Author Topic: Being addressed by first name  (Read 25060 times)

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crocodile

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Being addressed by first name
« on: August 28, 2012, 06:10:29 PM »
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

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Re: Being addressed by first name
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2012, 06:13:20 PM »
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

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Re: Being addressed by first name
« Reply #2 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."

hobish

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Re: Being addressed by first name
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2012, 06:27:34 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."

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.
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Ceallach

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Re: Being addressed by first name
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2012, 10:10:10 PM »
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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kareng57

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Re: Being addressed by first name
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2012, 10:22:29 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."

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.


It can also be common in some hospital settings, especially when patients are coming out of anaesthesia or have been sedated.  They're simply more likely to respond to first names as opposed to surnames.

Sharnita

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Re: Being addressed by first name
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2012, 10:42:26 PM »
Additionally it is more likely to have a difficult to pronounce last name than first name.  I think it is unreasonable for the doctor to try to remember the exact pronunciation fo every last name he might come across in his day.  There are lots of patients he has to remember so he goes with the easier to remember/pronounce first name.  The patient is only remember one doctor.

TurtleDove

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Re: Being addressed by first name
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2012, 10:55:14 PM »
I think you can ask that people address you more formally, but I doubt the majority of people intend any sort of lack of respect by calling you by your first name. I'm a lawyer and I work nationwide with lawyers of various ages every day - not a single one do I address as "Mr. Smith" or "Ms. Jones," aside from perhaps in formal pleading or correspondence. I generally refer to judges as "Judge" or "Judge Peterson." I think to be offended rather than simply politely stating your preference will not serve you well.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Being addressed by first name
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2012, 11:49:18 PM »
"Please, Mrs. Jones" is no different than someone inviting you to be less formal with "Please, Kate".  Just reverse the process and you'll be fine.
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O'Dell

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Re: Being addressed by first name
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2012, 08:10:32 AM »
Like others have said, you make your preference known: "I prefer Mrs. Crocodile" or some of the other suggested wording.

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.)

And if they say "Please call me, Joan/John" do you comply?
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crocodile

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Re: Being addressed by first name
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2012, 09:20:39 AM »
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).

No, I live in a major western city in the US.

crocodile

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Re: Being addressed by first name
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2012, 09:23:34 AM »
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."

Actually, it is a mistaken assumption on the part of some health care workers that they cannot say a person's name in front of others.  My own office must be HIPAA-compliant and we do extensive training on HIPAA.  It is fine to say, "Would you please come in, Mrs. Jones?"  It is not fine to say "The results of your HIV test are here, Mrs. Jones."  As long as you are not revealing any medical information, it is fine to properly address people.  This was specifically covered by an HIPAA person; I do think that the office staffs in many offices may not understand this, however.

crocodile

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Re: Being addressed by first name
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2012, 09:25:53 AM »
Like others have said, you make your preference known: "I prefer Mrs. Crocodile" or some of the other suggested wording.

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.)

And if they say "Please call me, Joan/John" do you comply?

If they are someone I work with over time and I get to know them, yes.

Aeris

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Re: Being addressed by first name
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2012, 09:28:54 AM »
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."

Actually, it is a mistaken assumption on the part of some health care workers that they cannot say a person's name in front of others.  My own office must be HIPAA-compliant and we do extensive training on HIPAA.  It is fine to say, "Would you please come in, Mrs. Jones?"  It is not fine to say "The results of your HIV test are here, Mrs. Jones."  As long as you are not revealing any medical information, it is fine to properly address people.  This was specifically covered by an HIPAA person; I do think that the office staffs in many offices may not understand this, however.

The person you are quoting did not say medical offices might use first names for HIPAA reasons. She said they might do so for privacy reasons. They are not always the exact same.

Luci

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Re: Being addressed by first name
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2012, 09:33:21 AM »
I was raised in the more formal ways, also. I always called my friends' parents 'Mr....' and 'Mrs...' and it was always 'Uncle John' and 'Aunt Mary'. It was really a shock to me that our friends wanted our children to call them by their first names, although we taught our children to call their friends' parents by the honorific and the last name.  There was a problem when I worked in the school that the kids in our neighborhood attended, so I asked the parents to have their kids call me 'Mrs......' I did dig my heels in about our neices and nephews calling us 'Aunt' and 'Uncle'. And I wouldn't take the kids to a dentist after said, "Call me 'Dave'."

It must be a lot harder now with the more common use of 'Ms.'  We also never had and instance where the generations overlapped in ages, as in a nephew being older than the uncle, although I knew of a few.

Now I'm 68 and just go with whatever the doctors and nurses want and really TRY to not let it bug me. It's a lost battle before it begins.