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Surname: When did we cross the barrier from formal to the familiar??

Old 05-26-18, 12:29 PM
  #1  
KraneXL
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Surname: When did we cross the barrier from formal to the familiar??

It happened again, I just got another solicitation in the mail with my first name printed in big bold type. No salutation, no, introduction just Tom (not my real name).

There used to be a time not so long ago where such presumption was considered offensive. Thing is, I don't remember signing any universal agreement giving my permission that it was OK to do so. Does anybody even still use Mr. or ma'am?

When did it become popular to refer to a complete stranger with such familiarly (especially in business); and who made that determination? Does anybody else feel shortchanged or disrespected, or am I just an old fuddy-duddy?
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Old 05-26-18, 02:39 PM
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The latter...
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Old 05-26-18, 03:43 PM
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Tom,

People are always going to be thinking up new ways to get your attention. Any kind of cold-call solicitation is usually going to be irritating, but you have to try to not let it get to you.
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Old 05-26-18, 03:44 PM
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It upsets me when parents introduce adults to their kids and use my first name. I am 59 years old and still refer to all of my friend's mothers and fathers as Mr. and Mrs.
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Old 05-26-18, 03:56 PM
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It still feels weird to me to call my father-in-law by his first name, and I've been with my wife for 29 years. I call waitresses young enough to be my daughter ma'am. So I guess it's however you were brought up. That, and teens have been calling me sir since I was about 25. So I aged into it early.
But does it upset me one way or the other? Never even occurred to me.
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Old 05-26-18, 09:54 PM
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Poorly designed databases. I used to get robot-telemarketer calls asking for "DOUBLE-YEW?"

Apparently all they had in the database was my first initial of a formal name that nobody I know uses. If anyone asks for me by my formal name it's an immediate clue they don't know me, no matter how informal or chummy they try to sound.

FWIW, I find most folks who don't know me call me sir or Mr. Mylastname. Always surprises me. I'm not picky about formalities, although I do show deference to folks older than I am. Just habit since I was a kid.

Regarding the junk mail, spammers and telemarketers, there are some ways to minimize those, but it requires some compromises. Ditching the landline helps. And more aggressive spam filters in email. But it's harder to filter out junk mail.

I discontinued my old landline a month or so ago. Reduced my junk calls by 99%. And my previous cell number was practically useless -- mostly calls for people I'd never heard of from bill collectors, people who didn't speak English or what sounded like probation officers and private investigators. Then they'd redial the same number several times in a few minutes just to be sure. I discontinued that number too.

The next two cell numbers I tried weren't much better. Discontinued those as well.

A few months ago I lucked into a cell number that apparently wasn't used before or wasn't used by someone who dodged bill collectors. So far, so good. It's a keeper.
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Old 05-29-18, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
And my previous cell number was practically useless -- mostly calls for people I'd never heard of from bill collectors, people who didn't speak English or what sounded like probation officers and private investigators. Then they'd redial the same number several times in a few minutes just to be sure. I discontinued that number too.

The next two cell numbers I tried weren't much better. Discontinued those as well.

A few months ago I lucked into a cell number that apparently wasn't used before or wasn't used by someone who dodged bill collectors. So far, so good. It's a keeper.
My former friend that proved the adage about not loaning money to friends changed cell phones a few times. I got some woman when I dialed an old number, and apparently she'd had enough calls to him from people looking for money that she wasn't happy about getting another one.
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Old 05-29-18, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
It upsets me when parents introduce adults to their kids and use my first name. I am 59 years old and still refer to all of my friend's mothers and fathers as Mr. and Mrs.
I still teach my kids to refer to adults we know as Mr/Mrs/Ms. There's a few awkward transitions, usually 5-10yr older people we knew as kids when they were kids, but now are young adults.

I kind of like the notion of referring to schoolkids as last-name-only, like you see in WWII movies, but I usually forget.

I took a tour of St John's College in Santa Fe NM, all of their classes are discussion-based, and all the students required to address or refer to each other as Mr or Ms.
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Old 05-29-18, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Poorly designed databases. I used to get robot-telemarketer calls asking for "DOUBLE-YEW?"
Could be worse your name could be JB.

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Old 05-29-18, 11:44 PM
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I realized that Leave It To Beaver was probably ahead of it's time. Oh Ward, what did you get the Beaver?

Nobody called him Theodore.
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Old 05-30-18, 02:00 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
I still teach my kids to refer to adults we know as Mr/Mrs/Ms. There's a few awkward transitions, usually 5-10yr older people we knew as kids when they were kids, but now are young adults.

I kind of like the notion of referring to schoolkids as last-name-only, like you see in WWII movies, but I usually forget.

I took a tour of St John's College in Santa Fe NM, all of their classes are discussion-based, and all the students required to address or refer to each other as Mr or Ms.
Uncharacteristically formal coming from you. In any event, the more you teach your kids to respect other adults, the greater respect they will have for you.
Originally Posted by Rollfast View Post
I realized that Leave It To Beaver was probably ahead of it's time. Oh Ward, what did you get the Beaver?

