Correcting an error can be a challenge.
Particularly when that error comes from a positive place.
So, how do you correct someone’s mistake without seeming ungrateful for the positivity they shared?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) unjourheureux when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for some outside opinions.
“AITA for correcting someone at my wedding?”
She began with a brief background.
“So I (Female,31) and my husband (Male,32) got married over the weekend. It was a lovely ceremony, but a small issue arose which has led to my new in-laws somewhat freezing me out.”
“I’m a doctor.”
“I still decided to take my husband’s surname because I have been excited to share my name with someone I love ever since I was little.”
“We decided to tell all our bridal party to say ‘cheers to the Johnsons,’ rather than cheers to ‘Mr and Dr Johnson,’ just because it sounded less clunky.”
“They all agreed and did as such.”
Everything was fine until,
“However, my husband’s aunt (who was NOT invited to speak) decided to get up and say a few words.”
“It was slightly annoying, but she was tipsy, so I ignored it and let her go on. However, she ended her speech with ‘a toast to Mr and Mrs Johnson.’ “
“To this, I quickly replied, ‘I’m not a Mrs.’ She immediately rolled her eyes, and my SIL has reported back that she was calling me snooty and conceited behind my back after the wedding, and several of my other in-laws have agreed with her.”
OP was left tow wonder,
“AITA for correcting her?”
Having explained the issue, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring: NTA
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Some responses seemed to want further information.
“How many weddings of male doctors have you been to, or when your colleagues got married, did they announce the couple as ‘Dr. and Mrs. Jones’?”
“Not a rhetorical question. Is that commonplace?”
“Looking it up, etiquette-wise, the title is usually reserved for a professional setting, but this seems to hit a nerve with you. Good luck with your new family.” ~ Lisabeybi
While others found the deliberate call out to be odd.
“My husband and I both have PhDs and go by ‘Dr. Lastname’ at work and in professional settings.”
“It’s much more common in his culture to go by Dr. Lastname everywhere as a PhD (compared to the culture in the US) but at our wedding, we were excited to be ‘Mr. and Mrs. Lastname’ because we were celebrating getting married, not a professional accomplishment.”
“Also, as a scientist I know a lot of women who went the MD route rather than PhD.”
“Many of them have kept their maiden name professionally ‘Dr. Maidenname’ and took their husband’s name socially ‘Mrs. Husbandname’
“I understand why OP wants to go by Dr., as she has certainly earned the title, but I also find it a little odd how opposed she is to being recognized as a Mrs. (wife) at her wedding that she felt the need to awkwardly call out a family member who presumably meant no harm.” ~ ccarl2019
“I am a Dr and a Mrs both.”
“Meaning, I earned the Dr, but am also a married woman.”
“I have been called Mrs a thousand times by assumers away from a professional setting, and never corrected anyone unless it was for something that mattered.”
“(Like a paperwork that would determine how my name was printed on a document or something)”
“In the wedding toast, I personally think the correction was funny/cute and In-laws should laugh it off.”
“That being said, I do cringe imagining myself correcting every person who called or will call me Mrs… if they ask I say Dr, but if it’s a person I’m unlikely to see again I definitely don’t bother 🤷🏻♀️” ~ Powersmith
Commenters felt it was a question of Manners.
Etiquette wise, the Dr title should be first, so it’s Dr and Mr Johnson. I have doctor friends who were announced as “the Drs (his last name)”.
“These are all PhDs though, where Dr is their correct title.” ~ ginisninja
Though responses also felt that the correction said more about OP than her Aunt.
“Seriously, I know a lot of doctors, and the only ones who insist on being called outside of a professional setting are douches.”
“Yes, she worked for that title and she deserves it.”
“But correcting publicly a family member for that at a wedding, when she herself asked to be referred as « the johnsons » comes off tacky as hell.”
“Feels to me like she was pissed at the aunt to begin with and pulled at « dont forget I’m better than you » card.” ~ tipsyfrenchman
“Jesus Christ people who continue to demand to be referred to as ‘dr’ in non professional settings are ridiculous, no matter what gender.”
