How to Address Others

An important part of manners is how to address people.  This partly depends on whether the person addressed is a man, woman, older, younger, boss or subordinate.  In today’s world, there is a move toward everyone being on a first name basis.  While this may make things more “friendly,” it also tends to make people forget who is the boss and people seem to lose respect for those who have earned it through hard work or by the simple fact of their age.

A friend of mine, who used to work for my father, referred to my father by his title, “Dr. -------,” while at work, but away from work he referred to him by his first name.  Rare are the individuals who can separate their personal relationship from their professional relationship.  Respect begets respect, and studies show that regardless of who you are and where you come from, everyone wants to be treated with respect.

When addressing a subordinate or younger person outside of work it is best to use their sir-name (last name), but it is okay to use their first name if you are familiar with the individual.  When addressing a superior or older person always use their sir-name.  For peers it is okay to use first names, but familiarity can break down the barriers that support proper conduct in professional and personal life.

This move to familiarity is especially confusing for children and young adults who are not yet adept at distinguishing what is proper.  In the past, children called their friends’ parents by Mr. or Mrs. (Sir-name).   It has now become common practice for young people to use first names or at the most formal, Mr. or Mrs. (First-name).  This practice creates a blurring of the lines of authority and a loss of respect.   Adults wanting to be a child’s friend instead of their authority figure or role model has wreaked havoc on the fabric of our society.

Rules of Introductions

  1. When you introduce a friend to a friend, always say the girl’s name first. 
  2. When introducing a friend to an adult, always say the adult’s name first.
  3. Always stand when you are being introduced to someone.
  4. Always look at the person’s eyes, smile, and say something simple and pleasant, such as, “Hello, it’s good to meet you.”  You may want to repeat the person’s name to help remember it.
  5. Men and boys should remove their hat when being introduced.
Use your right hand for handshaking and use a firm grip.