Author Topic: Addressing people in America  (Read 5384 times)

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CakeEater

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #30 on: January 15, 2012, 04:10:57 AM »
I find it's safest to just ask, "What do you prefer I call you?" There's so much variation. I know people who want to be called by their first names, by Title Lastname (or Firstname), by Mr./Miss Firstname, by Mr./Ms/Miss/Mrs. Lastname, and more. When I was little, all adults were Mr./Miss/Mrs. Lastname, but that now seems to weird a lot of people out.

I wonder if anyone, even those who would prefer others use their titles, would answer, "Yes, please call me Miss Jones." I'm genuinely curious.

Where I used o have my car serviced used to cal me Miss Lastname. I was 20 at the time, and so taken aback that I didn't say anything at the time, then once she'd done it a few times, it seemed the moment had passed to ask her to use my firstname, so I was always quite uncomfortable when I went there.

Diane AKA Traska

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #31 on: January 15, 2012, 04:59:11 AM »
I prefer people to call me by my first name, personally, and I'm on the East Coast.

Of course my surname is a tongue twister that would make John Jacob Jingleheimerschmidt proud.  On the phone I get "Mr Lastna--uh, Last-- is it okay if I call you Traska?"

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iridaceae

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #32 on: January 15, 2012, 06:19:53 AM »
When in doubt use "dude" and "hey, you". 

Well, maybe not.  In reality it varies widely in the US; I'm from the Midwest and while I'm not as bad as a Southerner, I do say thing like "excuse me, ma'am? I think you dropped your sock" at the laundromat. 


aka

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #33 on: January 15, 2012, 09:35:11 AM »
I am retired and it annoys me to hear a young person in a doctor's office call out, "Delphinium."  I would prefer her to use Mrs. Lastname.

I always assumed that this had something to do with protecting a patient's privacy.  I personally would prefer that they only call out my first name. 

MERUNCC13

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #34 on: January 15, 2012, 09:58:14 PM »
Hi!  I'm glad that you will be visiting our country - please enjoy your stay.

In the Southeastern part of the US, we do tend to be somewhat more formal.  I will address someone with Mr./Mrs. or Dr. (mostly my university professors unless they tell me different) until they tell me that I can use their first name.  I guess  that I was just taught that using a title denotes respect for the person.  Hope this helps! :)
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WillyNilly

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #35 on: January 18, 2012, 12:25:19 AM »
I'm in NYC. In my experience formality of tiles/names is in direct comparison to formality of industry/workplace. When I was a waitress we called co-workers, and the two managers who worked the floor with us by first name, but people up from there - regional manager, anyone from the main office, etc by last name with a title. When I worked as an event coordinator we called other by first name but customers by last with title, and vendors by full name no title. When I worked in corporate, co workers were first name, even upper management within your dept, but unless you work with them directly the EVPs and CEO were full name no title in reference and last name title in person (I was low level but had regular interaction with the CEO - I actualy called him "sir" in person). I now work in a small medical office and everyone is first name except the doctor, who is either called Dr Lastname or just Doctor.

I dislike the first name from the get-go culture we seem to be drifting towards. I like using titles and tend to use them until invited not to.

Shea

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #36 on: February 03, 2012, 10:24:36 AM »
I worked in Portland for 6 months and I found it to be extremely casual.  I worked with the government and no-one ever used last names.  The dress was also a lot more casual (both at work and socially) than I'm used to.  I wore the same work clothes I wear here and was easily the most formally dressed every day.  Even at the nicest restaurants there were a lot of people in jeans.

Oregon is soooooo beautiful, the people are amazing, and the food and beer are fabulous.  I'm completely envious.

You Aussies are warming my Oregonian heart! ;D We're pretty laid back, and I'd say that unless you're in a formal situation, it's okay to call people by their first names. I'm an Oregon native, and calling just about everyone by their first names is the norm. Even in school, we had many teachers who requested that students use their first names, rather than Mr. or Ms. Lastname.

I'm dying to know where in Oregon you'll be visiting!


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WhiteTigerCub

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #37 on: February 03, 2012, 12:20:19 PM »
Just use Mr/Mrs/Ms.  It solves a lot of issues about "Is it okay?" because those terms are always okay.  Generally speaking, the person will then say, "Oh, call me Lola" or whatever.  But start off more formally.
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Sophia

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #38 on: February 15, 2012, 11:27:49 PM »
At a former job, HR passed out a hard copy of the phone extension list.  I couldn't find anyone, so I requested the soft copy of the list so I could print it out sorted by first names.  A few people saw it and within a week I think everyone had a copy of my version.  We often didn't even know each other's last names.  Even when there was duplicates of names.  Instead of last names, it was "John Shipping" or "John QC", as if that was their full name.  You could see how last names developed though.  Even the BigCheese of the fortune-500 company was "Barry". 

lollylegs

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #39 on: February 16, 2012, 10:01:52 PM »
Thanks for all your answers. I was inclined to use Mr/Mrs and wait to be invited to use first names, it's just that it's so foreign in Australia that I'm going to feel a little ridiculous.  It would kind of like meeting your friends new boyfriend and calling him sir.

I worked in Portland for 6 months and I found it to be extremely casual.  I worked with the government and no-one ever used last names.  The dress was also a lot more casual (both at work and socially) than I'm used to.  I wore the same work clothes I wear here and was easily the most formally dressed every day.  Even at the nicest restaurants there were a lot of people in jeans.

Oregon is soooooo beautiful, the people are amazing, and the food and beer are fabulous.  I'm completely envious.

You Aussies are warming my Oregonian heart! ;D We're pretty laid back, and I'd say that unless you're in a formal situation, it's okay to call people by their first names. I'm an Oregon native, and calling just about everyone by their first names is the norm. Even in school, we had many teachers who requested that students use their first names, rather than Mr. or Ms. Lastname.

I'm dying to know where in Oregon you'll be visiting!

My fiance's aunt is in Grants Pass but we'll be travelling all over.  Fiance's aunt is keen to show off the state plus we've got a few contacts to meet.

Shea

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Re: Addressing people in America
« Reply #40 on: February 16, 2012, 10:17:46 PM »
Thanks for all your answers. I was inclined to use Mr/Mrs and wait to be invited to use first names, it's just that it's so foreign in Australia that I'm going to feel a little ridiculous.  It would kind of like meeting your friends new boyfriend and calling him sir.

I worked in Portland for 6 months and I found it to be extremely casual.  I worked with the government and no-one ever used last names.  The dress was also a lot more casual (both at work and socially) than I'm used to.  I wore the same work clothes I wear here and was easily the most formally dressed every day.  Even at the nicest restaurants there were a lot of people in jeans.

Oregon is soooooo beautiful, the people are amazing, and the food and beer are fabulous.  I'm completely envious.

You Aussies are warming my Oregonian heart! ;D We're pretty laid back, and I'd say that unless you're in a formal situation, it's okay to call people by their first names. I'm an Oregon native, and calling just about everyone by their first names is the norm. Even in school, we had many teachers who requested that students use their first names, rather than Mr. or Ms. Lastname.

I'm dying to know where in Oregon you'll be visiting!

My fiance's aunt is in Grants Pass but we'll be travelling all over.  Fiance's aunt is keen to show off the state plus we've got a few contacts to meet.

That's about an hour's drive away from the town where I grew up! I highly recommend visiting Ashland if you've got the time. It's a beautiful little town. PM me if you'd like any suggestions of places to eat or things to do!


If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, librarians are a global threat.