This thing has happened so many times to me. I write someone more senior than me an email:

Dear Doctor Kris Kelvin,

The meaining of life is 42.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Drozdik

And I get a reply:

Hello Martin,

Yes, indeed.

Dr Kelvin

Is this an invitation to call the other party by their first name from now on?

2 Answers 2


No it is not an invitation to use more familiar address. They still signed off with Dr Kelvin, so that is how you should address them.

Until they either sign off as Kris or otherwise indicate "you can call me Kris", you should continue addressing them as you already have been.

  • 2
    I'd be a little bit careful with generally calling people by what they sign with, as in that case, I would be calling my boss by his initials. Also, some just have automated signatures and then every mail from this address (even to his wife or whatever) would be automatically signed with Dr Kelvin unless he bothers to explicitly change that.
    – skymningen
    Jun 19, 2017 at 7:18
  • 4
    @skymningen - obviously some common sense needs to prevail (such as not calling your boss by his initials: unless he wants you to - I do have a boss with a double first name so we use his initials in common conversation)), and erring should be on the side of caution. But simply - just because a superior uses your name in the familiar is not an invite to do the same back.
    – HorusKol
    Jun 19, 2017 at 7:30
  • And remember the difference in level in the organization can often dictate whether you use someone's first name. So make sure you use what other people at your level are using if you are junior.
    – HLGEM
    Jun 19, 2017 at 19:48

I would just check how people call each other in this environment. If you notice other colleagues address him with his full title, you should do the same. If everyone picks a way to address something, just choose whatever you feel most comfortable with.

If the Doctor in this case feels uncomfortable with the way you address him, he will (or should) mention it to you.

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