Author Topic: At the doctor's: "Hello, I'm Bob."  (Read 3994 times)

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TootsNYC

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At the doctor's: "Hello, I'm Bob."
« on: January 29, 2013, 10:11:36 PM »
I went to a new doctor today, and when he came in to say hello (after his nurse practitioner had met with me), he put out his hand to shake mine and said, "Hello, Toots, I'm Bob."

And proceeded with the exam, etc.

it got me thinking that according to older etiquette, it's not polite to use a title when speaking of oneself. And in fact, if someone said, 'hello, I'm Mr. Johnson" when I went to an interview, I'd find it offputting.

Teachers and doctors seem to be an exception for this.  Mostly because their authority is such a permanent thing in their spheres.

But not this doctor! It was interesting.

But I don't think I'm going to address him as "Bob" when I go back for a follow-up.

Dindrane

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Re: At the doctor's: "Hello, I'm Bob."
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2013, 10:25:29 PM »
That's an interesting point, but I kind of wonder how usual it was (when older etiquette was in practice) to introduce oneself. At least in social situations, it seems as though people were introduced by common acquaintances a lot more often. I mean, historically, you couldn't even be officially acquainted with a person until you had been officially introduced.

But if a person was introducing himself in a formal situation, I'd expect him to say, "Hello, Ms. NYC, I'm Bob Jones." At which point you'd call him Dr. Jones.

I think that would apply in any work context. I find that it mostly holds true for my interactions with job applicants (since I have a lot of those). If I use a title for someone and refer to myself using my full name, they usually respond by calling me "Ms. Lastname." If I call them by their first name and use only my first name for myself, they usually call me "Dindrane." So if an interviewer called me Ms. Lastname and identified himself as Joe Johnson, I'd probably call him Mr. Johnson if I needed to use his name at any point.


TootsNYC

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Re: At the doctor's: "Hello, I'm Bob."
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2013, 10:39:45 PM »
Yeah, I thought it was interesting that he used only his first name and not his full name.

I wonder what his staff calls him--I bet he asks them to call him Bob. he's not jovial, but he was warm all the while being a tiny bit reserved.

Actually, I think that the heads of household COULD introduce themselves--after all, Mr. Bennett calls on Mr. Bingley to begin that acquaintance.

Onyx_TKD

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Re: At the doctor's: "Hello, I'm Bob."
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2013, 11:32:33 PM »
I went to a new doctor today, and when he came in to say hello (after his nurse practitioner had met with me), he put out his hand to shake mine and said, "Hello, Toots, I'm Bob."

And proceeded with the exam, etc.

it got me thinking that according to older etiquette, it's not polite to use a title when speaking of oneself. And in fact, if someone said, 'hello, I'm Mr. Johnson" when I went to an interview, I'd find it offputting.

Teachers and doctors seem to be an exception for this.  Mostly because their authority is such a permanent thing in their spheres.

But not this doctor! It was interesting.

But I don't think I'm going to address him as "Bob" when I go back for a follow-up.

Have you encountered the "My name is Mr. Lastname" form of that? It drives me up the wall.* It's not only incorrect etiquette, it's factually wrong. (g)You may be "Mr./Dr./Professor Lastname," and you may be called "Mr./Dr./Professor Lastname," but unless your parents made some really unusual naming choices, "Mr./Dr./Professor" is your title, not part of your name.

*For some reason it seems like a lot of TV/movie teachers feel the need to introduce themselves with "My name is Mr./Ms. Lastname" while writing their title and name on the blackboard. The setting there might justify introducing themselves with a title, but what's wrong with "I am Mr./Ms. Lastname"?
[/language tangent]

You mentioned teachers and doctors being exceptions to not introducing themselves using a title. I think that comes from the asymmetry of address that often occurs with them. Under most circumstances, adults will address one another using the same level of formality. As a PP said, if "Bob Jones" addresses you as "Ms. Smith," then he probably expects you to call him "Mr. Jones." If "Bob Jones" addresses you as "Jane," he probably expects you to call him "Bob." OTOH, teachers (in the USA, at least) generally call their students by first name while students are expected to use their titles. The same frequently applies to patients and doctors. A teacher introducing himself by title and surname is telling his students what form of address he expects, since it doesn't mirror the form he uses for them. I think that's also part of the reason using one's own title is impolite in normal contexts--it can imply that one either expects to be addressed more formally than everyone else or that they think others don't know how to address someone properly.

