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Old 05-02-2014, 12:00 PM   #21
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Here I am, a 52 year old man, and whenever I see someone who was an adult when I was growing up, I still want to call them "Mr" or "Mrs" instead of by their first name. I guess I was just raised that way. Does this happen to others? At what point do you feel that it is acceptable to call people by their first names?
Sounds like you have good manners to me.

I say Mr, Ms or Mrs unless they tell me to call them by their first name.

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If you use Mr., Mrs., etc., they can then tell you if they prefer to be addressed by their first names.

If you feel more comfortable using Ma'am or Sir for those of a certain age or eminence, that could be appropriate too unless told to use the first name.

Oh, I am such an old fuddy-duddy...
Ok...so should you be addressed as Fuddy or Ms Duddy?
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:32 PM   #22
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Ok...so should you be addressed as Fuddy or Ms Duddy?
Fuddy is fine!
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:54 PM   #23
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I still want to call them "Mr" or "Mrs" instead of by their first name. I guess I was just raised that way. Does this happen to others?
+1

They were always Mr or Mrs, so that is how I still identify them - it is weird, though.

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Old 05-02-2014, 01:02 PM   #24
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Aren't there areas of the US where it is considered a measure of respect to refer to someone by their last name? When working in Los Angeles, I had a co-worker (I think he was from Texas) who always referred to our boss by his last name. Our boss, who was English, was more than a little put out, as he thought of it as a disrespectful way to talk about someone. My co-worker was trying to show some respect and couldn't understand why our manager was so offended.
Everything I learned about good talkin' English, British style, I learned from classic uppity PBS (vs funny PBS). This year Downton Abbey taught me that visiting people's individual servants are called by their employers' last names, most house servants by their own first names, and more important servants by Mr. or Mrs. Last Name (i mainly identify with the servants as my most distant ancestor that i know of was a stable hand in 1600s France). For not so good talkin' British I rely on movies or e-r.org member Alan . You, Major Tom, don't sound overly British; your keyboard doesn't have much of an accent. But I digress.

Are you sure your coworker wasn't pulling your leg about showing some respect, in that it was his boss? Maybe he was showing some camaraderie in that close old friends might call each other by their last names (I do that with college friends), but otherwise, I wonder, even if he was from Texas.
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Old 05-02-2014, 01:42 PM   #25
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I'm definitely not a racist, so don't flame me. Years ago, black family who lived next to us had 4 kids and they always called us Mr. Mike or Mrs. Martha. Drove me nuts. Couple of weeks ago had a young black guy selling magazines door-to-door (I never buy this stuff). He called me Mr. Mike and I brought him up short and told him if he wanted to improve his sales technique that he could call me: Mike, Mr. Hines , or anything else but Mr. Mike. I find it degrading to both parties involved.
It's not a racial thing, it's a Southern thing, AFAIK, at least in this part of the South. Lots of people here call me Miz Firstname. And, my guess is that Sarah in SC is probably called Miz Sarah at times too. My handyman and his helpers who installed my new side door this morning (and who happen to be white) call me Miz Firstname. I think it is kind of sweet.
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Old 05-02-2014, 01:46 PM   #26
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I usually use Sir and Ma'am. My grandchildren and all their friends have been taught to address adults as "Miss Mary" or "Mr Pete", this includes their school teachers. I hadn't heard that form of address until moving south, and here it's common.

This is much easier in Spanish. The way one addresses someone shows respect or convey formality. Formality can be shown by using the first name but also the formal "usted", or putting "Don" before the first name, as in Don Diego. Doņita is a polite and respectful way to address an older woman. A woman is never referred to as "Seņora" unless she has been introduced as such, otherwise it is always Seņorita.

My in-laws were never anything other than "Seņor & Seņora" and always "usted".
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Old 05-02-2014, 01:50 PM   #27
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Sounds like you have good manners to me.

I say Mr, Ms or Mrs unless they tell me to call them by their first name.


Ok...so should you be addressed as Fuddy or Ms Duddy?
Miz Fuddy sounds about right.
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Old 05-02-2014, 01:51 PM   #28
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I will confess that I have so far made it through 30 years of marriage without ever addressing my young wife's parents as, well, anything -- not Mom or Dad, not their first names and not Mr. or Mrs.
Wow! I find this super funny!

In 30 years you have not addressed them by name or title? That is amazing.
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Old 05-02-2014, 01:52 PM   #29
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Miz Fuddy sounds about right.
Miz Fuddy it is, then! I like it!
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Old 05-02-2014, 01:55 PM   #30
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Don MichaelB. It has a nice ring to it.

