I have a horrible habit. My father and brother were both military and due to the military culture in my house growing up I picked up the habit of calling people by their last name. Doesn’t matter if I am referring to a man, woman or child., I use their last name. Doesn’t even matter if it’s a mayor or judge, either. I have angered my spouse more than you’d like to know because calling people by their last name is completely ok and apropos on the base, but off base…off base.
I actually had to try to learn HOW to use titles for the simple matter I needed to be proper in order to be thought of as well-mannered and professional. My best tips:
1. All former mayors, senators, representatives and presidents keep their titles until death. They have earned those titles and they keep them.
2. Whether or not you are religious or of a specific religious persuasion you always refer to religious leaders by their titles. Ex., A nun is always Sister and a preacher is always Pastor.
3. Use a persons’ professional title. Ex., a doctor is always referred to as Dr._____.
4. Do not use nicknames unless you are invited to use them by the person with the nickname.
5. Even on a military base use the persons title. Ex., Sergeant, Commander, etc…