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#1 Posted by personandstuff (644 posts) -

So, I get called "Sir" a lot, especially when I'm wearing my work clothes. And maybe this is irrational, bred out of insecurity about my age/job, but I really do not like it. Especially when it's someone older than me. My boss calls me sir.

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#2 Posted by hermes (2605 posts) -

Yes, they do. I am called "Sir" by people that are my same age.

No, I don't like it.

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#3 Posted by shorap (421 posts) -

Yeah I've been getting "sir" the last few years, since my mid 30s, and don't like it as well. Not necessarily because of the age thing (though that does play a part) but because I've never liked formal shit like that.

I've hardly ever called any elder that and speak to them just like I do any adult. Turns out men at almost any age don't like being called it. I think, for most, it's morphed from being a respect thing to being a label indicating age.

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#4 Edited by azulot (272 posts) -

I don't mind it. I also get "Miss" as well. I grew up in the south so it was a normal thing for me when relating with adults.

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#5 Posted by Busto1299 (251 posts) -

@azulot: Yeah I grew up in the south too and for people who may not know it's expected of us to say sir or miss or ma'am. For us it wasn't an age thing but it was out of respect

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#6 Posted by Slag (8157 posts) -

Yeah all the time, don't mind it.

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#7 Posted by wchigo (900 posts) -

Well when I'm in any kind of service establishment, it's kind of normal. Working at a hotel, I'm used to calling people Sir or Miss before I know their name, at which point I refer to them as Mr. or Ms *blank* unless they tell me to just call them by their first name.

I'm used to it by now considering I'm in my early 30s and for work there's no way around it. Well, being that I work in China, I sometimes get called in different ways that don't directly translate to English but are basically terms of respect similar to a Sir (or if we're to use Yakuza 0 terminology, could be something similar to 'aniki.')

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#8 Posted by CorpseMachine (20 posts) -

I demand that people call me "sir". I didn't work my way up to assistant manager of the Southeast region's second highest earning Pizza Hut franchise by letting fuckers walk all over me. When they've reached the level of respect and success that I have they'll understand. You address doctor's at "Dr" right? Know your place and know when respect is due.

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#9 Posted by Slaps2 (638 posts) -

Sir or maam for people who are older, and usually miss or buddy for people my age. It's becoming more apparent to me, though, that bud and buddy are not welcome or endearing on the west coast.

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#10 Posted by DinosaurCanada (938 posts) -

I kinda like it. Feels pretty good.

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#11 Edited by fisk0 (6867 posts) -

We don't use titles at all in my country, so no. We just call each other by first name or "you" if it's not known.

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#12 Posted by Hamst3r (5480 posts) -

Yes. It doesn't bother me really, but I'd love for the practice to go away just because I think it's dumb. Shaking hands as a greeting, that can go too.

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#13 Posted by GiantLennonx_x (388 posts) -

M'am is okay, it doesn't bother me and I know when it used most are just being courteous. My Friend on the other hand *hates* being referred to as m'am 😅

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#15 Posted by Max_Cherry (1588 posts) -

I don't use sir or ma'am and if someone called me sir I would ask them to please stop doing it.

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#16 Posted by Ravelle (3305 posts) -

They do at restaurants and when kids are at my door.

I feel a bit weird though when people call me Sir but I guess there's not many things to address someone politely.

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#17 Posted by DarkNovember (26 posts) -

I don't know what predates it is what bothers me. What was I called as a child, the equivalent of "sir, wait, you dropped your wallet" was what "hey you" "hey kid" "big fella"? Don't remember.

I usually got "young man", or "Hey...!" being said at a higher-than-normal octave in order to get my attention if my back was turned to them (sort of akin to a dog, now that I think about it...) :P

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#18 Posted by ShaggE (9262 posts) -

I got my first "sir" a couple years ago at 29 from a group of kids, and it was like a miniature existential crisis, haha.

I use it myself on occasion out of a show of respect, and I always hope I'm not being unintentionally insulting.

