Internet Drags Doctor for Insisting Partner's Family Use Professional Title

Thousands of commenters were left dumbfounded after one poster detailed a seemingly outrageous request their boyfriend made of their friends and family.

In a viral Reddit post published on r/AmITheA**hole, Redditor u/hometowncrowd1 (otherwise referred to as the original poster, or OP) said that their boyfriend is a doctor and explained his extreme disdain for anybody that dares to address him by his first name instead of his professional title.

Titled, "[Am I the a**hole] for 'letting' my family and friends disrespect my boyfriend by calling him by his first name?" the viral post has received more than 8,000 votes and 3,300 comments in the last day.

Months after meeting their friends and family, the original poster said their boyfriend started complaining about being called by their first name, instead of by their last name with "Doctor" tacked onto the front.

"He said he can't help feel annoyed especially considering that 'these people' don't know him well, but it's been 8 months" they wrote. "He said once we're married or engaged then they can start referring to him using his first name."

Recently, however, the original poster said their boyfriend began aggressively correcting their loved ones every time they used his name, lecturing them about how he should be addressed as a doctor first.

"It became exhausting because my friends and family can't understand his strange hangup and he keeps picking fights with them about it," OP wrote. "Last night, we were visiting my parents and my dad called him [by his first name]."

"My boyfriend started arguing with him which caused a huge fight in the house and we ended up leaving," they continued. "In the car he went off on me saying I'm letting family and friends disrespect him continually by letting them call him with just his name."

Doctor boyfriend mad about his name
Redditors were quick to call out one man who insisted his partner's friends and family refer to him only by his professional title. Bobex-73/iStock / Getty Images Plus

"I told him he was at fault there and he was being unreasonable because what he's expecting is bizarre," they added. "He said he takes pride in his profession and that he sacrificed so much to get where he is today...He called me an enabler and said that siding with them paints me in a bad light and advised me to step up and take a stand."

Who to address as "Doctor" or "Dr." is a widely examined topic across the internet.

In writing, the Associated Press Style guide makes it clear who deserves the title, as well as who doesn't.

"Use Dr. in first reference as a formal title before the name of an individual who holds a doctor of dental surgery, doctor of medicine, doctor of optometry, doctor of osteopathic medicine, doctor of podiatric medicine, or doctor of veterinary medicine," the guide reads.

For those holding doctorate degrees in other, non-medicine fields of study, AP recommends that "care should be taken to ensure that the individual's specialty is stated in first or second reference," and for those with honorary doctorates, the "Dr." title should not be used at all.

But the issue of who to label "Dr." is different from when to use the prestigious title.

Emily Post, an authority on etiquette based on consideration, respect and honesty, recommends that "Dr." be used professionally and socially.

"Socially as well as professionally, medical doctors, dentists, and other professionals are addressed by, and introduced with, their titles," the Emily Post website reads.

In a separate article published by KevinMD, numerous medical professionals offered their opinions about being called by their first names and while some doctors remain staunch in their desire to be addressed by their professional title it is clear that the "Dr." debate boils down to one thing: personal preference.

However, in the case of the viral Reddit post, many commenters responding to the original poster called out their boyfriend for his aggressive reaction to their friends and family routinely using his first name.

"I'm on this subreddit a lot and I don't often say wow... but this needs a wow," Redditor u/moonsherbet wrote in a comment which has received nearly 4,000 votes.

"Your boyfriend's ego is the size of a hospital. I'm sure he has some nice things about him despite that sounding unlikely," they added. "But this issue alone is a huge red flag—huge. This is telling you exactly who he is and it's not a pretty picture."

Redditor u/redrosehips, whose comment has received more than 1,600 votes, echoed that sentiment.

"Absolutely [not the a**hole]," they wrote. "It's not reasonable to expect your friends and family, or your partner's friends and family, to refer to you this way."

"They are friends and family, not your patients, students, or coworkers," they added. "It's so strange that he would want his girlfriend's parents to speak to him like they are his patients."