DEAR MISS MANNERS: Professionally and personally, I go by a shortened version of my birth name -- think Chris instead of Christopher, or Kate instead of Katherine. No one except the IRS calls me by my full birth name, not even my family of origin.
However, one of the faculty members on my dissertation committee consistently calls me by my full name, even though my preference is clearly marked on all official and unofficial documents and correspondence, and this faculty member has had me in class.
A legal name change is in my future, but in the interim, what’s the kindest language with which to correct this behavior without making the faculty member feel like I’ve been suffering in a constant state of offense for the last two years?
GENTLE READER: “I think we finally know one another well enough now that you may call me Mimi instead of Magdalena. That is what I always use now, both personally and professionally.”
By acting as though the fault was yours -- and that you have just been waiting for the right time to tell him -- the gentleman should feel flattered, rather than insulted. Miss Manners holds high hopes that this presumption of good intentions, rather than of defiant obstinance, will make the correction stick.