Day 394: What’s in a name?

OprahNameA friend once told me that her parents taught her to always greet people by name — rather than just an anonymous “hey you” or “wassup?”

I’ve always associated over-using people’s names with a sales pitch. As in, “Hello, Jane Doe. How are you, Jane Doe? Can I sell you some snake oil, Ms. Doe, or can I call you Jane?”

But today I thought I’d give it a try and see if people appreciate that personal touch of hearing their name.

I started with the gentleman who sells the Outreach Connection newspaper on a corner near the subway. I hadn’t expected to see him again so soon.

“Hi, Mr. Singh,” I greeted him.

He threw his head back and laughed. “No ‘Mister’,” he said, smiling. “Just ‘John’ is okay.”

“Okay then. Hi John!” I said, laughing too.

We chatted for a minute and I told him he’d better get out of the rain that was starting to come down. Little did I know that I’d be the one to get completely soaked about five minutes later. I was so drenched, my toenails felt soggy.

Anyway, Mr. Singh had thought it was silly for me, a customer, to address him as “Mister.” But he’s at least 15 years my senior, and it has a nice, respectful ring to it, I thought.

I remember, as kids, it was always understood that we would address my parents’ friends and adult neighbours as Mrs. Smith or Mr. Jones and aunts and uncles as Aunt Millie or Uncle Jack. You get the picture.

That seems to have all changed … last weekend, I heard one of the Sunday school kids calling the priest, “dude.”

Oh yeah, my good deed … I did try to use people’s names throughout the day. I couldn’t tell if they liked it or not but at least I didn’t get anyone’s name wrong … yet.

P.S. The name of the person who wrote this song is Colbie Caillat. Enjoy!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Day 394: What’s in a name?

  1. Heather

    Hey there Good Deeder! :^) This entry just caught my eye. I haven’t been able to sleep (I have to get up in 20 minutes to pack the car to be outta here by 4:00 a.m.).

    We’ve been having a debate over this here at home. Our son has called several of our dearest friends by their first names since he was very young. We’d never taken to calling our friends Mr. or Mrs. anything in front of him, so he naturally addressed them in the same manner.

    Now that he’s older and making new friends in high school, it always amuses me when they address me as a “Mrs.” I’m not used to it! After I get to know them I’ll reassure them it’s alright for them to address me by my first name and I will not take any offense. His father isn’t too sure about this…

    My son’s name, being the same name as his father’s, has caused great confusion with all of these new high school and after school organization peers. I bet you can imagine the fun we have when girls call the house and they don’t realize they’re speaking to the object of their affection’s father. :^)

    On a different note, I’ve noticed, since I typically sign most of my emails with my initials vs. my true full name, a lot of my business colleagues have begun addressing me like I’m some sort of an internet acronym. Imagine the look on a production partner’s wife’s face when she’s overheard him calling me BB and all she’s caught was “baby”. eek!

  2. LOL, a definite hazard of having “BB” initials. I kind of like the formal forms of address … anything but “maam”!

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