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Cultural differences in address

A few days back, I was trying to remember the name of a friend's mother, who I'd met a few times. It was bothering me that I'd forgotten. Then I realized that the only thing I didn't remember was her first name and I could always just call her Ms. Lastname. I was raised in a hippieish environment where everyone was referred to by their first name, including my schoolteachers at rhe open school. I never called anyone Mr./Mrs. anything. I know others were raised very differently. I had one friend who always called my mother "Mrs. Sharla's Mom" since he'd been introduced to her only by first name but had been taught that it wasn't proper to refer to your elders that way. I had another friend who had been raised to call anyone's parent Mom or Dad, not just his own, which I thought was really weird. so, anyway, POLL!

Poll #1006092 Firstname Lastname

How would you address a friend's parent, who you'd met a few times?

[Mr./Mrs./Ms./Dr.] Lastname
2(16.7%)
Firstname
2(16.7%)
It really depends on the person and their manner.
5(41.7%)
It really depends on how they're introduced.
3(25.0%)

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
ua_dubhne
Jun. 19th, 2007 08:55 pm (UTC)
Last time I was intro'ed to a GF's mom, I bought her a martini! Mom decided she liked me, then and there.
materia_indigo
Jun. 20th, 2007 01:50 am (UTC)
This is a difficult issue for me. I'm a little older than you, and I was raised in a strict household. If I had been caught addressing an elder by a first name, I would've faced serious punishment.

Today, as a secretary at the UofM, I find it impossible to address my superiors by their first names, even when I know that's their preference. They are all either Dr. _____ or Professor ________. If they don't have Ph.D.s, they are Mr. ______or Ms. __________.

This is fine when I'm working with people older than the Baby Boom. They get it, and usually appreciate it. The Baby Boomers often don't like it and don't understand. They (perhaps?) expect me to be cool because I'm younger than they are. But Gen-Xers are not hippies, and were not raised by hippies. And so, many of us have oddly traditional ways.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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