enter image description hereOver the last month, I've been texting daily with someone I met during my recent trip to Japan. We've only used casual language but today, she called me (name) 氏 whereas she has used 君 before. We spoke on the phone two days ago and she referred to that today as お喋りした, which I believe is the polite form of the verb?

Signs don't seem to be there that she's upset (ie. quick replies, sends long messages, etc.) but to my understanding, a shift from casual to keigo can mean you've done something to upset a native speaker. I know it's impossible to be sure without asking the person directly, but does this typically mean something negative from a language/cultural standpoint, or am I mistaking the context?

Thank you for any help.

1 Answer 1


This is hard to answer without seeing actual messages, but here are some possibe reasons:

  • If it's only the name suffix (氏) that has changed...
  • If the overall manner of her speech has changed...
    • The topic of the message on that day happened to be something important and serious
    • She started to feel she had to pay more respect to you (e.g., because she suddenly realized you are a great person in your home country)
    • She started to use stiff/businesslike language intentionally because she had trouble communicating with you smoothly in slangy/informal Japanese
    • The Japanese you use is very polite and she started to adapt to it
    • She simply started to feel you are remote because she hasn't seen you for a while
    • She started to prefer to use polite language because she has grown up or is now in a position of responsibility

Basically, if the only thing that has changed is the name suffix, I think there is nothing to worry about deeply now.

  • Thank you for the detailed answer @naruto! If you have any time to look at the actual message I just uploaded for more context, that could end up being a great help that I would be highly appreciative of. Jan 10, 2023 at 3:03
  • @colevoncole Okay, looks like "She simply wanted to try different ways of addressing you" for humorous effect :) You don't have to worry about this. Something like this can even be a sign that you two are getting friendlier.
    – naruto
    Jan 10, 2023 at 3:05
  • thank you so, so much @naruto! Was worried I said/did something wrong and took a step back in my friendship with her so it's a huge relief that doesn't seem to be the case. Cheers! Jan 10, 2023 at 3:21

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