Real Talk: Do People Appreciate Being Addressed “Sir” and “Ma’am”/“Miss”?

Harmony S
4 min readJun 20, 2022

Perhaps I use formalities excessively.

Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

I have a confession to make: I cannot kick the habit of addressing people “sir”, “ma’am” or “miss”. I’m not sure where it came from. I’m not from the South, where those formalities are common. Nor was I raised in a particularly strict household that established a hierarchy.

I’ve no real love for authority, either. In fact, I hate being told what to do, and see everyone as equally capable of being ignorant and doing harm, hence my tendency to trust my own judgment a little too much.

I do appreciate offering respect, though. I do not feel comfortable talking to anyone older than me as I would talk to someone my own age. Even someone who is a mere ten years older, I wouldn’t talk to them as I would someone in their 20s, and would address them differently. Anyone with a title, like Doctor or Professor, I’d also be more inclined to address respectfully, as well.

I’ve met some older folks who are taken aback by it, though. And if they tell me to address them by their first name, I might begin to blush, though I’d try to comply.

To give you an example, I had a professor friend a few years ago, and despite the fact she took my insight into consideration when she delegated some research to…



Harmony S

H A P P Y and you should be TOO!!! LIFE IS AMAZING 👏🦝🦄🌺🍭I write for ILLUMINATION, The Memoirist, Fuck Niches, and The Orange Journal.