I heard many International people in China use 老外 to call themselves (自称老外), and them seems fine with this word. But I also know some people, especially newly Chinese learners(初学者) who think that it is a pejorative and is a bit derogatory.
The word origins around the Opium War, when people call people with blue eyes and fair hair color 老外， for Chinese are extremely exclusive（排外的）at that time.
However, I think nowadays Chinese use it as a nickname for people out of China without any derogatory at all. It is more like a really friendly word.
Do you feel offensive when you are called 老外? Do I need to delete the word from my vocabulary?
(Please correct my mistakes in this essay if you have time. Thank you!)
I feel uncomfortable calling them 'laowai'. Don't know why...
It's just short for "外国人".
I don`t really care. I`ve worked with Spanish, American, and Japanese people - none of those could actually spell my name, but does it make the difference? :) It`s all about what people think, not about how it does or can sound. That is why I wonder - what is the reason for you guys to take foreign names instead of using your own?
@Ogla Nooooo. We call any foreign friends 老外 even if he/she is 10 years old. We may call him/she 小老外！ lol
@Harry 死鬼 is also a sweet phrase!