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#19 Posted by spamfromthecan (129 posts) -

The "sir" and "mister" started once the grey hair started. And to be honest, I don't mind either. But I've never been called this by someone older than me though. That might actually bother me. I also have always referred to my elders in that manner also.

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#20 Posted by Shindig (4912 posts) -

When kids and their parents refer to you as 'man' is the bigger head exploder. That's when you realise you're an adult.

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#21 Posted by fledeye (259 posts) -

The only time I've been called ma'am is when I was childminding for families living in the UK on the US naval base. The kids would always call me ma'am or miss (my real first name pronounced wrongly). I hated it, but they refused to call me by my nickname or shortened version of my first name.

I've always taken that over polite, saccharin-ness to be an American thing because of that.

I'd only call royalty, knights or dames "sir" or "ma'am" as it's their proper title, but I guess those ranks don't exist in the US so the title doesn't mean as much.

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#22 Posted by theoracleofgame (132 posts) -

I think I get called "sir" too much because I dress relatively formally for my age. I'm only 21 and I get called it all the time. The first time was definitely an existential crisis.

After the initial shock? It's fine.

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#23 Posted by Casepb (674 posts) -

Yeah ever since I was 18 and grew a full fledged beard lol. I never minded it.

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#24 Posted by AzlamOrlandu (54 posts) -

I use them both out of respect for people. It has nothing to do with the age of the person I'm addressing. But I am familiar with the stigma that it implies that you're old.

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#25 Posted by JJWeatherman (15100 posts) -

I work in customer service and have somehow found myself using the word sir a whole lot. I never used it growing up. Kinda weird. I guess I use it pretty casually, though.

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#26 Posted by FlashFlood_29 (4415 posts) -

"Thank you, sir," is a phrase I use very often. Friends, coworkers, everyone. It's a very casual tone, though. Besides that, I don't use the word much in any other way. I said "Sir," a lot during my sports years so it just kind of carried over.

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#27 Edited by hollitz (2375 posts) -

I don't like saying it or hearing it.

It has no meaning anymore thanks to our need to have customer service people be subservient to us.

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#28 Posted by berniesbc (250 posts) -

I work in customer service. I use sir constantly. Ma'am is a little more dicey. Lots of women find ma'am insulting. I'll only say it if the woman is much older than me. Sir is just a solid catch all.

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#29 Posted by GuitarGod (134 posts) -

I'm in my early 20's and I get called sir a lot. I don't even look that old, kinda weirds me out. Like the other day I picked up a pizza from dominos and the cashier called me sir and she was clearly the same age as me. Like I'm not a "sir" in just a young guy same age as you.

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#30 Posted by Belegorm (1848 posts) -

I worked in retail. I used "sir" and "ma'am" all the time, it's just what you'd use if you didn't know a customer's name. I don't mind being called "sir" in my mind it doesn't have to do with age.

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#31 Edited by alwaysbebombing (2702 posts) -

They always sound a little murder-y to me

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#32 Posted by Relkin (1166 posts) -

I don't use either very often (apart from work), and I don't mind saying it or hearing it. I'm surprised to see so many/any at all against the use of those terms. They're both such innocuous words.

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#33 Posted by FacelessVixen (2577 posts) -

Someone calling me "sir" is okay for a lack of knowing my first name. Calling me "mister" makes me feel old, granted that I'm only 27 at the moment.

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#34 Edited by ToTheNines (1672 posts) -

as a european, from a european country where we don't do that honorific thing, I always thought it was a sign of respect? curious.

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#35 Edited by deactivated-5a00c029ab7c1 (1777 posts) -

I prefer to be called asshole.

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#36 Posted by Captain_Insano (3498 posts) -

I am a teacher so "Sir" is the address that I hear most of the time.

It's pretty good.

In general public, I'm fine with whatever. I use "sir" to address people I don't know - obviously depends on the setting but whatever.

