Call me Amanda (unless I tell you not to)
Did you see this video? Maya Angelou corrects a young woman for calling her ‘Maya’ while asking a question. She tells her to call her Ms. Angelou because, well, the young lady just hasn’t earned the right to call her anything but.
And, I agree.
(Fun fact: Maya isn’t her given name. It’s Marguerite and Maya is her nickname/pen name)
I grew up in dance. We were taught to address our teachers as Miss/Ms. (their first name). It’s just simple respect. They knew more about what I wanted to know, and they were my elders. It’s how I addressed my teachers at school, and my friend’s parents, unless they gave me permission/requested I call them by their first name.
I don’t call my doctors by their first names, either…not even the doctors I worked for. I mean, they studied hard for that title, and again — it’s just respect. I also make sure that my son addresses his doctors by Dr. (their last name) whenever we’re there.
(SN: It does make me wonder what I’d want my son’s friends to refer to me as when he gets older. Mrs. Vandenbergh? I don’t know if I like how…mature…that sounds)
And, isn’t it weird when someone in a professional setting uses your name in a personal way? For example, if you’re talking to a customer service rep, or a server in a restaurant, or an unfamiliar healthcare provider — especially if you’re disagreeing on something. It’s like, WHOA — when did my name become an insult? I’m Mrs. Vandenbergh to you.
You might as well have ma’amed me and there is no coming back from ma’am for me.
At the end of the day, I agree with Ms. Angelou (who I have always loved and really don’t think I could ever disagree with her on a single thing). After all, there’s no such thing as having too much respect or being too polite.