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Frustrated! Addressing people by their title, and other 'old-fashioned' sayings

Propeller Planes

New in Town
Messages
18
Location
Australia
Hi all

I'm an infrequent poster, more of a lurker. I felt this would be the appropriate place to share my following frustration and to seek people's thoughts on this! Before you do, you can picture me as a 25yr guy, who was born about 6 decades later than I should have, living in the same modern world as you all, but carry a lot of 'vintage' mannerisms, values and phrases in my day to day life.

So I work in a professional job (In the airlines), and deal with a lot of customers. Many times, I'll need to hand customers over to colleagues, and I'll introduce the customer (Regardless of age) to a colleague by their full title and name (I.e. "This is Ms Lisa Livingstone", or "This is Miss Kelly Kandy") before the handover. The customers, particularly the elderly, are chuffed and find it pleasing, whereas the young just giggle in amusement. Adding to this, I always address senior management by their title and surname ("Good afternoon Mr Lewis"). Most of them like being addressed this way, a handful are informal enough to ask you call them by their first name. This is purely a combination of my upbringing from my ethnic culture, and my way of carrying on vintage mannerisms.

My frustration stems from otherwise ignorant light ridicule that this attracts from colleagues, for this approach in that they deem it unnecessary, over the top or just silly. Mind you, most of these colleagues are younger folks (Under 40yrs) who probably don't know any wiser, but it's frustrating me a little why people would even bring attention to the way I address people by their title. I use a lot of phrases and vocabulary that would be classed as 'old-fashioned', or I don't abbreviate anything ("Telephone, television"), yet a friend brought up with me recently that apparently the word 'fortnight' is one of them when it'd apparently be easier to say "two weeks". Same goes for other words I use like 'tomfoolery', 'kerfuffle', 'hodge-podge', and my favourite, 'the wireless' (Radio!).

Can anyone relate to my frustration, of thinking that people around you must see you as deranged or something, just because you want to respectfully carry on old-fashioned ways of speech? ARRRGGGHH!
 

FountainPenGirl

One of the Regulars
Messages
148
Location
Wisconsin
HI, Great thread. Yes I go along with your thinking. I believe this is just another part of the decline of modern society. People dressing like slobs and so on. There seems to be a general decline in class, dignity, and self respect along with a lack of respect and consideration for anyone around. Things have become much too informal. A little formality can be quite pleasant. I miss the days when you were addressed as mentioned. It just seems to make you feel good inside. There's an older store that my husband and I go to from time to time. The proprietor created his business from scratch about 40 years ago. He addresses us as Mr. & Mrs., and says" It's nice to see you. Can I help you find something? Please let me know if I can help." It just makes me feel so nice when we go in we stop by sometimes even if we don't need anything.
 

Pompidou

One Too Many
Messages
1,242
Location
Plainfield, CT
Regarding formal modes of address: I don't see any cause for ridicule. I'd imagine you know when they're appropriate.

Regarding archaic vocabulary: You're no different, except by degree, than a fellow walking around speaking Elizabethan, or even Chaucer's Middle English. Languages evolve.
 

Stanley Doble

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,808
Location
Cobourg
You are right, they are wrong. Ignore them. Your superior manners and address will pay off in the end. If they don't you are working in the wrong place.

Another way to look at it. The superior man is going to get ahead. You are lucky to be in a time and place where it is so easy to be superior.

I notice the customers and management approve, only the inferior don't get it.
 

Gin&Tonics

Practically Family
Messages
899
Location
The outer frontier
Can anyone relate to my frustration, of thinking that people around you must see you as deranged or something, just because you want to respectfully carry on old-fashioned ways of speech? ARRRGGGHH!

I tend to speak the same way. Personally I don't much care what anyone else thinks of it! In my opinion you come across as far more professional because of it. More power to you.
 

The Good

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,363
Location
California, USA
With some frequency, I address people as sir or ma'am, occasionally madam. These are almost always strangers or acquaintances. I don't find myself addressing others as Mr., Mrs., or Miss nearly as often, and normally it is directed towards a middle-aged or older person.
 

Philip A.

Familiar Face
Messages
60
Location
East Africa
In the world outside the US (which is quite a large chunk, by the way), social conventions and manners are regarded as important and significant.

Americans are generally viewed as sorely lacking in the matter, and totally ignorant of any social etiquette. This results in the average American being kept out of the "local" social circles, hovering around but never really accepted.

