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How would you address a deputy?

     
8:45 pm on Mar 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I know this isn't tech, but this is literally the ONLY forum I use where people don't know me! So I'm kind of stuck.

I need to call a Sheriff's deputy about a personal matter, nothing negative, just seeking information. Socially speaking, he would be considered of a slightly lower rank than I am, so I'm not calling from a subservient position. But I'm not his supervisor or anything like that, either. Think more like... an elected official.

He has emailed me and referred to me as "Mr. CSDude", and signed the email as "Lieutenant John Doe". The email is super professional, no pleasantries or anything.

When I call him, should I refer to him as Lieutenant, John, or other? I don't want to come across as intimidating, but I don't want to come across as intimidated, either.
8:55 pm on Mar 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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General rule of thumb is treat others as you would like to be treated. As for using a title, let the other reveal if that is their choice.
9:12 pm on Mar 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The proper way to address him would be "Mr. Doe".
9:17 pm on Mar 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It is never wrong to address people by title and surname.
10:14 pm on Mar 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It is never wrong to address people by title and surname.


completely agree*, additionally i personally am happy to call people sir or madam - none of which make me feel or imply that i'm intimidating/intimitated or more/less than.

* i think, theoretically with various british aristocrats there are a whole bunch of other salutations ... although generally a 'my lord/lady' is a reasonable catch all and i suspect judges on both sides of the pond don't like mr/mrs.

[edited by: topr8 at 10:34 pm (utc) on Mar 7, 2019]

10:19 pm on Mar 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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signed the email as "Lieutenant John Doe"
Then I would use "Lt. Doe" to start, or just Lieutenant.
12:56 am on Mar 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I chose to go with Lieutenant. Thanks for the advise!

This is trickier than a lot of people think, you usually say "Mr. Doe" or "sir" to someone that you perceive to be in a higher social rank... for example, you might call your boss Mr. Doe, but it's rare for the boss to call the janitor Mr. Smith in return (unless he's considerably older, which has a separate connotation). These are natural indicators of submission.

It's basically taking a power position: sitting behind a large desk, asking the guest to sit while you stand, wearing a suit to a meeting where everyone else is business casual. These are all forms of domination.

So when you don't want to be overbearing, but also don't want to take the subservient role, it's tricky. In this case I needed to take a lead role, but not to the point that it seems bullish. Inviting him to my office, then greeting him at the door, offering him a drink, and sitting next to him would be appropriate in person. But on the phone you can't really do that.

Oh, the joys of office politics! lol
1:06 am on Mar 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Then again, you can sometimes out think yourself. :)

We are, as always, human beings first. We have names, and use them. Titles are for JOBS, not the human being. People sometimes confuse that.

Ordinary courtesy is the best way to go.