Ian Napton erupted in fury when he was referred to, by a stranger, as ‘mate’. 

Things started to go wrong when he took his computer into the shop, for a repair. The young man greeted Mr Napton with a cheery “Alright Mate, how’s it going?” 

Somewhat taken back by the assumed familiarity Mr Napton, initially, let it go on the basis that this is how young people speak these days. However as the conversation developed the assistant repeatedly used the term ‘Mate’ as in “Ok mate, we’ll take a look at it” and “It doesn’t sound like there’s much wrong with it, mate”. 

It was at that point Mr Napton, ‘lost it’. After a sharp intake of breath, a tutt and a muted muttering of “Really, it’s not on“, things took a sudden downturn when the assistant asked, “What’s the matter mate?”

Incandescent with rage, Mr Napton erupted, “I’ll tell you what the flipping matter is, Mate! I’m not your f***ing mate. We’ve never met before, its unlikely we will ever meet again. I don’t have your phone number or email. I am unlikely to ever spend any time in your company, and if you dated my daughter I’d send her to a convent.”

Mr Napton explained, “I don’t think it’s right to assume such familiarity. We hadn’t met before, I was certainly not his mate. As far as I could tell he wasn’t even Australian.” 

Principally Mr Napton objects to the modern trend to over-familiarity, with its assumed friendships, funny handshakes and hugging. “Why can’t we go back to a polite ‘good morning’ and if anything further is required let it be a polite nod or a firm handshake.”