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#37 Edited by Shadow (5356 posts) -

no, thankfully

and no

I've also never called anyone those things

as I'm 30 now and don't work for someone who insists on that sort of thing, I don't see myself starting anytime soon

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#38 Posted by Luchalma (538 posts) -

I can't remember the last time I was called sir. But I wouldn't mind it if someone did. My wife doesn't like being called ma'am though. Thinks it makes her sound old I guess.

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#39 Edited by CrazyBagMan (1647 posts) -

I've worked service jobs and have no idea what to call someone aside from sir or ma'am, whose name I don't know. Hey guy!

It's just polite.

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#40 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (7831 posts) -

I remember the first time I was called sir was when I was somewhere in my late teens and it kinda weirded me out. Still haven't gotten used to it, but I don't mind really.

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#41 Posted by Milkman (19286 posts) -

I guess if I'm at a restaurant or something, the waiter will say "sir" but I definitely don't get it at work. I don't necessarily dislike being called it, I don't have much of an opinion one way or another. However, maybe this is some sort of distrust of authority complex but I REALLY do not like saying it.

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#42 Posted by Bamse (66 posts) -

Where I live, it's like the premise of a handshake evolving into a hug over time. If we don't know the person thus short relations, we shake hands. So we always say sir and ma'am equivalently.

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#43 Posted by Zomgfruitbunnies (1281 posts) -

Aren't sir and madam/miss just the appropriate terms for addressing strangers? I guess if you're really young, it can come across a little weird, but once you're an adult it's pretty much the norm.

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#44 Posted by BigSocrates (1966 posts) -

Not really outside of retail situations or like phone support. I have kind of a young face, and the company where I work has a policy where everyone, up to the big bossman, is called by their first name. So even as I move into a supervisory role I do not get called "sir" at work.

I would not like being called sir at work. Not because it would make me feel old (I'm pretty much middle aged and I accept that) but because I don't like the hierarchy element.

I don't mind it in a retail environment because what are they going to call me? "Hey, you?"

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#45 Posted by jkz (4286 posts) -

Aren't sir and madam/miss just the appropriate terms for addressing strangers? I guess if you're really young, it can come across a little weird, but once you're an adult it's pretty much the norm.

Right? I dunno what else I'd even use to address strangers in public, and I'm far from a lover of formalities. Never really thought overmuch about it though.

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#46 Posted by Rahf (493 posts) -

"Don't call me sir. I work for a living."

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#47 Posted by ZolRoyce (1589 posts) -

@jkz said:
@zomgfruitbunnies said:

Aren't sir and madam/miss just the appropriate terms for addressing strangers? I guess if you're really young, it can come across a little weird, but once you're an adult it's pretty much the norm.

Right? I dunno what else I'd even use to address strangers in public, and I'm far from a lover of formalities. Never really thought overmuch about it though.

Yeah, I mean maybe it's different in different countries/regions, but where I'm from at least (Canada) it was always ingrained into me to call a stranger Sir or Ma'am/Miss if you needed to address them, 'excuse me sir! you dropped something miss!'

As such I've been called sir once or twice, doesn't happen often though, and in a few places of business I get called sir. It is reserved for adults though obviously.
And I very much don't feel like an adult often, so it's a little weird sometimes to hear it. But I guess I technically am.

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#48 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (3662 posts) -

I correct them.

"Actually, I'm a Laird. I didn't receive that Lairdship gift certificate for Christmas for nothing".

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#49 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7536 posts) -

I don't mind it. When I started work my colleagues asked if their kids shoudl address me by my given name (Lincoln) or Mr. Thurber [surname]. I said just called me by my given name.

Where I live there are a lot of folks for the various caribbean islands, so I am addressed as Mr. Lincoln by many of them. And, one man from Jamaica who comes in three times a weeks to pick up the racing forms, who always greets me with a "Gooood Day Sir" or is my assistant is at the desk, "Gooood Day Miss"

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#50 Posted by hnke (188 posts) -

It always has the ring of corporate guidelines to me. When it's combined with the amazing friendliness that service workers in America show you it's a little jarring but not enough to bother me.