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Old 19 September 2014, 12:32 AM
quink quink is offline
 
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Default Do you call people by name when you talk to them?

This is kind of an odd question: Do you use people's names when you're talking to them?

I've noticed that I very rarely call people by name to their face. It's so rare that I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've actually said my husband's name to him*. About the only time I'll call someone by name if I'm trying to get their attention in a situation with multiple people. I also don't tend to say 'sir', 'ma'am', 'Doctor', 'Officer' or 'Sweetie' or any other forms of address. I'm polite, but names and titles just never roll off my tongue when I'm talking to someone.

* While I was trying to figure out how often I call my husband by name, I remembered that I once had a boyfriend who actually seemed upset that I didn't use his name in conversation with him. I hadn't really thought about it since then (there were plenty of other things going on in that relationship), but I guess it was something that stood out and bothered him.

I do notice it when other people throw names into one-on-one conversation. To me it sounds... not exactly phony, but very obvious. It was a conversation with a co-worker that got me thinking about this, because she said my name three times while we were having a short chat and it stood out. I really noticed it back when I was watching a lot of realty porn on HGTV and the realtors seemed to drop the homeowners names into every second sentence. I've seen advice saying that that using someone's name will forge a connection and make people feel more comfortable, but I almost find it a bit creepy when someone says my own name to me while they already have my attention. I'll feel more comfortable if the conversation just flows, rather than having my own name jump out at me every few sentences.

The downside is that I'm terrible at remembering the names of casual friends, because after the initial introduction, you rarely hear the name again. I'm actually grateful that we have a natural name dropper in my current running group, because she's reinforced everyone's name enough that I don't have to ask about "Orange Shoe Guy" or "Pink Headband".

I think part of it might be regional, since it seems like it's less common to use names and titles in conversation here than to not use them. You don't hear a lot of 'sir' and 'ma'am' compared to what I've heard in parts of the US, for example. Inserting names into conversation is rare enough that I really notice it when it happens, so I don't think it's all that common. I'm not sure, though.
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  #2  
Old 19 September 2014, 12:38 AM
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No. I'm pretty sure the only times I call people by their name is when I'm trying to get their attention.
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  #3  
Old 19 September 2014, 12:40 AM
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Cervus Cervus is offline
 
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The only times I've been addressed by name during a conversation, in the way you describe, is when a salesperson is trying to sell me something, or when I'm on the phone with a CSR who's been told to address customers by name in every sentence. Normal people just don't talk that way, and it indeed jumps out at me. Once you have someone's attention, you don't need to say their name again when you're talking one-on-one.
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Old 19 September 2014, 12:44 AM
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I agree with Cervus. The other time I see people using someone's name when talking to them is because they are either attempting to memorize their name or providing proof that they have already done so.
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Old 19 September 2014, 12:45 AM
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Some people recommend using a person's name three times in a conversation as an aide-memoire: it helps you remember their names.
I don't use people's names unless I need to get their attention or am in a group and am directing a comment at someone specifically. However, I am crap with names as a result and it was embarrassing at a recent church meeting when I had to admit that I didn't know anyone's name to put in an announcement about our group, despite the fact that I have been there since before Easter. (In my defense, I did learn all the names of another small group and remember them...)
I know my co-workers names but past co-workers are hit or miss. I may recognize them facially but not know their names at all. One such incident, in which it was clear she remembered my name, caused me to ask my sister for the woman's first name, and I remembered her last name the next day when packing.
Other times I might know I know someone but not how. That really bugs me. If I was better with names I might be able to avoid that.
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  #6  
Old 19 September 2014, 08:23 AM
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If it's one-on-one, I usually use names only to get someone's attention. In groups I use names more often.
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  #7  
Old 19 September 2014, 09:24 AM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
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The second person words in Japanese tend to be either condescending or personal so I use family names (with the appropriate honorific). That can be awkward so we often use the passive tense or just leave the subject off. At home and with very good friends we use given names or nicknames, almost never second person (unless we're being silly or, say, angry, for example - then we might use a condescending one, extremely courteous one, or one of many rude ones). Actually, it's not that unusual to use ones own name (without any honorifics) instead of first person. It depends on the context but all pronoun-like words have nuances. Names are fairly neutral.
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  #8  
Old 19 September 2014, 01:43 PM
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I use names rarely in casual conversation but I'm big on "Sir" and "Ma'am"s. I guess it is childhood training. If I was speaking to an adult who was not one of my many honorary aunts and uncles, I was told to say "Mrs. Name" or ma'am.
I think this was my mother's work. I always called her "Mother" but Daddy got the nicknames.

In phone conversations, like to customer service numbers, I use names a lot more. Mostly I want the representatives to know that I know with whom I'm dealing and secondly to underscore my being polite. Polite customers, in my opinion, get more results. Polite customers with call logs get more and better results.
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  #9  
Old 19 September 2014, 02:26 PM
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Seaboe Muffinchucker Seaboe Muffinchucker is offline
 
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I've been called by name (and called other by name) during one on one conversations where there are a number of people present, and when trying to get someone to listen. Other than that, no.

Seaboe
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Old 19 September 2014, 03:08 PM
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Not usually, which is why it can be jarring when characters address each other by name in a two-person conversation:
"Mulder, there's no such thing as aliens!"
"But Scully, what about that spaceship hovering right above us?"
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  #11  
Old 19 September 2014, 03:35 PM
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IIRC, quink, like me, lives in a home with only one other human. I know that if I'm speaking to the cats, the tone of my voice changes, so if I'm talking in the "talk to humans" voice rather than the "talk to the cats" voice, it's obvious I'm speaking to the other human.
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Old 19 September 2014, 05:48 PM
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No, nor do I use titles. That's why I'm baffled when we get in these conversations about what to call someone (Mr., Ms. Mrs., etc.). If there's confusion or question, don't call them anything. "Excuse me, do you know..." if you need to get their attention works MOST of the time. You still have the problem of how to refer to them in conversation, but that's largely dependent on your audience.

