How do senior citizens address people who are younger than themselves?

I am 70-years-old.

As a child I was taught to address all adults whose names I don't know as either "sir" or "ma'am." Throughout my life I continued to address all adults whose names I don't know as "sir" or "ma'am" if they physically appear to be older than teenagers (judgement call here).

As an adult, the females who I perceive to be teenagers I address as "miss," while males who I perceive to be teenagers I address as "mister." I never address any males whom I perceive as being younger than me as "son," which I find to be condescending (older adults addressed me as "son" when I was in my 20's and 30's.)

12 Answers

  • Janet
    Lv 7
    3 months ago
    Best answer

    I use "Sir" and "Ma'am" sometimes, in casual passing interactions with people who have to work with the general public a lot. And are therefore often treated rudely and can USE being shown a bit of respect.

    Especially so, I saw them being treated rudely by someone.

    Bus drivers, sales clerks, supermarket employees, etc.

    Sometimes on other occasions. Although many other times I just don't address them at all ... I'll say something, but not use a form of address or a label or a name.

    And yes, like you, I don't use Sir/Ma'am for teens (judgment call, as you say).

  • 2 months ago

    I have a tendency to call a lot of people "dear", it was what one of my Grandmothers did.

  • RP
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    I was raised to never address elders by their first name. Now, there aren't many people older than me, but I make a continuous, conscious effort to treat everyone, regardless of age, with the same dignity and respect I hope they'll afford me.

  • P.L.
    Lv 6
    3 months ago

    It depends on the situation. Sometimes it is only necessary to answer their question. If I need to ask somebody else something I usually just say "Excuse me, I wonder if you could help me".....etc. Usually no need of a title in most instances.

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  • Ron
    Lv 6
    3 months ago

    I use "my friend". That covers all ages

  • Anonymous
    3 months ago

    They say, "YOU!!"

    Source(s): #Life
  • susan
    Lv 7
    3 months ago

    I can't think of anything better than the way you've been doing it.

  • oikoσ
    Lv 7
    3 months ago

    That depends on the situation. In formal situations, Ms (assuming you don't know her marital status), Mr, or Doctor. Use of the first name is an invitation to respond casually, as to an equal, even if you would be P.O.ed if they did it. "Young man" or "young lady" is a bit condescending to anyone over the age of puberty. I've never called anyone "son", even the children of women I've had sexual intercourse with.

  • 3 months ago

    You could call them "young man" or "young lady", but not "cad" or "hussie". If the kid is younger than a teen, then "boy" or "girl" might work.

  • Sandy
    Lv 7
    3 months ago

    kids these days are so ill-mannered, I doubt they even acknowledge how you address them. address them by name if you know it, or just speak to them without the title. they're so stupid they won't even notice.

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