Etiquette School is in session! > "I'm afraid that won't be possible."

Being addressed by first name

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crocodile:
Perhaps I am an old fogie, but I find it extremely off-putting when people in business whom I have never met before take it upon themselves to address me by my first name.  There is also the age factor that plays into this.  I am 66 years old and think that by the time people reach our age, a little respect is not too much to hope for.  I was raised in a day and time in which first names were not used until an invitation was offered, as in, "Please call me by my first name."  I find this especially annoying at a physician's office.  How is it I have to call her "Dr. Whomever," when her staff (who are in their twenties) calls me by my first name?  (I am also a "Dr. Whomever", BTW.)   I am not comfortable being on a first-name basis with my physician, nor do I appreciate it when people such as mortage lenders, bankers,  and other business people say "Well, hello, (first name), I'm glad to meet you."  I was always taught in my culture (French) that first names are for family and close friends.  I find that I really do not like being "first-named" when commencing a business relationship.  (I always show the other party respect by calling them "Mr. Smith" or "Ms. Jones," etc.) How do you handle this, please?  If anyone could give me any suggestions I would be very grateful.  Thank you.

QueenfaninCA:
Are you still living in France or are you living in the US? In the  US, the culture just happens to be less formal with names than in some European countries (German transplant to California here).

25wishes:
I know when in the doctor's waiting room, they will call you by your first name, for privacy reasons. There may be a lot of "mary's" but there is probably only one "Mrs. Feuchtwanger."

hobish:

--- Quote from: Barb3030 on August 28, 2012, 06:15:22 PM ---I know when in the doctor's waiting room, they will call you by your first name, for privacy reasons. There may be a lot of "mary's" but there is probably only one "Mrs. Feuchtwanger."

--- End quote ---

Oh my goodness, that never occured to me. That makes so much sense. I'm only in my 30's and being addressed by first name in an unfamiliar doctor's office has always bugged me out.

Ceallach:
I think it's the norm in this day and age to address people by their first name.   One of my brothers married a Frenchwoman, and many of our mutual friends are French, and it's certainly no different with them either - so I think it's generational not cultural.    What makes it extra challenging for you is that many people of your own generation also prefer to be addressed by their first name - I've lost count of the number of people who've specifically told me what to call them (even though I would probably default to first name anyway from habit) and it's always "Call me Jane" or "call me Tom".   Most Drs I go to even use first names these days!  It's getting more and more common.

You need to politely make your preference clear.  If they address you as "Mary" reply with "Actually it's Mrs Jones thank you" and then continue on with your conversation.    Occasionally there will be somebody who is offended by the correction, however if you say it politely and in a friendly tone then you're not being rude.    Unfortunately you won't be able to change people's overall habits - they're not going to know your preference until you tell them.

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