I'm a Coordinator at an English course in a small city in Brazil, and one of the teachers called me "boss" today. However, I don't appreciate being called that, therefore I'd like to tell him not to do so. I'd rather do it in a colloquial way, though. So, how can I say it?

Hey, man. There's no need for this "boss" thing, you know.

Come on, man. Don't "boss" me. There's no need for that.

Could you guys give me other examples of how you would say it with your own words?! I have no idea how to say that colloquially.

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    Although I understand what you meant, normally "Don't boss me" sounds like "Don't tell me what to do". – NVZ Apr 7 '16 at 20:05
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    I have had somewhat similar problems, cuz my name is so long and people get confused on what to call me. I say "Just call me (my preferred name here)". And my preferred name varies depending on the person calling me. – NVZ Apr 7 '16 at 20:09
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    In parts of the US "boss" is a colloquial term that implies little (if anything) about the "official" relationship between the two parties. It's almost a term of affection. I used to work with a guy who called almost everyone "boss". – Hot Licks Apr 7 '16 at 20:09
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    Just tell him "Please use 'Your Majesty'." – Hot Licks Apr 7 '16 at 20:17
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    One thing to keep in mind: Some people have a mild form of face blindness and may not be able to recall your name immediately, even if they work with you daily. These people will often adapt some sort of defensive mechanism, such as calling everyone "boss", to conceal their disability. Insisting that the individual always call you by a fixed name could create significant stress for him. – Hot Licks Apr 7 '16 at 21:16

Language is a tool. Whether or not you have a hammer or a pillow, if you attack someone with it, the intent will do damage. In this instance, choosing the "best" words is not based on what you are trying to communicate, but on what you are trying to accomplish: to commune.

communication (n.) late 14c., ... from Latin communicationem ... "join, unite, participate in," literally "to make common," from communis

Successful communication joins people together: a colloquialism is no more or less powerful than other words.

EDIT The original poster commented that he is the boss of the employee and that he wants to keep the discussion "informal." Maybe I am viewing this entire question through the lens of communis, but if my perception is accurate, then the following may help.

Employee: Hey, boss!

Boss: Hey, Jason! Call me, "Lou." When you call me, "Boss," it puts an artificial divide between us. We work together, as a team, so "Lou" is perfect.

Employee: No problem. You're the boss, Lou.

Together: [laughing]

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    + 1 for sensible advice. – Centaurus Apr 7 '16 at 20:41
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    I asked for a colloquial expression not to sound formal with him. Actually, my intention is to sound as informal as our work environment allows, which is in between formal and informal. So colloquial, here, would sound good, I just don't know how to express it withouth sounding like his boss, which I am. – Loureiro Gui Apr 7 '16 at 21:12
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    Sensible advice does not of itself constitute an acceptable 'answer'. This is a 'comment'. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 7 '16 at 22:01
  • Your edit was fantastic, @hunterhogan. Thank you so so much! – Loureiro Gui Apr 11 '16 at 20:25

Something my dad would say when people called him boss (or sir, for that matter) was, "Don't call me boss, I work for a living. Please call me..." I always liked it because it's a bit funny while still getting your point across.


It would have been easier if you'd done it at the first instance; then something like "Hey, no need for that. '_____' is fine." or "'Boss'? Please! Just '_____'!" would have worked. Too late for that now, though, I guess. Best I can come up with at this point would be along the lines of "Uh… could you call me '_____' instead of 'boss'?"

On the other hand, I have to imagine a denizen of a small city in Brazil is not going to be nearly as sensitive to this formal/informal nuance you're seeking anyway. Just be cheerful when you say it and anything should be fine.


Please, call me Loureiro. My mother worked hard to give me that name.

The first is colloquial. The second is a little levity to take away the sting.

Say it with a gentle smile and firm eye contact and they may take your point. They may even remember your name.

That said, best to do such things in private if you're going to make a thing about it. Praise in public. Correct in private.


It sounds like you are "the new guy"? Since you've let the first opportunity for correction to lapse, it may be best to respond at the next opportunity with something like, "Boss? Hmmm. Is there a more 'fun' nickname you can think of?" With a smile, of course. :)


There's no need to make this complicated. You don't want to be called "boss", so say "don't call me boss". Easy.

The obvious follow-up question is "Okay, what should I call you, then?"

So preempt that and follow with what they should call you.

Assuming your actual name is Loureiro:

Don't call me "boss", call me "Loureiro".

As far as your concerns regarding seeming "bossy", the tone with which you deliver this statement, or any of the other answers here, is going to be much more important the actual words you use. If you sound angry and snappy, then it won't matter how nice you put it. If you sound casual and unoffended, then a straightforward statement like this will be just fine.

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    "don't call me boss" is way too bossy/imperative for me to use with me team. I try to keep the environment here as casual as possible, however professional at the same time. I just didn't think of an answer right away, that's why I cam here to ask for help ^^ – Loureiro Gui Apr 11 '16 at 20:28
  • I have a hard time imagining anyone taking such a simple statement as being "too bossy". The tone of your statement is going to matter more than the content. – DCShannon Apr 11 '16 at 22:24

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