Nobody called him Theodore.
I believe his parents did (esp. his mom) in serious mode. And if I'm not mistaken, occasionally the suck-up, Eddie Haskell?

In other news, I get people in the service industry calling me by my first name on multiple occasion and have to correct them. I also had my doctor refer to me by my first name and had to correct him since I always refer to him by title.

I suppose I'm rather old fashioned, but as someone who worked in the service industry for many years and never referred to a patron other than formally, I feel I deserve equal treatment.

Last edited by KraneXL; 05-30-18 at 02:07 AM.
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Old 05-30-18, 07:54 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Rollfast View Post
I realized that Leave It To Beaver was probably ahead of it's time. Oh Ward, what did you get the Beaver?

Nobody called him Theodore.
Wut???

The show wasn't called Leave it to Theodore
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Old 05-30-18, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Uncharacteristically formal coming from you.
Yeah I guess it's a little different. I learned it from the church we were in. That's the way parents introduced me to their kids, and the kids then referred to me, and I thought it was a valuable custom of respect, so when we had kids we did the same. New visitors were always I think a tiny bit taken aback, but acclimatized quickly. It wasn't uncommon that kids would ask an adult "but what's your last name, Mr ...?" because they were accustomed to that practice too.

But between adults, always first names. That level of formality is long gone.
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Old 05-31-18, 02:53 AM
  #14  
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i was in rotc, so everyone was by last name, and sir's it sticks and you get used to it
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Old 05-31-18, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by c0urt View Post
i was in rotc, so everyone was by last name, and sir's it sticks and you get used to it
A shame it took you all the way till college to learn that.

But thanks for your service anyway.
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Old 05-31-18, 06:22 AM
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I work at a university and spend a lot of time with folks 35 to 40 years younger than I am. I prefer to be addressed by my first name.
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Old 05-31-18, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
A shame it took you all the way till college to learn that.

But thanks for your service anyway.
forgot it is different in different places
jrotc high school went to college on the rotc scholarship if it helps any got kicked out of meps for medical reasons.
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Old 05-31-18, 03:52 PM
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Depending on who met me where I'm either Dr. lastname, Mr lastname or firstname with some resulting confusion that can end in "hey you". I used to get called Bob a lot even though my name isn't Bob (nor is it Robert). I never did figure that out.
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Old 06-02-18, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by no motor? View Post
Depending on who met me where I'm either Dr. lastname, Mr lastname or firstname with some resulting confusion that can end in "hey you". I used to get called Bob a lot even though my name isn't Bob (nor is it Robert). I never did figure that out.
For me and professional familiarity, I use my first and last initials, e.g "JB," as on Bikeforums (not my real initials in the other dimension, off of BF).

I once read that Nelson Rockefeller used the greeting "Hey Fella" because he couldn't remember names. In a social situation I try to at least remember the first name.

One etiquette book claimed that forgetting another person's name is just about the worst social blunder. Miss Manners wrote that the only saving line in a such a situation was a quote from an etiquette book from the 1890's, "Do you happen to remember your name?"

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 06-02-18 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 06-02-18, 08:52 AM
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There was an old steak house in Chicago famous for the saying "yes sir, Senator" created by a waiter who couldn't remember someone's name. It proved to be good for business, so they kept using the slogan.
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Old 06-02-18, 02:07 PM
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I am a professor and so am faced with many new names to remember each semester. I struggle with it.

But one trick that was told to me years ago to deal with forgetting a name was to ask the person what their last name is. First, people are not offended that you can't remember their last name. And second, people will frequently answer in this specific format: "Johnson, Ted Johnson". So you get their first name for free without asking specifically for it. It works as often as not.

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Old 06-02-18, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
It happened again, I just got another solicitation in the mail with my first name printed in big bold type. No salutation, no, introduction just Tom (not my real name).

There used to be a time not so long ago where such presumption was considered offensive. Thing is, I don't remember signing any universal agreement giving my permission that it was OK to do so. Does anybody even still use Mr. or ma'am?

When did it become popular to refer to a complete stranger with such familiarly (especially in business); and who made that determination? Does anybody else feel shortchanged or disrespected, or am I just an old fuddy-duddy?
People at fast food joints around here have started just addressing people at the drive-thru as "Hon"...NO, I'm not your "honey". I'm, a customer here to get some food in a rush.
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Old 06-03-18, 11:27 PM
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They aren't going to follow you home and make you do housework, just ignore it or if you have to talk to the manager.

If this makes you uncomfortable, stay away from bars and the 'drinkers in training'.
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Old 06-04-18, 07:16 AM
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There are some who call me... Mike.

No idea why. It isn't remotely close to any of my names. A neighbor calls me Zack. That isn't close to any of my names either. People hear what they want to hear and you're stuck with it.

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Old 06-04-18, 07:27 AM
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I’m retired and in my sixties, but I still look around for my father whenever anyone addresses me as “Mister ...”.

As long as they don’t call me late for dinner, I’m fine.
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