An etiquette lesson on using the term mate in Australia and the meaning of each expression.

In Australia, the term mate is used a lot. There is a code of ethics in using it correctly, however. These are some guidelines to assist you:

  1.  Men use mate, women NEVER do
  2. Men should NEVER EVER say mate to a woman, or you are likely to get slapped down or hated forever after.
  3. Men can shake hands with an old friend and say, “How are you going mate, long time no see” or whatever. “How are you mate”? All good and totally accepted and expected.
  4. They can use mate if pulled over by the police; “mate I wasn’t over the limit” really.
  5. “No worries mate” is a very common usage for lots of situations. Generally if someone apologizes for something and you are not peeved about it, you say this.
  6. Using ‘mate’ is highly convenient for men if they forget a man’s name.
  7. If they forget a woman’s name and are by themselves, they are screwed.
  8. If I am there, I will bail Gordon out by jumping in, with “Hi, I’m Paula, sorry I didn’t get your name”, then, I promptly forget it anyhow.
  9. For women who forget someone’s name, it will depend on your age on how you handle it.
  10. I get away with saying sweetheart or honey, to younger people.
  11. For older people, I just crap on with so much that they forget that I have forgotten their name if by myself.
  12. Gordon is also trained to recognize the signs of me having forgotten and jumps in. If it is a man, he will say, “Hi mate, I’m Gordon. If it is a woman, he says, “Hi, I’m Gordon”. Either way, hopefully, they volunteer their name for both of our sakes
  13. Mate is really common at any sporting events from commentator to spectators while avoiding number 2 and not calling a sheila, mate!


BTW, we don’t use Sheila so ignore any soaps you may have seen.

Hope this helps you all out when you are in Australia or talking to an Australian. Remember if you want to come and work here or visit us for a long time, you will ready need to learn how to us the term …. and don’t forget knowing how to swear also helps .


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