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Friday, April 17, 2009

Quick Poll: Nicknames

Do you go by your given name, or do you go by a nickname? Poll is over to the right. [Poll closed; see results below.]

I put the "some of both" option in there for if, for example, people at work and some of your friends/family call you Nicole but other of your friends/family call you Nicki, and you answer to both, and you might introduce yourself as either one. You don't have to count it as "going by a nickname" if, for example, your dad calls you Muffin and your husband calls you Sweetheart and your best friend calls you Sippy, but all your other friends and family and coworkers call you Nicole, and you introduce yourself as Nicole. That counts as going by your given name.

There's a lot of grey area here, and some of us will have to kind of guess. Like, what if your whole family calls you Sippy, but everyone else calls you Nicole and no one has ever called you Nicki? One way to test it is to think, if your name is Nicole, "Do I object to people calling me Nicki?" or if your name is Jennifer, "Do I correct people who call me Jen or Jenny?" If yes, then you go by your given name even if your family has a special non-name-related nickname for you. If no, then you're some of both.


Poll results (376 votes total):
Given name: 231 votes, roughly 61%
Nickname: 56 votes, roughly 15%
Both: 89 votes, roughly 24%

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am a Jennifer and I always go by Jenny. That being said, I sign my name Jennifer and things like my resume have Jennifer.

One thing that I find is that people who have a sister, friend, etc that goes by Jennifer always want to call me Jennifer even if they know I go by Jenny.

Leah said...

if you go by your middle name exclusively, and never use your first name except on official legal documents does that count as a nickname or your given name?

Anonymouse said...

I'm an Elizabeth and have been called a nickname my entire life. Thus my daughter is named Daphne - no nicknames possible.

I wonder how many nicknamed children (like myself) were turned to staunch no-nicknamers for their children because of the hassle of the nickname vs. given name their whole life.

Swistle said...

Leah- I'd say that's going by a nickname.

Mary said...

A lot of people call me "Mare" but I think it's out of sheer laziness. But I've never gone by any real nickname.

MC said...

My full given first name is Mary Margaret, but I am almost exclusively called Mary (with a couple of people calling me Mare). So I am going to go nickname...

Leticia said...

My name is Leticia. My friends call me Letty (but its NOT prounounced like Betty -- beddy...more like Le thi). Because its harder for the non-hispanic people to prounounce, i usually go by my given name at work and have them prounounce it (Le Tee See Ah) even though its technically more like (Le Thi See Ah).

If I don't prounce it out, they want to call me Le-TISH-A which I HATE.

So definitely, some of both.

Sarah said...

Well, my little brother calls me butt-head, but I'm not sure that counts as a real nickname. :) He's 30 years old and SO immature. . .

Carmen said...

My given name of Carmen has no nicknames, so that makes it easy for me to answer this one!

Katie V. said...

What if your given name is a nickname? I just put I go by my given name but the nn is built-in.

Swistle said...

Katie- Ha ha! That's a tough one. I guess it's "given name." And if everyone called you "Kate" or "Kay," then it would be "nickname."

Caitlin said...

I'm a Caitlin and always introduce myself that way to strangers. Almost all of my friends (even best friends that I've known for forever) and schoolmates have always called me Caitlin. But my entire family, immediate, extended, distant (with the bizarre exception of my sister) call me Caiti. And everyone that I meet through my parents or other family members call me Caiti because even though they introduce me as Caitlin they start calling me Caiti immediately after and those people just pick up on it.
The funny thing is, while I probably go by Caiti at least 50% of the time, and it doesn't bother me from the people that use it, I never really think of myself as Caiti and I'd never introduce myself that way and I think I'd be taken aback if someone I just met tried to call me that (though out of laziness I doubt I'd correct them, I'd probably just wait and see if they caught on).
So I like my nickname fine, but I'm so particular about the people who use it, that my immediate reaction to the question, do you go by a nickname, is no.

Jan said...

I'm not seeing any polls today for some reason.

I'm in the Leah camp and go exclusively by my middle name, and per Swistle that counts as a nn.