Now, you're in OZ and not the US, but most posters are in the US, hence the slant on my reply so far.

In short, I think you are, Sir, on the right path. Ignore the uncouth, trying to educate them could turn into a full time - and frustrating - job.

By the way, is that a PT-17 in front of the C195 in your avatar?
 

Widebrim

I'll Lock Up
At the school where I teach, I am well-known as the only teacher who does not address parents by their first names (our neighborhood is primarily "hipster/hippie" in composition...). Parents regularly introduce themselves by their first names, which is actually nice of them, I suppose, but I always use their surnames. I sometimes will also use ma'am and sir, and even tell my students that they are to address adults by their last names if they come to our classroom, regardless of how they address them outside of school. It comes down to the fact that I am a teacher, and not a family friend; therefore, a certain degree of formality needs to be preserved in order to maintain professionalism. If I lived in a small town, and knew some of the parents socially (VFW, congregation, etc.), it would be different, but this is Los Angeles...
 

Red Diabla

One of the Regulars
Messages
178
Location
Lost Strangeles
What I find very strange is how some women actually object to being addressed as "Ma'am" because it makes them feel old. [huh]

Says the guy who isn't judged by his age or looks.

The reason why some women get offended is that "ma'am" sounds old-fashioned, which translates to old, which for women translates to useless and ignored. You can argue against that all you like, but as long as society has deemed that women above a "certain age" are worthless in every sense, women are going to fight against appearing to be that age whether it's flattering to them or not.

RD
 

Benny Holiday

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,667
Location
Sydney Australia
Just stick to being who you are and forget about the less-mannered among your colleagues. Everyone here who either dresses vintage and/or is into a vintage lifestyle in some sense has stories of annoying instances like the ones you've mentioned. At least you're setting an example of decorum for those around you.

I used to have a similar sort of problem playing rockabilly/jump blues and jazz part time while working in an office during the day. The musician's vocabulary I got used to using by habit - in which men were 'cats', something liked was 'crazy' that you 'dug' and you were paid 'clams' for your 'gig' - didn't translate at all for a while in the office job (gig! haha) until little by little those phrases started creeping into sentences used by other people in the office. Who knows, maybe you might inspire some nicer attitude in your workmates too.
 

Godfrey

One of the Regulars
Messages
243
Location
Melbourne, Australia
I think failing to show respect is always an error. My father was making a complaint with an airline and getting a slightly raw reception. The consultant called him 'Andrew' which got his gander. His response - with icy voice - was that he should be addressed as Professor and that while they seemed to fail to recognise his complaint they could at least acknowledge his title. Needless to say things deteriorated and a full apology and recompense followed from the consultants manager.

All could have been avoided through a bit of zero cost respect.
 

Alex Oviatt

Practically Family
Messages
509
Location
Pasadena, CA
I always address the rector of my church as "Rector" as in "Hello, Rector, that was a jolly good sermon this morning....." Everyone else calls him Father Gary or worse--just plain Gary. Not me.
 

Canadian

One of the Regulars
Messages
189
Location
Alberta, Canada
Priests are a tricky one. Sometimes they're a close friend and other times they're the guy at the pulpit.

I'm in the seminary, but I'm not in the priest stream. I plan to be a professional fundraiser to raise money for Anglican mission stations.

When I'm chatting with the priest outside of his office, it's Padre or Father. In his private office, it's generally Sir, or if it's really personal, Canon Robinson. I remember him coming to see me in hospital and he was quite happy to be called Father or Padre.

He's not the kind of friend that I'd call up for a couple pints at the corner bar. But he is the type of friend who I can borrow books from, or ask for help with a seminary work problem. I go to one of the smaller services (that is I frequent the Saturday night service), and he and I count each other as friends.
 

Edward

Bartender
Messages
23,028
Location
London, UK
All depends on the context, really... I'm perfectly happy for the kids I teach here in London (both undergraduate and postgraduate law students, anything from 21 up... and I've had a few a good twenty years older than me) to address me by my first name, although I do appreciate the courtesy when they wait for me to indicate that is appropriate (typically the first email or two will be "Professor Marlowe", and I'll sign off as "Edward"). If somebody has directly narked me in a service capacity and I want them to make it up, though.... heh.

The only time I can ever recall using my letters on a non-work related communication was when I was unfairly charged an overdue fee for my visa payments. Everyone knows those are letters relating to law degrees, and boy did they crawl when they phoned me to sort it all out. lol
 
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