Nicknames. They can be sweet or endearing, but they can also be incredibly annoying. We are a culture that wants to use nicknames rather than addressing people by the names given them at birth. Why we do this, I have no idea. What I do know is that many of our older clients are very particular about how they are addressed. The My Divine Concierge staff tries very hard to be respectful of each client’s preference in this regard.
From our perspective, how you address a person is directly related to your familiarity and the level of respect they deserve. For example, it is generally considered rude and disrespectful for children to address their parents by their first names. We just don’t do it, at least in most households. But similar rules exist when addressing your elders outside of family relationships. There are even rules for addressing complete strangers regardless of relative age.
Do You Prefer Mr. or Mrs.?
Some of our clients prefer to be addressed with formal titles like Mr. or Mrs. We don’t have a problem with this at all. Such formal titles are a throwback to a past generation when people addressed everyone who was not a family member or close friend using a formal title. Doing so was considered proper and respectful.
It’s still a good idea in 2016 for children to use the formal titles when addressing adults who are not family or family friends. We will address our clients this way if that is what they prefer.
Do You Prefer Your First Name?
Though formal titles are still used in some circles, today it’s much more common for us to address other adults by their first names. This is completely acceptable and something that we are all comfortable with. Using a first name is still respectful but does not cross the line of being overly familiar, except in rare cases. As a general rule, though, it is probably best to address adults by their full first names rather than abbreviated versions. For instance, use “Francis” instead of “Frankie”.
Do You Prefer a Nickname?
We have some clients who believe a formal title is too formal but who also do not like their first names. They request that we address them by a nickname they’ve used all their lives. A good example is “Bud”. This is a relatively common nickname for older men who may have earned it while serving in the military or during their college years. The name just stuck as a replacement for a first name they were not fond of.
Our staff is more than happy to address clients using nicknames as long as those names are made clear to us. It can be a very tricky situation, so if we make a mistake and get it wrong, please be patient.
Do You Prefer Pet Names?
Last but not least is the rare occasion when a client wants to be addressed by a pet name. Often these pet names may be special due to their association with spouses or other loved ones who have passed on. Other times the names might relate to a past career or a favorite hobby. If we do use one of these names, we try to always remember that they represent a level of familiarity not to be taken for granted.
How do you prefer to be addressed? When you hire My Divine Concierge to assist you at home or in the office, we are happy to address you according to whatever makes you comfortable. Just say the word and we will use it. We only ask that you be clear and concise about your preferences so that there is never any question that could lead to hurt feelings or a perceived lack of respect.