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Miss, Ms or Mrs

(229 Posts)
Lucyloo12 Thu 10-Dec-20 08:16:53

I sent a Xmas card to a newly separated lady the other day and received a very curt text telling me off as I had put the incorrect title. She said I should have written Miss and not Ms.... I on the other hand have been widowed for 12 years and hesitate when asked what my title is. I am not married so object to Mrs but feel that Miss is also wrong as it denotes never married. Ms just sounds too hard feminist to me so I hesitate over what I am. Can we just forget titles and call people by their name, it feels such an outdated thing to do and really it means nothing apart from putting us in outdated boxes. What to you do or think?

Lucca Thu 10-Dec-20 08:23:49

I would only ever put initial and surname or first name and surname on envelope to friend anyway !
I’m divorced but still refer to self as Mrs.
Or Ms if I remember. Never Miss.

MrsThreadgoode Thu 10-Dec-20 08:24:40

I hadn’t really thought about this one, but I use Miss for unmarried , Mrs for married or Widowed and Ms for Divorced, not thinking what the receiver would think, so far no complaints.
Maybe you are right just writing the initial and surname out on the envelopes might be a better idea.

yggdrasil Thu 10-Dec-20 08:25:33

I go by the European standard.
Miss (Mlle, Fraulein, Senorita) is for a young woman.
Mrs (Mme, Frau, Senora) is for an adult woman of whatever marital status.
Ms is only if you don't know the name and want to hedge you bets.
I am a gran, divorced, gone back to my original surname, and I use Mrs

Billybob4491 Thu 10-Dec-20 08:27:02

Lucy you could always send her a curt reply back saying you have crossed her off your Christmas list.

Iam64 Thu 10-Dec-20 08:27:18

The introduction of Ms was an attempt to do what you want, which is to forget titles. Men are all referred to as Mr X, why should women have a title that tells the world whether they are married or not.
Your friend sounds grumpy and confrontational. I wouldn't bother with a card next time. Is she still married, is she still using her married name? After my divorce, I reverted to my so called maiden name, that is my father's name. I considered taking mums family name but felt more comfortable reclaiming the name I'd grown up with. I've kept that name, along with Ms X throughout my happy second marriage, 40 years and counting.

BlueBelle Thu 10-Dec-20 08:30:09

Normally I don’t use a title at all I don’t see why it’s necessary I just write the persons name male or female I don’t see why women have to show what their status is, men don’t
When it comes to formal forms I m Ms I m certainly no longer married but neither am I a virgin😂
By the way I think your friend is very rude for correcting you

Gingster Thu 10-Dec-20 08:33:54

Yes. Very rude!

NotAGran55 Thu 10-Dec-20 08:37:03

I always address to ‘first name last name’ with no title .

I hate receiving mail addressed Mrs husband’s first name last name .

MrsThreadgoode Thu 10-Dec-20 08:37:21

It’s an interesting subject, so many Family names are lost because their girls marry and take their husbands name and if there are no boys the name disappears.
It’s an outdated concept really, my niece melded her surname and her husbands together to make a new name, but of course her surname was her fathers!
Maybe it’s time for a rethink, having said that I do prefer my Dads surname over my Mums.........
But it’s got me thinking that in future I’ll use the initial and surname.
Thanks Lucy for making me think about this.

Nortsat Thu 10-Dec-20 08:44:21

I use Ms for everyone, whether married, single, widowed or divorced. That’s the point of it ... not to confer a particular status or judgement on a woman because she is married or divorced or whatever.

I don’t think it’s considered ‘hard feminist’ now, rather it’s general usage.
I do remember a debate with a man at my bank in the late 1970s when I wanted my cheque book changed from ‘Miss Nortsat’ to ‘Ms Nortsat’.

Lucy I am sorry your friend was so curt. In my view you addressed the card correctly... perhaps she’s still hurt over the separation and is misdirecting her anger.

Lucca Thu 10-Dec-20 08:44:37


I always address to ‘first name last name’ with no title .

I hate receiving mail addressed Mrs husband’s first name last name .