Snoopyfan said...

Anonymouse-Same here! I am Christina, have gone by Chris my entire life (except when I was a child and it was Chrissy-gag!). My children both have no nickname names, it was requirement by me when naming them.

stephanie said...

My friends and family usually call me Steph, but I NEVER introduce myself as that. I don't mind the nickname at ALL, but I seriously get pissed if someone I don't really know calls me that. Random, right??

Bess said...

I was given a nickname as my given name. I always hated the questions: Is that short for Elizabeth? My given name is Bess. My parents didn't want me to have a nickname. So, I named my daughter Eleanor, and she goes exclusively by the nickname Ellie Claire. I like that she has options!

Toni said...

My given name is a nickname and that's one of the things I've always hated about it. I've always wished I had a "real" formal name to put on documents and resumes. I'm giving my daughter a full name that doesn't have a nickname.

Bethtastic said...

My given name is Beth. Not short for Elizabeth, or Bethany or Bethlehem (heh.). Just Beth.

Interestingly, my parents are Ron and Elaine and spent their childhoods being called Ronnie and Lainie. Which they both HATE. So they named me the name they intended to call me. Beth. (Sort of the same deal Anonymous and Snoopyfan mentioned, only I'm the product.)

My brothers also have non-nickname names. Brent and Brad.

I go by my given name exclusively, and I get weary (like Bess) of those who ask, "Is that short for Elizabeth?" No. Just Beth.
And I like it that way.

My kids names are one of each: Tara - which has no real nickname. And Timothy - whom we exclusively call Tim.

Frazzled Mom said...

I'm surprised by the poll results. I thought more people would go by nicknames. I'm like the very first anonymous poster above, almost everyone calls me Angie, but on written documents I've always put down Angela Lastname. When my employer spent all of this money to print these expensive business cards, you better believe I told the printer to display my name as Angela D. Lastname.

I have a couple of friends who insist on calling me Angela. Other than that, if someone who called me Angie before suddenly started calling me Angela now, it would seem weird and impersonal - you know what I mean?

It wasn't really my choice to go by a nickname; it was my parents choice. By the time I got old enough to have an opinion, I didn't want to go through the hassle of changing over from Angie to Angela. My Mom felt it was good to have options, but the options can cause more room for error. I read in some women in business advice book that if women want to be taken seriously at work, they should use their given names. However, by the time I was given this advice I was already 30, and was known as Angie at work (other than on written documents) for the past 5 years, and the book provided no ideas on how to transition seamlessly from nickname to given name.

How lame is this, “I’ve been reading this book that says if I want to be taken seriously, I should no longer go by Angie, but rather Angela instead.” I ask, would YOU take someone seriously who went around making statements like THAT?!?!?!

For those reasons, I tried to given my daughter a name without nicknames, because I didn't want to her to have the stress of the choice. I thought Fiona didn't have nicknames, and then Fi-Fi reared it's ugly head - you just can't win.

Cindy said...

My given name is Cynthia and I've always gone by Cindy my entire life. "Cindy" often shows up on tax documents, credit cards, etc. if I'm not careful.

I don't identify with the name Cynthia at all. I use Cindy to introduce myself and on my resume and on my email at work, and even on published materials. The only time I use my given name is to sign official documents. It is a bit of a pain, I guess.

I am definitely planning to name my child a nickname-less name. My first choice at the moment is Nina. Perhaps this is a reflection of my own experience with using a nickname exclusively and wanting to make things simpler for my child. Hadn't really thought about it!

bunnybea said...

My name is Beatrice and I go by Bea. Usually people guess what my full name is but others don't bother. If someone tries to call me by my full name, I'm a bit irritated. Only my parents and husband call me by my full name (and the latter only to get my attention!)

Anonymous said...

My nickname became my legal name! I never liked my given name of Jeanie. It was constantly being spelled incorrectly, and since I was a child of the early 70's, I was surrounded by Jenny and Jennifer. I picked up a nickname in my early teenage years and when I turned 18, I changed it legally. I've never really regretted it and my name suits me now.

