In my office, a newly recruited employee calls me 'Sir'. How can I politely ask him not to call me 'Sir'?

It appears to be simple, but I am finding it hard to address this issue.

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    Believe it or not, some folks really do not like being called sir. – Neo Dec 7 '17 at 13:54
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is not about navigating the workplace. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Dec 7 '17 at 14:09
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    @IDrinkandIKnowThings Sure it does. If you have a co-worker calling you sir.... – Neo Dec 7 '17 at 14:14
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    @MisterPositive - There is nothing about this question or the proper answers to it, that does not change if you remove the in the workplace concept though... that means its not about the workplace. Better asked on IPS and IMO it does not belong here. I am but a single vote though. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Dec 7 '17 at 14:16
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    It actually is very much about the workplace because being in the workplace has different ramifications than in a store or other environments. There's a different level of tact involved for obvious reasons. voting to reopen. – Chris E Dec 7 '17 at 15:45

How can i politely ask him not to call me Sir ?

I always laugh and say "Please call me Joe."

That almost always works. (Although you should probably use your first name rather than "Joe").

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    And here was me about to call my boss "Joe"... Glad you clarified that. :D – user44108 Dec 7 '17 at 14:03
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    “Certainly, Sir Joe!” – Konrad Rudolph Dec 7 '17 at 14:48
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    @Snow I see you're in a Joevial mood ;) – Cronax Dec 7 '17 at 16:00
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    The key is to tell them what to call you instead. If you just say "don't call me Sir" they don't know if they have guessed your gender wrong and prefer Ma'am, or prefer Mr X, or Joe, or "dude" or what. They may end up staring at the floor a lot, not calling you anything, and feeling very uncomfortable. – Kate Gregory Dec 7 '17 at 18:08
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    Just don't call me Shirley. ;) – Johns-305 Dec 7 '17 at 19:53

How can i politely ask him not to call me Sir ?

In my experience, these two approaches have worked well if done in a in a tongue in cheek manner:

"Please do not call me sir, my Dad is a sir, I am just a regular guy."


"I am not an officer, please do not call me sir."

Followed by: "Please call me [whatever you prefer here]".

Rinse and repeat, eventually they should get it.

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    Unless he's dating your daughter, when you do become a Sir. – user44108 Dec 7 '17 at 13:51
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    as of now, dont have daughter. :) – utility Dec 7 '17 at 13:54

As has been said, simply ask that they call you something else. Name, boss, whatever. The problem you're going to face is that, for some, it's an ingrained reaction. In some cultures it's a given that you say "sir" or "ma'am" or some other honorific (`~san", "~senpai", "~sama" in Japanese for example) , and it's been drilled into you for most of your lifetime.

It might be a considerable struggle for that person to remember to call you "Joe". Just remember that if you get frustrated with his continued use of "Sir". I am usually very careful when I speak to a boss when I first get to a job, and continue to say "Sir" and "Ma'am" for a while before I relax into the "daily grind"


It's simple. Stand straight, raise your voice to a commanding tone, and snarl "At ease private!". Then you grin, wait for his grin and high five him. That should solve it.

  • This could backfire if the employee doesn't get it at first or either doesn't have a great sense of humor, and trust a few takes it way to personally... – William-H-M Dec 7 '17 at 15:27
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    This could definitely go sideways on you IMO. – Neo Dec 7 '17 at 15:29
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    Only do this if you happen to know (at least for some time) that person, or if you see people are sir-ing you for a tease. Otherwise, this may startle people that are genuinely calling you sir. – DarkCygnus Dec 7 '17 at 16:00
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    After 12 years of having to call every authority figure "Sir" or "Miss" at school or be subject to detention for not showing proper respect I found it very difficult when I got my first job to adapt. A few weeks before I would have been writing a letter of apology and explaining to my parents why they were called at work and suddenly you're ridiculed by older colleagues for doing the opposite. This is not the way to go, especially if the employee is new to the job and nervous. They're only trying to be respectful and this could easily be taken the wrong way – Lord Jebus VII Dec 7 '17 at 17:03
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    @PeterA.Schneider - teenagers rarely get a say in where they go to school. For adults I agree it's unacceptable and you don't have to put up with it, but new starters may have come straight from school into the workplace and never had the option to go anywhere else. – Lord Jebus VII Dec 8 '17 at 13:41

At my company there is a rule, whoever calls someone sir or madam if they don't want to be addressed that way, the person has to treat the whole office. After this rule, things have changed :)

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