The one thing everybody owns–a name. Mike, Becky, Matt, or Ashley. Whether they own a business, a car, or a house is trivial, when someone doesn’t call them by name. Persona non grata.
As a teacher, I learned that lesson early in my career. It became more dicey when I taught at the college level, for I had 50+ students each semester. At the first class, I made each student introduce his/herself and noted on the roster some identifying characteristic. By the second class, I was able to call each of them by name. I’d dazzled them, and most of them were stunned. Invariably, each semester one would ask, “Dr. Skidmore, how do you know my name?”
“You know mine, right? Then, I should know yours.”
While I live in a city of over four million people, I’m delighted the grocery store cashiers wear name tags. At the end of my transaction, I thank him/her by name. My favorite waiter is Patrick. The restaurant owner is Michele. Our waitress at Trivia Night is Brie, and her owner/boss is Sharon. Cal runs the best sub shop in my ‘hood.
Though some folk embrace anonymity, I don’t. I believe human interaction is dying–thanks to social media. When I was in high school and wanted to break up with my boyfriend, I told him face-to-face. When I disagreed with one of my professors, I spouted my objection. I certainly didn’t hide behind “Rate Your Professor” under a phony name.
So indulge me. Refer to folk by their first name–the only thing they own. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to see their reactions.