Having an "unusual" name

(32 Posts)
PaulaHollywood Tue 01-Nov-16 23:24:18

There's often debate about "unique" or "unusual" names. As someone who has a fairly unique name I know there are definitely pros and cons to it. I'm a Bryony. I get a range of reactions from those who know a few Bryony's and people who have never heard of it.

For me the cons were/are
-Kids in school thinking it was the female version of Brian..so got called that a lot.
- Never finding anything (teddies keyrings etc) with my name on.
- Telling someone my name over the phone and automatically spelling it straight away "It's Bryony that's B-R-Y...."
- Being on the phone telling someone my name with the response "Sorry is that your first or last name?"
- Very often having people enquire the origin- yes it's not at all offensive and in a way quite nice that people are interested but it gets a little tedious "no it's not Welsh/Irish it's actually the name of a flower."
- People from most other countries struggle saying it. I travelled a fair bit after uni and very often would introduce myself using my middle name just to avoid being called Barney, Bonnie, Bronnie, Biney, Briney and many more.
-Even countries where English is the first language are perplexed by it. In America people assumed it was Bryannie or Briannie. They thought it was a variation of Brianna.
- I studied in Australia for 6 months and had to get very used to people looking puzzled and asking me to repeat myself when first meeting.
- Knowing that it's a marmite name and a lot of people when hearing it will be thinking what a horrible name it is.

But some pros to
- Although I hated my name growing up and was so envious that my twin sister had a top 10 name, I now appreciate that I was always the only one in a class and didn't have to be known as Bryony 'first initial of surname.'
- I still find it quite exciting when meeting someone with the same name. I worked in a hotel a few years ago and one evening heard "BRYONY will you stop that!" I of course immediately turned round to see a little girl being told off by her mum. We became close pals over their 2 week holiday!

I suppose this is more a thread on the pros and cons of Bryony. But I think it's interesting to see people's takes on unusual names and their reason for choosing them. It doesn't help that I really really dislike my name. But I suppose that could happen to anyone even if it's a top 10 name! I think the most frustrating part is having to repeat it and the puzzled looks some people give.

OdinsLoveChild Tue 01-Nov-16 23:34:05

I love the name Bryony. grin

My name is a really naff 70's name that I hate. I have the more unusual spelling of my name and not a single person other than my mother actually spells it correctly. Even my bloody husband of 20+ years spells it wrong. hmm

It's not unique in any way it's very common but just spelled slightly differently from the more popular version.

I don't have a 'name key ring' either. I have one that says 'they didn't have your name' confused

mmmuffins Tue 01-Nov-16 23:54:31

Ive just done this to my baby daughter. She's only 10 months but I already know to spell her name straight away after saying it on the phone. I also get asked regularly if the name is Irish.

I hope she likes the name when she's older. If not, she has her less unusual middle name to fall back on!

BikeRunSki Wed 02-Nov-16 00:09:58

I am called Alice. Very popular now, considerably less so when I was a child (1970s/80s). I have very similar feelings and experience about my name as the OP. Most people think I am Alison when they first meet me - they hear a name far more common on my age group. Never had a mug or anything with my name on. DSis had the top name for her birth year and had her name on everything.
We have deliberately given our DC short, simple, non ambiguous, well known names.

CakeRattleandRoll Wed 02-Nov-16 00:31:32

I have a very unusual name and have never met anyone else with it, although it is a 'real' name, with history/meaning etc.

I am very happy that my parents gave me an unusual name, I don't mind having to spell it and I'm used to answering to the most common mispronunciation. I use a short nn with friends/family and introduce myself like that.

I would find it very strange to have to 'share' my name with other people, and if I heard my name, not knowing if it was me being called/spoken about.

And it never bothered me not being able to find stuff with my name on it - most of that stuff was plastic tat anyway! It needn't be an issue nowadays anyway, as it is easy to get customised stuff for kids with whatever name you want.

