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28 March 2013


Reginald Blackwood

Your objection to being addressed familiarly as "Dear David" when the state (or non-state) of the relationship does not justify it is perfectly reasonable.

Nevertheless, writers of such missives are only too well aware that, in most cases, addressing the intended party as "Dear Mr. Smith" will result in the letter or email being discarded or deleted without further ado.

Thus, they plumb for "Dear David", and ever will.

David Eldon

Thank you for the observation, and I am sure you are correct. Perhaps I am just old fashioned.
If someone starts a letter Dear David, I assume they know me from somewhere, and I have to rack my brain if the connection is not already evident to think where I might have met them. If that produces no result, then I am much less likely to read further.
On the other hand if I write to someone and sign myself only "David", then that opens up the more familiar line of address.
My more general concern is that as we relax the boundaries of what would previously have been common courtesy, there is no limit to how far things will fall. If we become satisfied with one level of relaxation, then it's a short step to the next one down (never up!).


I would point out the flip side of this. I regularly receive letters from the bank starting: Dear Valued Customer.

You would have thought that a 30+ year relationship would afford something slightly less horrendous.

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