Thus begins Moby Dick. Of course, I am more likely to say: “You can call me anything you like as long as it’s not late for dinner.”
I have always believed that what YOU call yourself and what you want others to call you is one of the most important pieces of information you can know about someone. This is why we have a “Greeting to use” box in our membership directory.
When my son Michael was growing up we mostly called him Mike. The reason was that this is what he put on all of his papers at school. Only later did we learn that he preferred Michael and only used Mike because it took less time to write. (Go figure.)
What you want others to call you needs to be communicated and I find that many folks don’t understand the importance to THEMSELVES of hearing their name (the sweetest sound in the world) being whispered in their ear (over the telephone) or appearing properly right after the word “Dear.”
If you want others to know what you want to be called, you have to tell them. This means if you are a Robert and they call you Rob, sign your name that way. If you are a James D. Smith and they call you Don, sign Don. Please don’t let me be embarrassed in any way shape or form (I like that expression, don’t you?) by keeping your true name hidden.
This simple philosophy should be applied to name badges and tents. (You can even have it monogrammed on your clothes if you like.)
I know you are all going to hate me for bringing this up again, but “the beatings will continue until morale improves.” Your best email friend for getting this accomplished remains that tried and true “outgoing signature.”
In its many variations based on whether you are writing to friends, family or responding to job postings you can ensure that the correct information appears. This is the place where “formal” and “informal” variations of your name should appear.
And, PLEASE don’t make me guess. I’m really not very good at it.
(Make me guess and I just might call you Ishmael.)