A scene from The Godfather comes to my mind. But it was Don [last name] in the movie, never with 1st name. Don [1st name] sounds a bit awkward, somewhere between formal and informal.
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Old 05-02-2014, 02:19 PM   #31
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It's not a racial thing, it's a Southern thing, AFAIK, at least in this part of the South. Lots of people here call me Miz Firstname. And, my guess is that Sarah in SC is probably called Miz Sarah at times too. My handyman and his helpers who installed my new side door this morning (and who happen to be white) call me Miz Firstname. I think it is kind of sweet.
Even up here in the North, I affectionately call good friends (even DW) "Miss"...like "Oh, hello Miss First Name". Agreed, I find it an expression of endearment. Might be different if you don't know the person.
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Old 05-02-2014, 02:33 PM   #32
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It's not a racial thing, it's a Southern thing, AFAIK, at least in this part of the South. Lots of people here call me Miz Firstname. And, my guess is that Sarah in SC is probably called Miz Sarah at times too. My handyman and his helpers who installed my new side door this morning (and who happen to be white) call me Miz Firstname. I think it is kind of sweet.
Exactly.

I was raised in New England, and we were taught to refer to all adults as "Mr." or "Mrs." or "Miss" followed by the last name. If we did not, our backsides got the message!

I moved to the south about 30 years ago, and here I learned that children referred to all adults (even very elderly folks) as "Mr." or "Miz" followed by the first name. If the first name is not known, then it's "Sir" or "Ma'am" - it took some getting used to, but it eventually it became second nature.

It isn't racial, it's a cultural/geographical thing.
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Old 05-02-2014, 03:06 PM   #33
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It's not a racial thing, it's a Southern thing, AFAIK, at least in this part of the South. Lots of people here call me Miz Firstname. And, my guess is that Sarah in SC is probably called Miz Sarah at times too. My handyman and his helpers who installed my new side door this morning (and who happen to be white) call me Miz Firstname. I think it is kind of sweet.
Absolutely right, Miz Fuddy.
It is considered friendlier and a bit less formal to say Miz Sally or Miz Sarah or whatever. I remember as a younger woman being called Missy Sarah.
This is very much a southern thing.
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Old 05-02-2014, 03:08 PM   #34
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I could not call my friends' parents by their first name. It's a foreigner/ cultural thing. Had to be miss x or mr x.
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Old 05-02-2014, 03:17 PM   #35
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Are you sure your coworker wasn't pulling your leg about showing some respect, in that it was his boss? Maybe he was showing some camaraderie in that close old friends might call each other by their last names (I do that with college friends), but otherwise, I wonder, even if he was from Texas.
Now I think about it, you might be right. I think he might have been trying to show camaraderie, in what he thought of as a respectful and friendly way, but our boss (who was a bit of an uptight sort) had a strong tendency to get bent out of shape over perceived disrespectfulness and didn't see it that way.

I'm pretty sure he was from Texas.
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Old 05-02-2014, 04:12 PM   #36
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I could not call my friends' parents by their first name. It's a foreigner/ cultural thing. Had to be miss x or mr x.

Or possibly their names were unpronounceable... ;-)
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Old 05-02-2014, 04:43 PM   #37
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I could not call my friends' parents by their first name. It's a foreigner/ cultural thing. Had to be miss x or mr x.
I have very occasionally come across people who call their own parents by their first names, which I find decidedly odd.
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Old 05-02-2014, 05:08 PM   #38
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This is much easier in Spanish. The way one addresses someone shows respect or convey formality. Formality can be shown by using the first name but also the formal "usted", or putting "Don" before the first name, as in Don Diego. Doņita is a polite and respectful way to address an older woman. A woman is never referred to as "Seņora" unless she has been introduced as such, otherwise it is always Seņorita.

My in-laws were never anything other than "Seņor & Seņora" and always "usted".
The analogous situation exists in French (where one uses the 2nd person plural in formal address) and Italian (where one uses the 3rd person singular). That distinction is one of the reasons I prefer the Romance languages - you always know where you stand relative to the people with whom you are speaking.
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Old 05-02-2014, 07:25 PM   #39
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Interesting. I didn't call FIL by his first name until I retired. By then we were both retired so I guess it was an "equal basis" kind of thing. And he was an informal guy to begin with.

But today at the grocery store the checkout lady was I guess mid-fifties and called me "Sir" and I called her "Ma'am". Just a normal courtesy thing.
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Old 05-04-2014, 11:18 AM   #40
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Wow! I find this super funny!

In 30 years you have not addressed them by name or title? That is amazing.
Not so amazing... I was in the same boat. When I got married, I directly asked my mother in law how she'd like to be addressed: first name, Mrs., mother, mom? She said any were fine. So I looked at what my other sister in laws called her and noticed they avoided it. I asked one of them and she said she never figured it out. The other refers to mil as "the mom" when she's not around. When they moved into our granny flat I finally started calling her by her first name because we had so much more contact in a daily basis.
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