salesperson shows when asking you to “want to look at my carpets, friend?”.

Secondly when I hear “Bro”, I have in my head the caricature of a beercan-on-forehead-crushing frat boy jock who is boisterously shouting about how awesome all his bros are and that they come “before hos”. I never went through university and the mere concept of fraternities and sororities is beyond me. It seems so fake and artificial and with its initiation and hazing rituals flat out creepy. Where I grew up we used to have (and still have) student organisations that have sword-fighting as the initiation rites and you might have seen old German men of power with scars in their faces. That is where that came from. All of these smack of nationalism and old-school class systems, all of which things I don’t get and that make me feel uncomfortable.

So in short, every time someone calls me “Bro”, I lose a bit of respect – subconsciously. Maybe that is something I should work on. But seriously, I think the whole “Bro” culture is outdated and seeing the effects of it in mainstream media scandals and “Brogrammer culture” is something we shouldn’t support but actually move away from. So, sorry, but #nobro from me.

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