Social Question

tranquilsea's avatar

Do you call those people of the older generation by their first names or by Mr. or Mrs.?

Asked by tranquilsea (17238 points ) April 9th, 2011

I grew up calling most adults Mr. or Mrs. with a few exceptions. I still call people older than me Mr. or Mrs. with a few exceptions. But there has been a shift in how I’ve observed other people addressing elders. Many people use first names no matter the age difference.

I think that the older generation deserves respect and this is one small way I can honour that. I know it’s old fashioned but it is something that I feel still holds value.

My children’s friends have always called me Mrs. but some of my oldest son’s friends have started using my first name. I’m not exactly comfortable with that but I don’t believe in demanding people use a certain name so I let it slide.

Do you use Mr. and Mrs. or are you a first name user? Why?

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17 Answers

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I address them as however they introduce themselves to me.

marinelife's avatar

I address them as they request.

If I were you, I would correct my son’s friends.

diavolobella's avatar

I call older people Mr. or Ms. unless they ask me to do otherwise, unless they are co-workers. A work environment is too familiar to require addressing each other in that manner, the exception being if they are closer to my parent’s age than they are to mine (hard to find in the workplace nowadays, since I’m nearly 48 myself) and I don’t work closely with them. For instance, we have one attorney at my office who is in his late 70’s and I still call him Mr. I call my own bosses and the other attorneys by their first name, but they are only slightly older than me, and in some cases, younger than I am.

My children’s friends call me Ms. Diavolobella, but most start out calling me by my former married last name, which makes sense because that is my children’s last name. I gently correct them. One friend of my daughter started out calling me “Mom” and that got on my nerves because I’d just met her. I asked my daughter to let her know I’d prefer she didn’t do that and now she calls me by my first name instead. I let it go at that although it’s not my preference. This girl doesn’t mean anything ill by it, but she’s simply not got a lot of couth (in any respect). It would be ruder of me to make her feel badly about it than for her to do it, so I let it slide.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Yes, I use their title and last name until they request that I call them by their first name. It is also applied to people in my age range and sometimes younger, if it is in a professional setting, such as working with contractors on a home project.

Both of my sisters passed this courtesy on to their children. They both also insist that they call their aunts and uncles “Aunt” and “Uncle”. As one sister explained, “It is a special title that deserves to be used.” I like that.

filmfann's avatar

I call my coworkers by Mr. and Mrs.

tinyfaery's avatar

I only use Mr./M®s with teachers. Everyone I have ever met, even as a kid, introduced themselves by their first name. The whole idea seems antiquated.

optimisticpessimist's avatar

My kids’ friends call me Mom. I don’t mind.
My kids have been taught to call older people either Mr./Mrs. (when first meeting or not knowing well) or Aunt/Uncle (when friends of the family) unless otherwise directed. This was the same way I was raised. I still use sir and ma’am a lot when I do not know or remember someone’s name and resort to Mr/Mrs unless invited to do otherwise.

WasCy's avatar

Honey, there just aren’t that many of “the older generation” any more. Which probably explains why so many people call me Mr. Cy – or whatever they do call me – I often can’t hear them.

Brian1946's avatar

For you youngsters who feel so inclined, feel free to call me Mr. 1946. ;-)

faye's avatar

I also call them however they are introduced. My kids’ friends call me faye because I prefer it. Doctors used to call me by name if they could see my name tag! and if I wasn’t already hovering for their every order. I was trained so long ago, when they were ‘gods’ and nurses their slaves.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

If I don’t know the person or if they’re just an acquaintance then I almost always adresss them by Mr./Mrs. or sir/m’aam. For me it’s not so much to do with age than general courtesey not to assume familiarity, works well for me. I do get stumped though occasionally when someone takes it as I must mean they’re old.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

While it’s understandable why it can be looked upon as an antiquated act, it is still a gesture of respect for one’s age and/or title that many still prefer. If they are comfortable having us call them by their first name, it will be offered up. For example, my dentist is much younger than I am, but I still call her “Dr. Smith”. She has yet to ask me to call her by her first name. I take no offense to that.

Judi's avatar

Please don’t call me by my mother in laws name. :-)

bea2345's avatar

At work, people address me as Mrs. although I am not senior, because of my age – I am 67. Strangers address me as Tants (Auntie) – it’s a West Indian form of address for any woman over sixty.

iphigeneia's avatar

When I was younger, the way it usually went is I would address my friends’ parents as Mr/Ms/Mrs such-and-such, then immediately they would say, “Oh, you can call me Julie (or whatever they first name was), I’m not that old!”

After that, I would call them by their first name, and only used Title Lastname when I forgot what their first name was (and again, they would correct me).

At university the various forms of address are so confusing, and since I’m studying Law it’s even more complicated. I have a hard enough time remembering names as it is, so in general I avoid using them.

faye's avatar

@bea2345 I was in western Mexico in Dec and the men in the stores in smaller towns called me ‘mammy’. Officially old.

bea2345's avatar

@faye – you know you reach when they start calling you “Mammy!”

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