Life Advice



Ask Amy: Forms of address evolve all the way to M

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

If you know the person’s name but don’t know them well enough to simply address them by their first name, you can use both first and last names: “Dear Stacy Glockenspiel…”

When you receive an email reply, the person’s preference of address will likely be noted in their signature line. Many people lately also note their gender-address preference (they/them, she/her, he/him, etc.).

For first-time contact with a department, you can address your email: Dear Hiring Manager, or Dear Human Resources Rep, or Dear Friendly Recruiter.

I’ve heard of some people using the salutation: “Dear Gentleperson.”

Using this might take some extra confidence on your part. It has a certain Jane Austen flair, with a touch of whimsy -- but I like it.

Dear Amy: I’m an involved aunt. I travel three hours, each way, to stay involved in my adult sister’s children’s lives.


I work two jobs, am heavily involved in my community, spend time with my aging parents who live in a different state, but often take PTO to ensure that I’m an active aunt. I truly love that role.

I can’t remember the last time my sister, alone or with her family, traveled to see me.

She finally did travel to my city but chose a time in which she knew I’d be away (I was spending the holiday with our aging parents.)

When I suggest dates to visit me, the 9-year-old niece always has a sports obligation (she’s involved in three sports.)


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