Some of you may remember the title quote from the movie American Pie. While some Orlandons would like to think that “a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet,” they are wrong. How we address people, especially in a cultural conglomerate such as Orlando, denotes how we feel towards them and about ourselves.
The “self-fulfilling prophecy” posits that how we feel about people creates the condition for us to be more aware, sensitive, and erroneous to their actions. For example, if Bob has a strong disdain for Sue, Bob is more likely to think everything Sue does is wrong or perceive her actions erroneously. A simple “hello” from Sue may garner negative emotions from Bob. However, if Bob thought kindly of Sue, he would be less likely to perceive a simple “hello” as hostile.
Accordingly, in an era of text lingo and abbreviations, many people tend to shorten things, including names. Perhaps “Richard” is not fond of being called “Rich,” “Rick,” or “Dick.” In some extreme cases noted in Orlando, Richard may be addressed as “Tom” even if Richard’s emails and other correspondences contain his proper name.
Those who elect to address Richard improperly by calling him other names are showing that they have a blatant disrespect and disregard for others. They feel they are too important to be polite and show proper etiquette. It is very selfish and rude to continue to address people by names other than their own and against their wishes. Those people have a sense of self-importance and feel they are too busy to show common courtesy.
What about shortening names to only the first letter of the name? That is pretentious in a professional, business realm. It may be appropriate to address your best friend, Barbara, as “B;” however, if someone is hiring or interviewing you, it is highly inappropriate. Would you want to hire someone who shows no courtesy to you or does not respect authority?
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