A man took to the Reddit forum “Am I The A**hole” when he got into a disagreement with his boyfriend’s father over the use of his professional title.
Redditor u/eee3564523 wrote in his post that he was asked to use the doctor title when speaking with his boyfriend’s father, per his request. However, after u/eee3564523 completed his Ph.D., his boyfriend’s father told him he should not expect him to use the professional title with him.
“AITA for insisting to be called doctor by my boyfriend’s father?” was the question posed by the Redditor, whose post amassed more than 7,500 interactions since it was posted on Monday.
According to the Emily Post Institute Inc., an organization that offers etiquette advice, medical doctors, dentists and other professionals are addressed by and introduced with their titles, both in a social and professional setting.
“People who have earned a Ph.D. or any other academic, nonmedical doctoral degree have the choice of whether to use ‘Dr.’ both professionally and socially,” the organization said. “If, when meeting people with doctorates, you’re unsure how to address them, ‘Dr.’ is always correct.”
In his post, u/eee3564523 said that after he met his boyfriend’s father, a doctor of psychology for the first time, he was asked to call him “Doctor XYZ.”
After more than two years, u/eee3564523 said he has continued to use the professional title when speaking to him.
Redditor u/eee3564523 recently finished his Ph.D. and said while he does not put a lot into professional titles, he said it was a “big achievement.”
“When meeting up with my boyfriend’s family I told everyone that I had finished my degree and they all congratulated me, including my boyfriend’s dad who told me ‘Congrats, OP, but don’t expect me to start calling you doctor,'” u /eee3564523 said.
He said he did not expect to hear that from him and asked him why he wouldn’t use the title after giving him the same “professional courtesy.”
“To which he said ‘that’s not the same,'” u/eee3564523 said.
He continued and said that he was confused and told his boyfriend’s father that he did not understand how it was different and used his professional title when speaking to him as a matter of courtesy.
The Redditor said he told his boyfriend’s father that he would not call him by the title unless he called him by the title.
“The argument just sort of went in circles from there until I eventually said ‘Whatever. I’m just not gonna respond to you calling me by my first name anymore,'” u/eee3564523 said. “And did that consequently for the rest of the night.”
That in turn sparked an argument between him and his boyfriend.
“I do feel like I could’ve dropped it, like I said I don’t care about being called doctor but at the same time I feel like his dad’s behavior was complete bulls**t,” u/eee3564523 said, concluding his mail.
Overwhelmingly, Reddit users sided with u/eee3564523.
“Stand your ground OP,” a top comment with more than 10,000 votes read. “You are just as much of a doctor as he is.”
Another comment said that u/eee3564523’s boyfriend’s father may have an inferiority complex.
“His dad may be academically educated, but his rudeness and lack of manners makes him no better than a rock (no offense to rocks),” the comment read.
One Redditor said the issue went beyond professional respect.
“It was a power play on his part,” they wrote. “He was attempting to establish dominance.”
“If he gets professional courtesy in a casual environment, so do you,” a Reddit user said. “Stick to it. I’m surprised your partner doesn’t see it.
Newsweek reached out to u/eee3564523 for comment.
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