Jennifer said...

My given name is Jennifer. From age 3-18, I refused to respond to anything but Jenny. Thusly, everyone who met me during that period calls me Jenny. When I started college I decided to go by my given name bc I thought it sounded more mature. But college students are lazy, so everyone from those three years of life calls me Jen. Now I really do by Jennifer. When I send invitations to mutiple groups of friends, I sometimes write Jennifer (Jenny) Hirchert. Crazy, no?

Diane said...

I find it interesting that so many of you with nicknames dislike having them and are choosing nickname-less names for your children. I'm the exact opposite: my name doesn't really have a natural nickname (other than Di, which is a little to close to "die" for my taste). I've always felt kind of cheated by not having a nickname, and am trying to choose names with nicknames for my kids. Maybe they'll hate me for it and all my grandkids will have nickname-less names!

On a side note, my husband is a Christopher who goes almost exclusively by Chris (he even signed his driver's license Chris once--eek!). Oddly enough, I usually call him Christopher. It's like the pet form because he only lets certain people call him that. Go figure.

Diane said...

Oh, one more thing. My grandfather was a William who went by Bill. Once, a nurse at a hospital called him William because it was the name on his charts. I couldn't figure out who she was talking to (I was in high school at the time, so I should have known better).

Snoopyfan said...

This is such an interesting group of comments! My husband is also nicknameless and it never bothered him. So he was not opposed to my "rule" when it came time to name our children. It was hard for a boy name and actually I bent my own rule because my son does have a possible nickname that Swistle just mentioned in her post on Monday. I just hope he never goes that route since we have always called him "given name" and not the possible nicknames. I love his given name and do not like it butchered up. :)

Diane-I always hated my name. I was named after a great-grandmother and it was my mother's favorite name. It always seemed very old fashioned to me. When I was little, I became Chrissy. Then as I got older it evolved to Christy and finally Chris. Oddly, I never went by Tina. I do like my given name more now, but it seems too formal for me! At my current job, I work for a Kristina and she only goes by Tina, always has.

Bekki said...

I'm Rebecca, literally not one person calls me that. My family calls me Becca and most of the world calls me Bekki. But I'm not sure I'd even respond to Rebecca.

The Cochran Fam said...

I'm a Jennifer. My husband and very close friends call me Jenn. In fact, my husband NEVER calls me Jennifer. My coworkers and acquaintances use my full name. It's almost as if you have to "earn" the right to call me by the nickname.

Jan said...

I grew up being called by my first name at school and my middle name at home and at church. In my case it was due to a cultural tradition of having a formal name and a casual name. All of my cousins on that side have multi-syllabic given names and one syllable casual names (they aren't derived from their first names). The different name circles never collided except at birthday parties! When I went to college I decided to just have everyone call me by my middle name. When I moved and went to grad school I thought about reverting back and introducing myself by my first name...but whenever anyone would ask me my name I just froze so I stuck with Jan. Oh yeah, she's the girl who doesn't know what her name is. :)

Anonymous said...

I polled given name but would've answered chosen name had their been the option. I legally changed my 1st name when I was in my early 20's (20 years ago-eek!). It's not that I disliked the name, but never felt it suited me. People who learn of the change now can't imagine me as the previous name. Of course, when I named my children, I tried to pick names I hoped they would not want to change as adults...! (Avery and Tate).

Abby said...

I'm Amy Abigail, but I go by Abby - so what Leah said, plus a twist! (I was born in 1973 - every little girl who wasn't Jenny was Amy.)

I have nothing against nickname-proof names, but I do prefer, say, Elizabeth to Beth. My kids both have plenty of options built into their names. So if Aly and Clio aren't an Aly and a Clio, they can look through their names until they find something that suits.

Anonymous said...

My mom's given name is Kathy and it drove my dad crazy that there wasn't something different and longer that he could call her when he was annoyed. So all children in my family have a long name we never use, and a nickname that we go by exclusively. My name is Kelsall and I go by kelli ALWAYS. Nobody can pronounce it or spell it. My sister is Kathleen, goes by Kate or Katie.