“Maybe I’ve just worked with too many doctors, both of the PhD and medical variety but not one of them demanded to be called anything other than their first name.”
“You just got married. Most people on this day are thinking husband and wife, i.e mr and Mrs.”
“Yes, Dr trumps Mrs but you couldn’t let it go once?!” ~ AllYouNeedIsATV
“Soooooo your relatives have to call you “Dr”?”
“Does your husband have to call you that in bed?”
“Do you introduce yourself to everyone you happen to meet socially as ‘Dr. Johnson?’ “
“Do you correct every phone caller with a frosty, ‘That’s DOCTOR Johnson to YOU, peon’?”
“Patients should certainly call you Dr. Johnson. Your relatives and friends and acquaintances, not so much.”
“You turned the aunt’s well wish into an ‘I’m better than all of you’ moment.”
“I’m entitled to call myself a dr and so is someone else in our family. Doesn’t mean we rub everyones’ nose in it socially. YTA.” ~ stiletto929
There were, of course, personal stories.
“I had a few friends with parents that were medical doctors.”
“We called them Mr. So and so or Mrs. So and so, whatever the last name was.”
“When visiting, we didn’t have to refer to them as DOCTOR. I know, people work hard for it.”
“My psych professor made an excellent point about knowing who YOU ARE and he brought up a story about his friend from grad school.”
“He saw him out in public and was like ‘what’s up man! I haven’t seen you in so long.’ He said his friend kept the professional professor attitude with him.”
“He didn’t separate who he was, from his profession. Humans are more than their profession!”
“Probably gonna get downvoted for this or whatever, but I figured, F*CK IT.”
“I am a counselor, but my entire identity doesn’t revolve around it, you know? I’m more than that.” ~ VictoryLeft9848
“You sound like Ross from friends.”
“At some point in your life you need to let it go.”
“You might not mean in that way but it comes of as really arrogant, especially to correct a tipsy person who is congratulating you.”
“This comes from a doctor’s child by the way. Never saw my dad correcting anyone.”
“The guy who sold us sandwiches from our favorite place still calls my dad an engineer almost 15 years later.”
“(Engineer and doctor are used as giving respect to educated people in my home country and if you want to be specific a doctor is more up on the hierarchy than an engineer. The guy realized my dad was educated but he assumed dad is an engineer. )” ~ Bakecrazy
There also seemed to be plenty of blame to go around.
“ESH, I understand that you are proud of your degree (you spend a whole lot of time and money to it) but yes you sounded snarky”
“You could have just have it slipped for the sake of good vibes for your wedding and peace in your extended family.”
“I don’t think that aunt meant to be mean or something (as you said she was tipsy) but it was not her right to speak”
“For the in-laws: this was no place to comment on why you corrected that aunt, it was definitely a right to do so (also not the place but for sure your right)”
“So yes, everyone sucked in that situation” ~ Evanjaa
“I agree with the ESH.”
“I understand that op worked hard for her title, but the wedding day was celebrating them becoming man and wife.”
“Mr and Mrs.”
“If she’d told guests that she wanted to be addressed as Dr and the aunt still did it then yeah publicly speak out.”
“But to say it there and there doesn’t really paint her in the best light towards her husbands family regardless of her reasons.” ~ dontwantanaccount
Though in the end, many thought OP was absolutely justified.
“Like she didn’t spend 14+ years of her life absolutely killing it to not be referred to as DR.”
“And anyone who says it’s snooty to ask to be called Dr. needs to try medical school for themselves and see how they feel about it :)”
“I’m saying this as not a doctor, but someone with doctor friends who I have seen literally put their blood sweat and tears into their degree.”
“They earned that title and they will always be referred to as such.” ~ pizzaisapie69
We all make mistakes, and as such we could all use correction now and then.
The trick to correcting someone is to do so gently and , ideally, privately.
Of course, it’s also always important to remember the context of your situation. Was the mistake intentional? Would correcting it cause a larger issue than the error itself?
Remember to handle others with the grace that you’d like from them.