Do You Know Any Adults Who Expect You to Call Them Mr./Mrs.?

I teach in an English private school.

The pupils call me ‘Sir’ or Mr. Glee’.
I call my colleagues Mr. / Mrs. / Miss ‘lastname’.
I call the Headmaster ‘Headmaster’.

This stuff helps when telling pupils off and also when speaking in front of parents.

I’m a nurse and I know this thread is about people expecting to be called Mr/Mrs but, since the comments have moved on a bit from that, I shall do so as well.

I call the parents of my patients Mr/Mrs unless they invite me to do otherwise. I introduce myself at the beginning of each shift (unless it’s a family I’ve looked after a lot and they know me well): “Hi, Anne’s shift has finished and I’ll be looking after [patient] until 10:30. My name’s jabiru.” Some parents tell me their given names straight away, in which case that’s what I call them. Otherwise, it’s Mr/Mrs Lastname.

One of the tiny but tricky things I’ve had to get used to since moving to Singapore from the UK is the change in titles. My daughter’s teachers at primary school are referred to by Miss / Mr Firstname, so her teacher is Miss Rachel, for instance (she has a gym teacher Mr Tim, which amuses me for some reason). I call the teacher Miss Rachel pretty consistently, to her and about her, but I find that some of the other parents will address her as ‘Rachel’, even in front of the children. The joys of an international school, I think - different strokes for different folks.

By contrast, at my other daughter’s pre-school the staff are referred to as Teacher Firstname, or just Teacher. This still sounds very odd to me, but everyone seems to cope with it.

Then of course we have ‘Aunty’ and ‘Uncle’ which are used as the general, slightly respectful, title for pretty much every other adult we encounter. Often linked with a descriptor - so the Bus Aunty is the lady who helps the kids on the school bus.

The one I have the hardest time with is being “ma’am-ed” all over the place. Yesterday I interviewed a woman who I hope is going to be our nanny, and she was ma’am-ing and sir-ing all over the place. She referred to her current employers as Ma’am Firstname and Sir Firstname. I think my husband is secretly pleased at being knighted all of a sudden, but I fight the (probably futile) battle to get people to use my name. I know I’m struggling against umpteen years of ingrained culture, and there’s probably something slightly wrong for me to do so - but it makes me feel so uncomfortable.

Wrestling back to the OP - my mum was always rabid on this topic. She would get very cross when anyone outside a professional sphere (she was a teacher too) called her Mrs. Lastname. She saw her first name as her true, independent identity, and her married name as implying some kind of ownership thing I guess. She was a strange woman in many ways!

When I worked in public libraries most kids called me by my first name, although some chose to put a Mr. in front of it (strangely, the ones who did were teenagers). Now that I’m working at a school, I’m a Mr. The younger teachers tend to call me Mr. even when kids aren’t around, but the ones my age and older don’t. The parents that I know better mostly call me by my first name when their kids aren’t around. Personally, I wouldn’t care if they all called me by my first name.

I don’t know anyone. I think some folks here have posted in the past that they insist on it, much to my amusement.

A few medical types treating me have introduced themselves as Dr. Firstname Lastname. I call them Firstname Lastname.

I’ve had a few folks introduce me to their kids as Mr./Dr. Firstname. Most people don’t attempt my last name unless they are trying to sell me something.

It depends on the school. My highschool teachers were ~50/50 called Firstname or Title Lastname. I’ve been to schools where all teachers were Firstname, and schools where all were Title Lastname.

That professor would not have lasted long at my school.

You know, as long ago as it’s been for me, that also sums up how I perceived my teachers’ names when I was a kid in school, pretty much at all levels. Teachers were Mr, Miss, or Mrs ______ just … because. Even if they were quite young themselves and presented themselves with a modicum of hipness, we still used the title. Not until college and grad school did a few of my professors along the way invite us to use their first names.

I was a teaching assistant for one quarter at UCLA. Has any teaching assistant, anywhere, ever asked to be called Mr. or Ms.? I can’t imagine they’d want to, but I suppose they’re entitled. They get door cards and everything, after all.

Like WhyNot and jaibiru I am a nurse; I address most of my patients as Mr/Mrs/Ms. Lastname unless and until I am asked to do otherwise, even ones much younger than I. My take on the situation is that I am the person who sometimes has to ask them to undress and expose their bodies to me, so it helps them to keep their dignity if I address them formally. (Mrs. Jones, can you roll over so I can see your bottom?) On the other hand, at the end of my visit I hug most of my patients and even exchange “I love you” with many of them.

It varies, I’m sure. I worked in IT for a financial services company (~4000 employees in the two home/corporate offices and hundreds of branch locations around the country), which most people would feel is on the more stuffy/formal kind of field. But it was company policy (as in, explicitly spelled out) that we were a first name company*. If I were to email or meet the CEO, I should address him as “Tom”, even as a lowly IT peon.

