Social Etiquette and Good Manners/addressing professionals


My relative would like to call his/her  Dr, by her first name, citing that he/she doesn't "like" the name Jennifer, but would prefer "Jenny".  I think the Dr.  let this relative know in direct, but polite way that she preferred to be called "Dr." or Dr. ......... So, what do we think of those adults who call professionals (especially those whom it is their very first visit, no less, by their first names?! Please explain what if any rules of etiquette are being broken here.  Thank you! Sharon

Dear Sharon,

This disrespectful behavior is nothing more than a disguised bullying technique. Why would anyone go to a doctor for her professional abilities, and not respect her for that ability by using the appropriate honorific - Dr. ? Your relative may have been raised with insufficient good role models and as a result lacks self esteem. This manifests in rudeness, but is likely based in fear. No matter the dynamic, there is no excuse for rudeness.

Any professional who is bothered by this informality is well within their rights to make it clear that while in her office, she is Dr. (last name). Perhaps she doesn't mind this inappropriate familiarity. Sadly, that would be a sign of the times where boundaries come in too many shades of grey.

I hope this helps.

Kindest regards,

Jay Remer

Social Etiquette and Good Manners

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Jay Remer


I am happy to answer any questions about social or corporate etiquette as well as questions regarding international protocol. It is important to practice civility. It is contagious.


I am certified by the Protocol School of Washington as a consultant for corporate etiquette and international protocol. I have been entertaining and giving advise on entertaining for over 40 years.

Weekly column in Telegraph Journal

Graduate of Protocol School of Washington

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