You mean Mrs. Bertrand Fotheringay-Smythe. Etc ??I think that’s probably very posh and outdated too

Galaxy Thu 10-Dec-20 08:54:50

I dont think I have ever received a chistmas card with a title on it. I never put them on my cards. Perhaps myself and my friends are just commongrin

eazybee Thu 10-Dec-20 08:58:19

The correct form of address for a divorced woman is Mrs. (her christian name or initial) Surname, that is: Mrs Jane Smith as opposed to Mrs P. or Peter Smith. As your friend is separated she is still married and is legally Mrs.; if she has chosen to discard her title she should notify everyone , in as friendly a way as possible, first. Usually people revert to their maiden name as well if they wish to appear single.

I dislike being addressed by Christian name and surname; my ex-husband and I share the same initial and I did receive post intended for him and vice versa, difficult as we also worked for the same authority. The Other Woman also called herself Mrs. and used his surname, many years before they were married, which caused me some (intentional) humiliation.

DiscoDancer1975 Thu 10-Dec-20 09:10:14

I think posts like this just confirm the whole point that the real message of Christmas has been lost, as appears on another thread about someone hating Christmas. I stopped sending Christmas cards years ago, and any I get just sit in a pile until after Christmas! You did nothing wrong. I’ve never known widowed or divorced women go back to ‘ Miss’, and isn’t’ Ms’, when you don’t want people to know if you’re married or not? Perhaps leave her off your list next year🤔

sodapop Thu 10-Dec-20 09:21:04

I would think your friend is still hurting or angry over the separation Lucyloo which is why she reacted in that way. Quite rude though.
I always find it difficult addressing envelopes to unmarried couples, I usually put one name on the envelope and both on the letter or card.
Our age group were taught these things were important, they seem less so now.

MawBe Thu 10-Dec-20 09:32:18

Slightly off the topic of OP’s friend, I can remember when shops were eager to get you on their mailing list and you would be presented with a drop-down “title” list - Mr, Miss, Mrs, Ms being the usual options. I was shopping in George Street in Edinburgh (I think it was Jo Malone) when asked to provide my details, only this drop down list included Princess and Brigadier among the options!
I was tempted to go for “Brigadier” and the very sweet but also very camp assistant said he had always wanted to go for “Princess” tcrgrin

Mini2020 Thu 10-Dec-20 09:36:12

Personally I’ve always hated Ms. If your married it’s Mrs, if not it’s Miss! Ms was introduced years ago, It doesn't mean anything as a title to me.

timetogo2016 Thu 10-Dec-20 09:38:10

Well if that`s all she has got to moan about she must have an easy life.
What`s in a title anyway as long as you know their first name/surname.

annodomini Thu 10-Dec-20 09:41:12

I'm Mrs on my bank details, largely because I never bothered to change it. If asked to choose from a drop-down list, I choose Ms, but I'd happily do without a title at all.

Vickysponge Thu 10-Dec-20 09:49:28


Lucy you could always send her a curt reply back saying you have crossed her off your Christmas list.

My words exactly. Tell her to get lost!

Lucyloo12 Thu 10-Dec-20 09:58:52

Thank you for all your replies. I am aware that my friend is slightly brittle at the moment, so very keen to stand up for herself. Normally she is ok. I think Princess would suit her and obviously Lady for myself... I will try next time I'm in Curry's trying to purchase an item. Could be fun.

Grannybags Thu 10-Dec-20 09:59:08

I'd only use Miss for someone whose never been married

I don't really like Ms but use it for divorced relatives unless I'm told not to.

I use Mrs for widows as the ones in my family still feel they are married even though their husbands are no longer with them

Grandmabatty Thu 10-Dec-20 10:03:32

Slightly off the point but my son organised a magazine subscription for his grandmother and every month it was addressed to Professor. Dm found it very funny!

lemsip Thu 10-Dec-20 10:04:31

I would put initial and surname. no need for title especially if not sure! after all m and s are first and last letter of mrs and miss!!
I reverted to my maiden name many years ago but my title is Mrs. I have grown up children and don't want people to think I had them out of 'wedlock' back in the day! lol

Your friend lacks manners!