For instance, my father's mother never told my mother what to call her after my parents got married. In the beginning, she was too shy to ask. After awhile, it was just too ridiculous to ask. So for forty years, she never, not once called her anything. In conversations with other people, she was Mrs. Smith, your grandmother, Bob's mother, etc. And they had a very good relationship. My grandmother never noticed. And believe me, if she'd noticed, she'd've said something.
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Old 19 September 2014, 06:28 PM
Sooeygun Sooeygun is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quink View Post
It's so rare that I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've actually said my husband's name to him*.
I noticed that about my husband and I. We call each other hon or sweetie if we need to get the other's attention, and only refer to each other by name when conversing with a third person.

At home it's just the two of us, so we don't even need to get each other's attention most of the time. The conversations we have with the cat are quite obviously with the cat, not usually confused with conversing with each other. If he says, 'what do you want, are you hungry, little miss?' I can be sure it's not directed at me.
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Old 19 September 2014, 06:36 PM
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For instance, my father's mother never told my mother what to call her after my parents got married. In the beginning, she was too shy to ask. After awhile, it was just too ridiculous to ask. So for forty years, she never, not once called her anything. In conversations with other people, she was Mrs. Smith, your grandmother, Bob's mother, etc. And they had a very good relationship. My grandmother never noticed. And believe me, if she'd noticed, she'd've said something.[/QUOTE]

My parents joked about my brother-in-law never calling them anything. Then sister had a baby. So then BIL could call my mom Grandma which she's been for 22 years now. (My dad passed away just before my nephew was born.)
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Old 19 September 2014, 06:46 PM
quink quink is offline
 
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We, uh, kind of talk in Cheezeburger speak to the cat. If I say 'Any idea what you want for dinner?', I'm talking to the hubby. If I say 'Aw, is your bowl full of starvings?', I'm probably talking to the cat. If I say 'why don't we have food replicators yet?!', I'm probably talking to myself.
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Old 19 September 2014, 07:33 PM
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Lainie Lainie is offline
 
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Don't feel bad. I said we have a "cat voice" but we actually have multiple "cat voices," depending on which cat we're speaking to.
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Old 19 September 2014, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cervus View Post
The only times I've been addressed by name during a conversation, in the way you describe, is when a salesperson is trying to sell me something, or when I'm on the phone with a CSR who's been told to address customers by name in every sentence.
I find this significantly annoying. It's made worse by the fact that they're almost certainly calling me by my first name, which is on the account or the credit card because that's what the bank has, and which is what the bank has because that's what the SSA has. It is not however the name I ordinarily go by -- so not only are they using my name every third word, but it's not the right name.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
I've been called by name (and called other by name) during one on one conversations where there are a number of people present, and when trying to get someone to listen. Other than that, no.
I think that's basically what I do: if I'm trying to get somebody's attention, or to specify which of a group I'm talking to if I'm saying something addressed more to that specific person than to the group as a whole.

That of course presumes that I know the name. I'm partly faceblind, not great at voices, and bad at names unless I've written them down a number of times. It seems very common around here to greet people by name when running into them on the street or in a store; while the name is generally not repeated over and over through the conversation, I think using it once with the first greeting is a way of saying "I recognize who you are!" Unfortunately, I often can't respond in kind, and usually have to settle for something along the lines of "Hi! How are you doing?" with no name attached.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
Don't feel bad. I said we have a "cat voice" but we actually have multiple "cat voices," depending on which cat we're speaking to.
I guess we must mostly speak to the cats in the same voice as to humans; at any rate, judging by the number of times "I didn't hear you " or "What was that?" gets responded to by, "Oh, sorry! I was talking to the cat!"
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Old 20 September 2014, 12:41 AM
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Most of the time I don't because most of the time, I'm lucky if I know their name. Names go in one ear and out the other with me. Even before the hippocampus can fully register it. Basically, when someone introduces themselves, I hear, "I'm blah." I used to figure out other peoples' names by listening to what other people call them but apparently everyone's stopped referring to people by name so I'm screwed. I suppose I could just ask for their name but I'm always afraid I'll get some response along the lines of "How can you not know who I am? I pulled you from that burning train just last week!"
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Old 20 September 2014, 03:37 AM
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Latiam Latiam is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
I guess we must mostly speak to the cats in the same voice as to humans; at any rate, judging by the number of times "I didn't hear you " or "What was that?" gets responded to by, "Oh, sorry! I was talking to the cat!"
We sometimes use cat-talk and sometimes normal voices with Little One, but as the normal voices are in conversations she is participating in, the distinction is apparent. My mother's favourite situation is when she can't hear the cat and can faintly hear something along the lines of, "no.(pause) No! (pause) NO! (pause) We are not going outside! (longer pause) OH, ALL RIGHT! No, not now. Let me get my book and shoes. Cool it! We're going!"
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Old 20 September 2014, 04:04 AM
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The last few dregs of foreign language I remember are reserved for talking to my cat.

In the history recreation group I belong everyone chooses a medieval name to go by. It is weird these day because of Facebook I've been called by my given name more than ever. I've made it a point to call these friends by their chosen names but it is becoming a struggle to remember.
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