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More Manners #5: Proper Titles of Respect

More Manners #5
Uses Proper Titles of Respect

Referring to another with the proper title is a social grace that has seemingly fallen through the cracks in most circles in this country. It’s not at all unusal to hear children address adults by their first names or to witness a young adult address his elderly neighbor as “Bill or Fred or Tom.” Yet one who implements proper titles of respect into their conversation truly shines in a world full of dull effort.

As a general rule, a title of respect is given based on Age, Authority or Achievement. So, for example, when you meet someone that is at least a full generation older than you, it’s appropriate to call him/her by their last name until they invite you to do otherwise (“Please, call me Mary.”) 

Additionally, any person who stands in a place of authority over you (whether you agree with their views or not) deserves to be addressed accordingly (“Yes, Your Honor, I understand,” or “Thank you, Officer, for keeping our streets safe.”) Also, a proper title should be extended to those who have achieved a position or advanced degree (“Congratulations, Dr. Smith, on your accomplishment,” or “May I have a word with you, Congressman Jones?”) 

In any business setting, you should never use a person’s first name unless they have directly offered you permission to do so. 

Finally, the genuine use of sir and ma’am are always welcomed when attemtping to show respect. Children should be taught to say “yes, ma’am” and “no, sir” to their parents from a very early age in the home so that it naturally becomes a respectful habit for them in the world-at-large.

**In this self-evaluation series, consider your individual behavioral style and privately rate yourself on each topic from 1 to 5 (1 being Needs Work to 5 being Mastery). 

We encourage you be honest with yourself, and when you discover that you might be a 1, 2 or 3 in any specific area, strive to improve that behavior and seek additional knowledge and guidance if needed.