Author Topic: Being addressed by first name  (Read 23543 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5032
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Being addressed by first name
« Reply #75 on: December 20, 2012, 04:48:11 PM »
DH volunteered in an English as a Second language program a few years ago.  One of his students was a woman from France and her and DH talked about her culture.  I remember DH mentioned that in France, often people don't volunteer their first names until after they know somebody quite well and it would be considered an invasive question to ask a stranger their first name.  If I have my facts straight, I can see why the OP considers it so rude even though it is very common place in US culture.  On the same note, in that culture, it would probably feel odd to address somebody you just met by their first name, even if they insisted, because it is considered to be a fairly intimate thing.  However, when in Rome do as the Romans do.  It would be unfair for the OP to wish to be addressed in a way that makes her comfortable, yet not be willing to respect that wish for somebody else. 

As a child, I was taught to use surnames for pretty much every adult.  Some of my parents close friends I used Aunt or Uncle and first name.  They had a few friends who dropped by the house on a regular basis and they would be the only adults we called by first name.  In college, my professors introduced themselves by their title, usually Dr.  I graduated college and worked in an academic setting, however everybody in my small office went by their first name.  It felt funny at first because I was so used to being the student and using title and surnames.  At meetings with other professionals, they always introduced themselves by their first name.  It seemed once I became an adult in the working world, I entered the club on being in a first name basis with colleagues, even those much older, and with high titles such as doctorates.  I realize other working cultures may be different.

Teachers in the US are referred to Mr. or Ms. (or Miss or Mrs.) Surname while students are referred to by first name.  In an all adult working environment, is it rude for a boss or older person to refer to somebody by their first name while expecting to be addressed by a title and surname?   

As long as that other person prefers to be called by his or her first name (or doesn't care either way), no, it isn't rude.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

JeanFromBNA

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2229
Re: Being addressed by first name
« Reply #76 on: December 23, 2012, 09:10:09 PM »
DH volunteered in an English as a Second language program a few years ago.  One of his students was a woman from France and her and DH talked about her culture.  I remember DH mentioned that in France, often people don't volunteer their first names until after they know somebody quite well and it would be considered an invasive question to ask a stranger their first name.  If I have my facts straight, I can see why the OP considers it so rude even though it is very common place in US culture.  On the same note, in that culture, it would probably feel odd to address somebody you just met by their first name, even if they insisted, because it is considered to be a fairly intimate thing.  However, when in Rome do as the Romans do.  It would be unfair for the OP to wish to be addressed in a way that makes her comfortable, yet not be willing to respect that wish for somebody else. 

As a child, I was taught to use surnames for pretty much every adult.  Some of my parents close friends I used Aunt or Uncle and first name.  They had a few friends who dropped by the house on a regular basis and they would be the only adults we called by first name.  In college, my professors introduced themselves by their title, usually Dr.  I graduated college and worked in an academic setting, however everybody in my small office went by their first name.  It felt funny at first because I was so used to being the student and using title and surnames.  At meetings with other professionals, they always introduced themselves by their first name.  It seemed once I became an adult in the working world, I entered the club on being in a first name basis with colleagues, even those much older, and with high titles such as doctorates.  I realize other working cultures may be different.

Teachers in the US are referred to Mr. or Ms. (or Miss or Mrs.) Surname while students are referred to by first name.  In an all adult working environment, is it rude for a boss or older person to refer to somebody by their first name while expecting to be addressed by a title and surname?   
A former teacher from France, who was living in the US temporarily with her husband, told me that she would ask her new primary school students whether they preferred "tous or vous."

I think that more US teachers are accustomed to their students addressing them by their first names, or so I have found on this board.  I still find it awkward.

In business, I think that the environment should be either formal or informal for every person working there.  My employees are told to address people formally at first, and call them what they prefer when invited to do so.  We're almost always given the green light to refer to someone by their first name or nickname. 

onyonryngs

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 362
Re: Being addressed by first name
« Reply #77 on: December 26, 2012, 05:21:11 PM »
Coming into this one a bit late, but my mom is 68 and this wouldn't bug her at all.  These people don't sound like they're trying to be disrespectful.  I would politely correct them with, "Actually, I prefer Dr. Crocodile."  But I have to say, my doctor gets to see parts of my friends don't and I don't him calling me by my first name.

norrina

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 941
Re: Being addressed by first name
« Reply #78 on: December 27, 2012, 06:16:52 PM »
I was a paralegal in North Carolina for 6 years, and am now an attorney in South Carolina, so I have been dealing with clients in the mid-south for a while now. A lot of my correspondence is by email, and my general rule with emails is that if the client signs their email FirstName LastName I respond to Mr/Mrs/Miss LastName, but if they sign FirstName only then I respond to FirstName. If we aren't corresponding by email then I call the client Mr/Mrs/Miss LastName until they explicitly invite me to call them FirstName, or there is some other indication that that is their preference (some clients will not outright request a first name basis, but our relationship will otherwise indicate that a first name basis is appropriate). As a PP has already mentioned, first names are used between attorneys, and there are some other professionals I will also default to first name usage with; for instance, I am a volunteer guardian ad litem, and use first names with DSS caseworkers.

I don't use "Ms.", if I don't know a woman's marital status I refer to her as "Miss". This began at the direction of my previous boss, who told me that some southern women would take offense to "Miss". I was raised in Maine, and there "Ms." was common. After my boss directed me to use "Miss" rather than "Ms." I started to pay attention to what others were doing; I found that in NC and SC I was/am called "Miss LastName", but when I lived just outside of DC for 2 years (between living in NC and SC), I was called "Ms. LastName".



Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5032
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Being addressed by first name
« Reply #79 on: December 27, 2012, 06:25:21 PM »
I was a paralegal in North Carolina for 6 years, and am now an attorney in South Carolina, so I have been dealing with clients in the mid-south for a while now. A lot of my correspondence is by email, and my general rule with emails is that if the client signs their email FirstName LastName I respond to Mr/Mrs/Miss LastName, but if they sign FirstName only then I respond to FirstName. If we aren't corresponding by email then I call the client Mr/Mrs/Miss LastName until they explicitly invite me to call them FirstName, or there is some other indication that that is their preference (some clients will not outright request a first name basis, but our relationship will otherwise indicate that a first name basis is appropriate). As a PP has already mentioned, first names are used between attorneys, and there are some other professionals I will also default to first name usage with; for instance, I am a volunteer guardian ad litem, and use first names with DSS caseworkers.

I don't use "Ms.", if I don't know a woman's marital status I refer to her as "Miss". This began at the direction of my previous boss, who told me that some southern women would take offense to "Miss". I was raised in Maine, and there "Ms." was common. After my boss directed me to use "Miss" rather than "Ms." I started to pay attention to what others were doing; I found that in NC and SC I was/am called "Miss LastName", but when I lived just outside of DC for 2 years (between living in NC and SC), I was called "Ms. LastName".

I think this is the perfect way to handle it.

On another note, almost all of the offenders refer to all of the female staff (unless that female staff has rank) as Miss FirstInitialOfLastName or Miss LastName, like Miss S or Miss Smith.  The age, race, apparent marital status, or position of the female staff does not change what the offenders refer to them as.  I have been paying close attention.  The age, race, apparent marital status, or crime does not change between offenders who refer to female staff as such.  Those who do not refer to female staff by Miss LastName usually just use LastName, Officer, or Officer LastName.  I just thought this would be interesting to add.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.