Monday, February 1, 2016


Today, on Sunday Morning on CBS, an opinion piece was given by Faith Salie called On A First Name Basis;  it concerned the appropriateness of young people addressing older people by their first names.  I disagree with her conclusions.  See here:

Last year, during Thanksgiving dinner at our house, a young person who was a guest, immediately began calling several older adults by their first names;  several of these people are actually older than his own grandparents.  I find such behavior to be unseemly and dreadfully poor manners.

Afterwards I told him that it was totally inappropriate for him to begin calling these strangers by their first names rather than by Mister and Mrs.  He told me that I was very old-fashioned and that he called EVERYONE by their first names.  I asked, "Did you call your teachers by their first names? Do you call your doctor by her first name?"  He answered, "No, but they are professional."  I answered, "The people you were addressing are also professional and deserve your respect NOT because of that but because they are old enough to be your damned grandparents!"  I told him that one of my husband's teachers had been a frequent guest at our home but I would NEVER call him by his first name although he is less than 10 years older than us, he still is accorded the respect of being MISTER!

I asked him why he also kept saying their names repeatedly.  He said that was an old trick to be able to remember the names of people he'd just met.  I replied, "Oh, yes, I also know that trick, but you should have been saying Mister or Mrs."

I told him I felt sorry for him that he had been reared without learning to be respectful. He said that ALL young people are this way.  I said that was a gross generalization and that I would be willing to bet money that I had family members as young as he who would NEVER speak that way to older people.

He said, "They never said anything."  I answered, "Of course they wouldn't because the first rule of good manners is never to embarrass others."

I said, "Here's some advice:  HOW to know whether to call older people by their first names is when you say Mister of Mrs. and THEN those people tell you to call them by their first names;  that's when you have permission."

I found from consulting the internet that it is a common problem with young people.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Remember the kid at the Mexican restaurant who called you "senorita" and you told him you were a "senora"? I guess they don't have MS in Spanish! ML