Family Followings: What are Some Guidelines for Generational Names?

Q: When there are same names for dads and sons, Sr. Jr., or I, II, III, IV etc. what are the rules on how they are used? When one dies, do you change the other names or does everyone keep their respective title? Is the suffix written on their birth certificate?

A: In some families, names are carried on through three or more generations – John (Sr.) is succeeded by John, Jr., and Johns III, IV, and V.  But this presents something of a problem once John, Sr. has died.  Does each man retain the title by which he has always been known, or does everyone “move up”?  The only “rule” in this regard is to use common sense.  Moving up the suffixes is bound to cause some confusion among acquaintances who used to know the new John, Jr. as John III.  Then there are the changes that must be made on personal accounts and bank checks. Yes, the suffix may be placed on a birth certificate.

Sweet Sayings: Is it Appropriate for a Man to Use Pet Names when Addressing a Waitress?

Q: Is it appropriate for a man when accompanied by a wife or date to address waitresses as ‘darling’, ‘sugar’ or ‘honey’? If it is not appropriate how should the significant other address this situation?

A: No, it is not appropriate for a man or a woman to address a waitress as “darling,” “sugar,” or “honey.”   The person’s significant other may privately and tactful point out that those terms are considered reserved for close family members and friends and a waitress may consider it, no matter what the intention, as condescending.

Rude Requests: Is it OK to Specficially Suggest Money for a Gift?

Q: My granddaughter’s birthday is in December and she will be 12 years old. I casually asked her what are some of the things she would like as a gift for her birthday and Christmas. Her answer was ‘Cash’ or a ‘Gift Card’. I told her that I thought it really isn’t good manners to ask for money, that she could have suggested a gift that I could pick out for her. She said that if she gets ‘Cash’ she can then buy what she wants.

A: In answer to your question, it is not incorrect, when ask, to tell someone, even your grandmother, that your most appreciated gift would be money because you are saving for. . . .whatever, when that is the case. However, many families are uncomfortable exchanging cash and prefer to be able to select a gift they know the recipient would enjoy. If you are more comfortable buying a present than sending a gift card or a check, it is fine for you to say so, and ask for a small list of some specific items she might enjoy opening.