oceanus

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Re: At the doctor's: "Hello, I'm Bob."
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2013, 11:47:44 PM »
I've never experiencd a doctor referring to him/herself by first name.  But nurses, x-ray techs, etc. often do.  I've had the same general practitioner for over 20 yrs and I still call him Dr. XXX.

However, often when a professional (medical, dental, legal, etc.) addresses me by "Ms. XXX" I often say "You can call me (my first name)" - if we are going to have an ongoing relationship.

lady_disdain

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Re: At the doctor's: "Hello, I'm Bob."
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2013, 05:55:13 AM »
I went to a new doctor today, and when he came in to say hello (after his nurse practitioner had met with me), he put out his hand to shake mine and said, "Hello, Toots, I'm Bob."

And proceeded with the exam, etc.

it got me thinking that according to older etiquette, it's not polite to use a title when speaking of oneself. And in fact, if someone said, 'hello, I'm Mr. Johnson" when I went to an interview, I'd find it offputting.

Teachers and doctors seem to be an exception for this.  Mostly because their authority is such a permanent thing in their spheres.

But not this doctor! It was interesting.

But I don't think I'm going to address him as "Bob" when I go back for a follow-up.

Ignoring his preferred method of address would be rude, in my opinion. It is equivalent to calling you Toots when you asked for MsNYC, even though, in this case, you are using a more formal way of addressing him instead of more casual.

Redsoil

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Re: At the doctor's: "Hello, I'm Bob."
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2013, 05:56:51 AM »
I suspect we're a bit less formal here.  I've had a few doctors (both private practice and hospital doctors) introduce themselves by first-name only.
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CakeEater

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Re: At the doctor's: "Hello, I'm Bob."
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2013, 06:53:57 AM »
I went to a new doctor today, and when he came in to say hello (after his nurse practitioner had met with me), he put out his hand to shake mine and said, "Hello, Toots, I'm Bob."

And proceeded with the exam, etc.

it got me thinking that according to older etiquette, it's not polite to use a title when speaking of oneself. And in fact, if someone said, 'hello, I'm Mr. Johnson" when I went to an interview, I'd find it offputting.

Teachers and doctors seem to be an exception for this.  Mostly because their authority is such a permanent thing in their spheres.

But not this doctor! It was interesting.

But I don't think I'm going to address him as "Bob" when I go back for a follow-up.

Have you encountered the "My name is Mr. Lastname" form of that? It drives me up the wall.* It's not only incorrect etiquette, it's factually wrong. (g)You may be "Mr./Dr./Professor Lastname," and you may be called "Mr./Dr./Professor Lastname," but unless your parents made some really unusual naming choices, "Mr./Dr./Professor" is your title, not part of your name.

*For some reason it seems like a lot of TV/movie teachers feel the need to introduce themselves with "My name is Mr./Ms. Lastname" while writing their title and name on the blackboard. The setting there might justify introducing themselves with a title, but what's wrong with "I am Mr./Ms. Lastname"?
[/language tangent]

You mentioned teachers and doctors being exceptions to not introducing themselves using a title. I think that comes from the asymmetry of address that often occurs with them. Under most circumstances, adults will address one another using the same level of formality. As a PP said, if "Bob Jones" addresses you as "Ms. Smith," then he probably expects you to call him "Mr. Jones." If "Bob Jones" addresses you as "Jane," he probably expects you to call him "Bob." OTOH, teachers (in the USA, at least) generally call their students by first name while students are expected to use their titles. The same frequently applies to patients and doctors. A teacher introducing himself by title and surname is telling his students what form of address he expects, since it doesn't mirror the form he uses for them. I think that's also part of the reason using one's own title is impolite in normal contexts--it can imply that one either expects to be addressed more formally than everyone else or that they think others don't know how to address someone properly.

