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Mr. and Mrs.
Old 05-01-2014, 01:37 PM   #1
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Mr. and Mrs.

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?
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Old 05-01-2014, 01:51 PM   #2
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I have awkwardly avoided addressing my mother in law for years, because I met her when I was 18, called her Mrs., and though we refer to her by her first name, I just can't say it to her. It IS weird, I agree!
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Old 05-01-2014, 02:03 PM   #3
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I'm to the point where I simply ask people how they want to be addressed.
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Old 05-01-2014, 02:17 PM   #4
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My grown kids' childhood friends still call me Mrs., except one, but their friends' spouses all use my first name. It's cute, I think. I think they grew up calling all the parents Mrs. or Mr., whether addressing us directly or complaining about us to each other, partly because they couldn't remember our first names. Then, like now, whatever they felt comfortable with was fine with us.
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Old 05-01-2014, 02:23 PM   #5
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I'm with you - there's a respect thing for elders and people in authority - use the honorifics.

I'm trying desperately to teach my kids this - but they don't seem to agree - and regularly call friends parents by their first name. But they've learned to use the Mr/Mrs/Dr./etc - last name if I'm within earshot. Especially with the neighbors - who are all older than DH and I.

My younger son's teacher (and older son's former teacher) also pushes this. I volunteer in the classroom enough that most of the students know me. It's really nice to have the kids great me as Mrs. **** rather than by my first name.
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Old 05-01-2014, 02:26 PM   #6
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Three comments about forms of address, one from a while ago and the other two from this past weekend:

1) When I was teaching high school I would address my students as Sir and Ma'am. It would really throw them, but seemed to subtly influence class culture for the better.

2) Not just about how to address a person, but also describing relationships: I was at a retirement dinner for my old boss on Sunday and this older woman (I'm 54, she is well into her 80's) who, it became quickly apparent, was accompanying former Secretary of Education Richard Riley. She introduced herself to me as "Secretary Riley's "special friend."" I can't for the life of me remember her name, but I will always remember her relationship with Riley.

3) Monday was spent in an all day meeting with Secretary Riley and other members of our board. As the meeting was ending, Secretary Riley placed his hand on my shoulder and said, "Son, thanks for your help." I can't remember the last time I was addressed as "Son". I of course replied, "It was my pleasure, Sir."
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Old 05-01-2014, 02:42 PM   #7
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In the south where I live most kids in school start by calling the teachers and grownups Miss Jane or Mr Bob. The Miss and Mr followed by the first name. Adults are also called Sir or Mam if you don't know their name.
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Old 05-01-2014, 05:33 PM   #8
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I still regularly say Ma'am and Sir when I don't know someone's name, and sometimes even when I do. 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.
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Old 05-01-2014, 05:39 PM   #9
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Here in Bay Area, CA, almost everyone is on first name basis. The only ones using Mr. & Mrs. were kids from my son's school, and employees at my home golf course. They were taught to do so. It's awkward to me if someone calls me Mr. Robnplunder. I usually asked them to use my 1st name.
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Old 05-01-2014, 05:44 PM   #10
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I accompanied some friends (a family) to dinner on Father's Day. I've known these people for years, but haven't seen the dad for a long time. On the way there, I asked "what do I call him?". The son said, "Call him Dan" (not his real name). I think he really liked it, we chatted the night away without formalities!
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Old 05-01-2014, 06:09 PM   #11
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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...
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Old 05-01-2014, 06:16 PM   #12
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I was bought up to use Mr. or Mrs. Smith but as I grew older (think it started in my 20's) some of those people would tell me to call them by their first name.
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Old 05-01-2014, 06:16 PM   #13
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I would say Mr. or Mrs. with a great deal of emphasis as if you are making a special point of it. It ususally elicits a big smile.
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Old 05-01-2014, 07:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David1961 View Post
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?
Not so much anymore but certainly when I was a young or middle age adult.

If I were king, I would insist that in schools that all students address teachers and administrators as Mr., Mrs, or Ms. AND that all teachers and administrators address students as Mr. or Ms.

It worked ok for us and I think the world would be a better place. Uniforms too while we're at it.
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Old 05-02-2014, 09:32 AM   #15
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When someone refers to me as "Sir" or "Mr. HFWR", I tell them that's my dad...

I believe in manners and courtesy, but after a while all that formality gets tedious...
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Old 05-02-2014, 09:51 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
I still regularly say Ma'am and Sir when I don't know someone's name, and sometimes even when I do. 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.
+1

I am one to keep the "Ma'am and Sir" sayings alive. It is how I was taught. When I hung out in the nursing home as a kid while my dad was working, I used to visit all the residents and call them "ma'am and sir"...............they REALLY liked it..........and that was almost 40 years ago.............
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:30 AM   #17
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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.
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:36 AM   #18
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Might be something from the Victorian age, but my grandparents (mom and dad's parents) would always address each other as Mr or Mrs whenever the two families were together...even though they knew each other for years before.

An old lady who lived up the street would always call her equally old neighbor "Mr" even though they lived next door for 50 years.
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:06 AM   #19
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+1

I am one to keep the "Ma'am and Sir" sayings alive. It is how I was taught. When I hung out in the nursing home as a kid while my dad was working, I used to visit all the residents and call them "ma'am and sir"...............they REALLY liked it..........and that was almost 40 years ago.............
DS works as a nursing assistant in a nearby rehab center/nursing home. While he now has mostly rehab patients he also has LTC residents as well and worked in the LTC wing in the past. While he generally pretty respectful with his elders, since he sees them almost everyday he commonly refers to male residents as "Bud" and female as "Dear". They seem to like it as he is quite popular among the residents.

I suspect that "Sir" and "Ma'am" don't work so well when you are regularly wiping someone's butt.
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:21 AM   #20
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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.
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