It’s a shame that we can no longer tutoyer in English.
French, like many other languages, has two forms for the second-person pronoun, tu and vous. But for the French, the distinction is not merely between singular and plural forms, but also for a whole gradation of social meanings.
Tutoyer, to address familiarly, allows the speaker to use tu for those with whom one is on intimate terms—a spouse, one’s children, a lover, pets. But it can also be used with social inferiors, e.g., the help. The formal vous can be used as a term of respect for a boss or other social superior, but it can also be used to pointedly distance oneself from a social equal—we know each other, but we are not really friends.
English used to have that capacity, with thou and you.* Now even the Quakers have given up on it. Instead of an easy marker, we have to look for more subtle clues to those social gradations, especially now that everyone also appears to be on a first-name basis with everyone else. When the boss calls the underlings “you guys,” the tutoyer may be a signal of something ugly in the offing. And that exquisite Southern courtesy may be telling you that you have gotten through the door, but you’ll never get into the club.
*Speaking of that, where are the peevers? Who is protecting us from the long slide into barbarism? The thou/you thing used to be a rule, people. You’re letting down the side.