Yuckky Wed 02-Nov-16 00:38:18

I know three Bryony's grin

I have an unusual name. People spell it and pronounce it incorrectly all the time but it doesn't bother me. I often use my middle name though. My name is a proper name in another country. My parents are English but thought it a pretty name.
I think there is a fine balance between unusual and trying to hard to be unique though and I think it's really silly to purposely spell a name unusually.

AprilShowers16 Wed 02-Nov-16 01:04:11

I have a fairly unusual name - I loved finding other people with the same name when I was younger and liked being unique with my name in my class etc.

I always find it weird that people give not being able to find tatty keyrings with the child's names on it reason not to name them something unusual. I don't remember being particular scarred by this and nowadays it's so easy to order personalised items on the internet anyway

nooka Wed 02-Nov-16 04:39:22

I have a very unusual name (never met another), but unlike the OP I really like my name. I always have to spell it and people do mispronounce it, but then I have that issue with my surname too and it's really short and easy.

People often comment on my name, but as they always say positive things about it I'm OK with that too. I don't use it at Starbucks though!

My parents chose my name because they liked it. All the names on their final list were relatively unusual, and some of them were quite odd - I think I did well really smile

I can see that with a twin with a very different sort of name it could cause issues. My parents taste got gradually more adventurous but I'm the youngest by quite a bit so didn't have too much comparison to worry about (at least on name related issues!).

AnnaMarlowe Wed 02-Nov-16 04:48:10

I have a very unusual name and gave my DD an even more unusual name.

I have always liked being the only person with my name in any school or company.

Spelling it takes less than ten seconds and plenty of Jayne's and Kathryn's have to spell out their names too.

These days with Etsy, Ebay and Amazon it's really not that hard to get jewellery/key rings etc personalised.

I think having an unusual name is pretty cool. I would have hated to be the fifth Annabelle in the class.

I do love my name though so maybe that's where the difference lies.

ElizaDontlittle Wed 02-Nov-16 05:18:04

I'm surprised Bryony is so unusual! It's a lovely name.

I have a very common name. My sister has a much more unusual name - maybe top 5 vs top 250 when we were born. I always wished for her name... and she for mine. The grass is always greener!

Nousernameforme Wed 02-Nov-16 05:27:13

Both my partner and I have the most common names for our time and most of our children have unusual names turns out the roman name we picked is quite a popular polish name so we have met quite a few of those his doctor in hospital and there is one a few doors up. I hope the children like their names but yes i always have to spell them and explain the reasoning. However they may never have had a named mug keyring etc but there have never been any doubles in their classes so far

Handsupbabyhandsup Wed 02-Nov-16 05:35:12

I'm a Jocasta. On the whole I like it.

Growing up it was a bit painful. Wrong spellings, wrong pronouncation and I never found a key ring with my name on it either.

And if I had a $ for everytime I have heard 'that's a nice name how do you spell it?" Or "that's unusual, where is it from? - closely followed by "you don't look Greek" (because I'm not wink)

I gave my kids different but not so different names!

pimmsy Wed 02-Nov-16 06:04:32

I have a rather uncommon name for France I think it's probably more common in the U.K. , but it's since come into fashion, it's a strange now from time to time when I hear another girl being called by my name !

That said as a child I longed and longed after a Breton name bowl and I never came across my name ... until aged 22 my ex partner got me one made... all you have to do is ask at the shop!

Pipilangstrumpf Wed 02-Nov-16 07:47:27

I have a fairly uncommon (and imo beautiful) name and I loved being the only one in my school. The name is easy to say and spell so I've never had issues with that either. And regards not finding tatty key rings with my name on, that didn't really bother me.

Don't we name people to identify them? There are so so many lovely classic names outside the top fashionable ones.

Bryony is a lovely name btw and not very unusual at all imo.

Zhabr Wed 02-Nov-16 09:19:04

DD has an unusual spelling for the common name, it is just happened when her name was transcripted from the other language with different alphabet. Jacqueline Wilson commented on DD's name, while signing a book for her "Oh, that's unusual..."

Vegangelist Wed 02-Nov-16 14:48:39

I have a cousin Bryony, Australian and proniunced Bry-OH-ny.