But this was for internal usage. For external communication (or clients of financial advisors), we were to use our first name but ALWAYS address the person as Mr./Ms. LastName the first time, then use whatever they preferred after that.

  • because that shows we’re all one team! :roll eyes:

Here its a real mishmash…

At preschool / kindergarten / childcare, it might be Teacher firstname or lastname, miss firstname or lastname, mdm lastname or “laoshi” / Cikgu

At primary school Miss / Mr / Mrs Mdm Lastname is the norm

I have a client that calls me “Mr. Fitzgerald”, she is about 80 years old. No one else does it after an initial meeting.

In Court all are addressed as Mr. or Ms. or Judge in open Court. Judges in California will call a lawyer by first name in chambers after they have seen you appear in front of them for five or more years. I’m formal, and would never presume to return the familiarity in chambers. In a non-work setting if I bump into a judge, I would call them by first name only after they did so to me. It’s a damn tough job and the least I can do is show them that much formal respect for the job they are doing or supposed to be doing.

At work, to and about coworkers, it’s first name usually.

From bosses 1 tier up it’s usually first name basis.

From bosses 2nd tier or more up it’s Mr, Mrs or Ms.

From bosses who have just told me to do something I think is wrong it"s Sir or Maam.

Outside of work it’s usually first name however if I am in any situation where there is any question I prefer to drop into formal speak until it becomes clear it’s not necessary. If for no other reason it’s fun to call people I grew up with old people names, since, well, we’re old.

At the MegaCorp --retail-- I work at, members of store management are Mr. or Miss Lastname.

(Members of higher level management are hit or miss).

I once had a landlord who would introduce himself as “Mr. ___”. At first I thought maybe it was just a one time thing and I kinda forgot about it. But then one day I was talking about him to another tenant (we were both kind of complaining about him), and he mentioned it.

I can’t think of anyone I know who insists on being called Mr/Mrs. No adult I personally know, none of the customers I interact with, not even the CEO of my company.

I went to a school where all of the staff and teachers (except one old lady who didn’t want to, I guess) went by their first name. It felt weird to me at first, especially coming from a Catholic school where of course that would be unfathomable.

I have a friend who works as a social worker at a facility that houses minimum security inmates (both those who are straight into minimum, and those who are stepping down from higher security facilities as part of a release program). Part of their goal is re-integration to society, so they are very formal there, and everyone, staff and inmates, are Mr/Ms/Mrs… they also make a big show of having a clear distinction between Ms, Miss, and Mrs, and when it’s appropriate to use each (there are several dialects common here where you can get away with making them all sound very similar).

My co-worker was directing a video shoot last week for one of our clients — a counseling service with both psychiatrists and psychologists on staff.

We purposely try to keep the atmosphere loose and casual on our shoots, partly to put those not used to being on-camera at ease. So my colleague called one of the female psychiatrists (in her 30s, I would estimate) by her first name.

She somewhat pointedly stated, in front of everyone else, “I would prefer that you address me as Dr. _______.”

I wasn’t on the shoot, but I do the editing of the footage after the fact. Judging by the way this person came across in her segments, in my estimation she could benefit from some treatment by another in her profession.

I am such a person when it comes to my children’s friends. As a matter of fact, I corrected a member of my car pool recently for calling me “Mary” and informed her as sign of respect, I expect her to address me as Mrs. Jones. My daughter’s close friends just call me “mom” which is fine too.

Many years ago my grandmother’s best friend had a live-in housekeeper. We always referred to her as “Mrs. Lastname.” I honestly don’t even know what the lady’s first name was.

Speaking about teachers: when I went back to school at 25 I had been out of school for 8 years. I went to an adult learning centre where teachers were addressed by their first name. *I could not do it. * I had to call them “Mr.” or “Mrs.” One time I called the teacher “sir” and he was all “Did you just call me “sir”?” and I said “YES! I can’t call teacher by their first name! I just CAN’T!”

I used to call my friend’s parents “Mom” and “Dad” when I was younger. They never seemed to mind. But my one friend’s father was always “Mr. Lastname”. When I visited as an adult I’d call him “Pa”, but as a child I always referred to him as “Mr.”

I expect you to call me Mr., at least when we first meet, or Dr. if it’s a professional context.

To call me by my first name (which I don’t use) is downright rude, and presumes an unwarranted intimacy. At least, that’s how I was raised, and not all that long ago (1970s). I think the trend of insta-friends is a marketing ploy run amok, and I don’t like it.

After that first meeting, however, I’m fine with given names—we’re all adults here. I was raised in the 1970s, not the 1870s.

Children should call me Mr. Lastname, or (if we’re close), Uncle Firstname. None of my friends’ children do this, of course, and none of my friends asked me what I would prefer, so I just deal. Nothing to be done about it but sigh over the youth of today.