Tess said...

My given name is Teresa, and I don't have one person in my life that calls me that. My biological family calls me a family nickname, and everyone else calls me Tess (with the exception of my husband). I only use Teresa for legal/travel documents and resumes. I always introduce myself as Tess. My two boys have names that don't really lend themselves to nicknames, but I am horrified at the thought of someone calling Duncan "Dunk" or Stockton "Stock" - yuck!
I notice you only call one of your children by a nickname in your writing. I know they are psudeonyms, but is that reflective of how you actually address them? Just curious.

Swistle said...

Tess- Oh, neat question! In real life, none of my kids have name-based nicknames. But our family is the kind that calls pretty much everybody by one main non-name-related nickname and a flock of secondary related nicknames. So, for example, if we called Edward "Chipmunk" most of the time, we might also call him "Edmunk," "Chipward," "Stripey Little Friend," "Plump Keeks," "Chippyroo," and so on. Oddly, Rob is the one who has the fewest nicknames. It's because I chose their pseudonyms in haste, and "Rob" seemed to fit him better than "Robert." But "Elizabeth" doesn't seem like a "Liz" or a "Beth" or a "Libby," she seems like an Elizabeth. And so forth.

R said...

my given name is Rusti - I was born with red hair and that's what my dad wanted to name me... Rusti - so that's what it is. I am ALWAYS getting asked "so what's your REAL name?" or "so is that short for something?" and I've even been asked before to see my driver's license to prove it! I understand that Rusty is usually a guy name... or a dog name... but hey - it's MY name... and I go by it. :) I have some family and friends who will call me Rus or Rust, which is fine, and my father in law likes to call me Rustoleum - but for the most part - given name it is. :)

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

I'm a Stephanie who is called Steph all the time, and it's cool, it's just built-in there and I've been called Steph my whole life. I also get called "Stephie" by my family and closest friends (a childhood nickname that stuck). I'll also use "Stephie" myself when I'm being cutesy.

My name is so popular and well-known that typically so many people have other friends/people in their lives named Stephanie, and I find that "Steph" just comes to them very naturally based on everyone else with the name also going by "Steph". I find that with my best friend named "Steph" using it exclusively (even her mastercard says Steph, not Stephanie)... I tend to use the long form of our name more often.

As I've gotten older, I also introduce myself now as Stephanie, and I write Stephanie on everything of mine (whereas that aforementioned BFF of mine will write Steph on assignments and everything, she's so much more a "Steph" than a "Stephanie", it's funny actually). When I call people, I'll say, "Hi, it's Stephanie" more often than Steph (which I didn't used to do - strange when I think about it!).

But I really am whatever. I'll answer to anything, LOL!

Actually, I lie. Because my name is so common, sometimes I won't turn around if I hear my name in a public place because I really don't know if I'm being called to or another Stephanie (or seven) are nearby.

Hillary said...

My family and close friends call me Hill, but it's not something I encourage people to use and I get annoyed if people who don't know me well use it.

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

I have a really old-fashioned Indian name (Sanskrit) that's used almost exclusively by Maharashtrians and Goan, which is the area of the country my parents come from. I was originally nicknamed the common diminutive for every girl's name starting with AnaXXXX, which is Anu. My parents, sister and extended family called me this growing up but I was known by my full name at school Then I became a teenager and my parents found my full name much easier to screech so they transitioned to calling me by my legal name. People at school still called me by legal name, except my boyfriend, who liked my childhood nickname. Then I got to college a day later than everyone else and found them all taking bets on how to say my legal name, which is always mispronounced by non-Indians. So I went back to the childhood nickname and have never looked back. The only people left who call me by real name are my parents, sister and people from high school and younger. And my most recent boyfriend (now ex) who loved my real name. To everyone else I'm Anu.

So long story short, I've been Anu or Very Uncommon Hard to Pronounce Name on and off but have been Anu since the age of 18, except on legal documents etc..