The name/title issue is one I've never considered in my life! I don't think it's really an important distinction, to be honest.

Also, I have a kind-of weird last name that is difficult for people to spell, and difficult for people to hear all the sounds. That's the only reason I would write my name on the board at school.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2013, 06:58:27 AM by CakeEater »

ettiquit

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Re: At the doctor's: "Hello, I'm Bob."
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2013, 08:31:50 AM »
This is interesting!  I switched to a new GP last year, and went from an older man to a woman my age.  I don't call my doctor by her first name, but if she indicated that it was ok, I probably would.  That's probably more because we're contemporaries though.

I went to a new doctor today, and when he came in to say hello (after his nurse practitioner had met with me), he put out his hand to shake mine and said, "Hello, Toots, I'm Bob."

And proceeded with the exam, etc.

it got me thinking that according to older etiquette, it's not polite to use a title when speaking of oneself. And in fact, if someone said, 'hello, I'm Mr. Johnson" when I went to an interview, I'd find it offputting.

Teachers and doctors seem to be an exception for this.  Mostly because their authority is such a permanent thing in their spheres.

But not this doctor! It was interesting.

But I don't think I'm going to address him as "Bob" when I go back for a follow-up.

Ignoring his preferred method of address would be rude, in my opinion. It is equivalent to calling you Toots when you asked for MsNYC, even though, in this case, you are using a more formal way of addressing him instead of more casual.

I'm sure "Bob" is used to his patients not being comfortable calling him by his first name, and Toots didn't say that he asked her to call him "Bob".  I read that more as "My name is Bob, and I'm cool with you calling me Bob if you want".

Hmmmmm

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Re: At the doctor's: "Hello, I'm Bob."
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2013, 09:05:27 AM »
I went to a new doctor today, and when he came in to say hello (after his nurse practitioner had met with me), he put out his hand to shake mine and said, "Hello, Toots, I'm Bob."

And proceeded with the exam, etc.

it got me thinking that according to older etiquette, it's not polite to use a title when speaking of oneself. And in fact, if someone said, 'hello, I'm Mr. Johnson" when I went to an interview, I'd find it offputting.

Teachers and doctors seem to be an exception for this.  Mostly because their authority is such a permanent thing in their spheres.

But not this doctor! It was interesting.

But I don't think I'm going to address him as "Bob" when I go back for a follow-up.

Have you encountered the "My name is Mr. Lastname" form of that? It drives me up the wall.* It's not only incorrect etiquette, it's factually wrong. (g)You may be "Mr./Dr./Professor Lastname," and you may be called "Mr./Dr./Professor Lastname," but unless your parents made some really unusual naming choices, "Mr./Dr./Professor" is your title, not part of your name.

*For some reason it seems like a lot of TV/movie teachers feel the need to introduce themselves with "My name is Mr./Ms. Lastname" while writing their title and name on the blackboard. The setting there might justify introducing themselves with a title, but what's wrong with "I am Mr./Ms. Lastname"?
[/language tangent]

You mentioned teachers and doctors being exceptions to not introducing themselves using a title. I think that comes from the asymmetry of address that often occurs with them. Under most circumstances, adults will address one another using the same level of formality. As a PP said, if "Bob Jones" addresses you as "Ms. Smith," then he probably expects you to call him "Mr. Jones." If "Bob Jones" addresses you as "Jane," he probably expects you to call him "Bob." OTOH, teachers (in the USA, at least) generally call their students by first name while students are expected to use their titles. The same frequently applies to patients and doctors. A teacher introducing himself by title and surname is telling his students what form of address he expects, since it doesn't mirror the form he uses for them. I think that's also part of the reason using one's own title is impolite in normal contexts--it can imply that one either expects to be addressed more formally than everyone else or that they think others don't know how to address someone properly.

 :)I keep hearing "My name is Mr. Tibbs1" in my head.