My name was similarly uncommon when growing up, loved that I was the only one we knew until secondary school and then there was one in the year below me in a year of 120 girls, so I felt that was pretty good going. It's been a top 30 name for several years now and only just dropping out of the top 50, so lots of 7-15 year olds with my name, and lots of merchandise readily available in the shops, but with online shopping I can get my more unusually-named offspring personalised stuff easily.

nooka Wed 02-Nov-16 22:35:59

The personalised name thing is funny. I have never seen my name on anything (and I would be very very surprised if I did). I don't recall that causing me angst growing up, but then my parents would never have bought me the named thing anyway (just not really on their wavelength). We accidentally named our children with names that turned out to be incredibly popular (top five for many years now) but they haven't any personalised items either. Perhaps it was more of a thing in the 70s/80s and not so much now?

AmberEars Wed 02-Nov-16 22:39:49

I have a relatively unusual name. I like it, but I have (without really thinking about it) given my three DC relatively common names. Maybe that means that on some level I would have preferred a less unusual name myself!

SallyR0se Wed 02-Nov-16 22:45:57

My name is not very common, but not unusual. It's similar & always mistaken for two sound-alike names that were very popular when I was born.

TheNoodlesIncident Wed 02-Nov-16 23:14:52

I hate my name, it makes me cringe. It does sometimes appear on merchandise, but is unusual enough that I was only one in school with it (primary and secondary). I never liked it and don't understand why my parents did.

Mind you, if I came across another person with the same name and I liked them, I would probably like the name on them, iyswim.

zannah91 Thu 03-Nov-16 11:09:06

My real name is Suzannah but I HATE it and no one has called me that since I was small. My granny called me Zannah for short when I was a baby and it's stuck ever since. Even when I was in trouble as a kid my mum has never ever called me by my full name! Unfortunately I have to use it for official stuff, like waiting at the doctors and they call out "Suzannah" and it makes my skin crawl, so cringey. But I love Zannah! Apart from never finding my name on personalised things as a kid sad Some people I know don't even know that Zannah isn't my real name! grin

JudgeJudySheidlin Fri 04-Nov-16 00:55:32

My name is a variation on a name that was popular in the 70s. Everyone spelt it wrongsadIt's pronounced more slowly than the more popular name yet DH pronounced it incorrectly for years! I'm more often known by my nn anyway & now I'm an adult I love that I have an unusual name. My DH even gave me a surname that I need to spell & sound out to go with my first namewink I'm now totally unique.

enolagayits0815 Fri 04-Nov-16 01:01:45

My name is an unusual Norwegian name, nobody can spell it. I love it though, my children have unusual names too but Dh is boring with his name, he's John confused that said most people call me by an English nn.

JasperDamerel Fri 04-Nov-16 01:38:39

I have the worst situation - my name was unusual hen I was growing up, so I never got personalised tat, but it became wildly popular when I was twenty or so. At the gym, where there are lots of students, I'm Name Initial because there are so many of us.

DD has a real but unusual name, so much so that it doesn't show up in ONS searches.

CordeliaFrost Fri 04-Nov-16 18:55:07

My name is unusual, but in the UK, not a good type of unusual. It's one of those 'hated by Mumsnet' surname names.

I was born in the States, where such names were commonplace at the time, and indeed they still are. However my parents relocated to my mom's native UK when I was a young child, so I grew up with my distinctive (and to Brits, not in a good way) name, in sea of girls with 'proper' names like Sarah, Elizabeth, Caroline, Catherine, Emma etc. My name has never been popular over here (I'm now back in the States), but it's similar to a very popular 80's and 90's girl's name, so it would have fitted in more.

I've never disliked my name, but I do remember a time (in my tweens/early teens) when I felt embarrassed, and even perhaps ashamed of my name, because of how people reacted to it. Looking back, I shouldn't have let people get to me, but I did.

My children have names which aren't common, but they're not quite as unusual as mine, but that's not on purpose. It's simply a case of those names being the ones we loved the most at the time. We're considering a fairly popular name for our third child (a daughter due this month), although I must admit, I do worry that if we choose it, she may not appreciate her siblings having names which are uncommon compared to hers!

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