I recently made a contact for a potential job offer, and I have been addressing him with the "Dr." (he holds a doctorate). Let's say his name is "George McKee", then on his blog, website, and LinkedIn, he is referred to as "Dr. George McKee". I have been addressing him as "Dr. McKee" in our emails, and I noticed that he signs his name with a "g" (for "George") at the end of his emails. Does this mean I can/should call him "George"?

We have not met in person, but most people that know him call him "George".

Also, I am located in the United States, West Coast / Pacific North West


Most of the answers/comments here are right in that I am over-thinking the situation. Perhaps I'm a bit socially anxious around well-educated or professionally accomplished people, as I've never known one personally. I'm the first in my family to venture into the "white-collar" or "college-educated" world, and I haven't had any mentors that understand this problem. I'm just trying to learn the etiquette without sounding robotic/awkward. Hopefully others will find this useful.


2 Answers 2


You're complicating your life. Call him "Dr McKee" until he explicitly tells you otherwise. You say that most people who know him call him "George"- Are you claiming that you know him based on the one or two emails that you sent him? If you do, you can call him "George".

  • "Absolute is the right of any man to spell his name 'Jones' and have it pronounced 'Smith'." If you want to know whether it's OK to call him George, ask him how he'd prefer to be addressed.
    – keshlam
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 20:54
  • @keshlam You will address me as "Mr. Rat" :) Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 21:02
  • @Mr.Rat: Are you really sure you want to make that request? :-P
    – keshlam
    Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 21:15
  • @keshlam Euh Oh - the name looks gorgeous, though. The rat is one of the animals in the Vietnamese calendar :) Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 21:20
  • @Vietnhi For non-technical communication, someone told me it's about how you say it, rather than what you say. It's a bit trickier in email/electronic communication, but I'll try to remember that advice. Thanks for the help! Commented Oct 1, 2014 at 23:22

This depends a lot on your location, it's simply a matter of manners which are bound by countries and locations.

Where I come from you never address anyone with their last-name, but then again in other countries you never address anyone with their first-name, unless you know the person well enough to do so or that person has personally asked you to use his first name.

The latter option is defiantly the safe way to handle this situation, if you're not sure, use his last-name until he asks you not to.

Have you asked any of those people you know what he prefers others to call himself? They have experience with him, take an advantage of that:

Hey, I'm going to meet George, do you know what he prefer strangers to call him?

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