I'd find it very odd if a doctor or any professional only introduced themselves with their first name and not included the last name. But I guess he already knows you know that you are seeing Dr. Smith so doesn't feel the need to say "I'm Bob Smith".  But there are some relationships I want more formal and a doctor is one of them. My optometrist does go primarily by his first name but all of his patients and staff call him Dr. Bob.  I always thought it was because his last name was slightly hard to pronounce and very uncommon in our area when he started praticing 30 or more years ago.

Twik

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Re: At the doctor's: "Hello, I'm Bob."
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2013, 09:28:12 AM »
I hope he's not a gynecologist. Because "Bob Nolastname" is not going to get to see my lady bits.

Seriously, I don't want a doctor to be my pal, I want him/her to be a competent professional. And I suspect that Bob doesn't want patients treating him as a real social friend ("Bob! I know it's 3 am, but I know you wouldn't mind me calling you at home about this wart on my foot!"). Using a professional form of address avoids establishing a false intimacy.
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LazyDaisy

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Re: At the doctor's: "Hello, I'm Bob."
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2013, 11:52:55 AM »
Is your new doctor in a group practice with a family member? The reason why I ask is because my dentist goes by her first name, but she shares a practice with her husband. So if I call for an appointment, I need to specify that I want to see Dr. Donna not Dr. Erik. I assume that you already know his last name -- how else would you make an appointment or find the office? So it's not terribly odd to me that he introduced himself informally.
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TootsNYC

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Re: At the doctor's: "Hello, I'm Bob."
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2013, 12:00:11 PM »
Quote
But I guess he already knows you know that you are seeing Dr. Smith so doesn't feel the need to say "I'm Bob Smith". 

True--but he also knows that I know I'm seeing Dr. Bob Smith. So I guess that means he really does prefer if I address him by his first name.

He needed to identify himself to me, of course, but he could have said, "I'm Bob Smith."


Quote
My optometrist does go primarily by his first name but all of his patients and staff call him Dr. Bob.  I always thought it was because his last name was slightly hard to pronounce and very uncommon in our area when he started praticing 30 or more years ago.

The funny thing is, his name isn't Bob. It's very unusual--not an ordinary first name. It's so unusual that if I told you it, you could Google him and FIND him, even without knowing his specialty. So for him to use it on its own may really say something.

I'll have to ponder that.

He's at a major medical center for his specialty, so there's no other "Dr. Smith" sort of thing to worry about.

I may end up getting around the whole "I don't feel comfortable calling my  medical professional by his first name" thing by just never addressing him by name. Then I can *refer* to him as "Dr. Smith" when I speak to his staff, etc., without feeling awkward. When I go back for a followup, I'll listen to see what other people refer to him as--I think the nurse practitioner say, "I'm Dr. Smith's nurse practitioner."

(his specialty is sports medicine/orthopedics. So not the most intimate of body parts. And the sports/injury part may have led to a different vibe with his patients--maybe more like the collaborative relationship you'd have with a physical therapist, whom I might easily call by his/her first name.)

ClaireC79

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Re: At the doctor's: "Hello, I'm Bob."
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2013, 12:09:54 PM »
I call my gynaecologist by his first name (of course we did know each other before) - thinking about it I think he tends to introduce himself to patients by first and last name but I would say most use his first name when talking to him (as do his colleagues)

mstigerlily

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Re: At the doctor's: "Hello, I'm Bob."
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2013, 12:16:07 PM »
I've seen more and more of this. My cat's vet introduces himself as 'Bob' (although I like to call him Dr. 'Bob'). My gyno uses her first name (Dr. 'Sue') because she thinks it seems more comfortable or relaxed for patients. My eye doctor also goes by Dr. 'Bob'- but that's because his wife shares the practice with him, and when you call asking for an appointment with Dr 'Smith' it'd get pretty confusing....

I do prefer generally calling my drs as Dr. So-and-so, preferably Dr. Lastname. It's a position-type of thing.


Off-topic aside: have you ever noticed when you type something a bunch of times and realize it looks funny or is a funny word? I just did that.