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Why do so many people choose the same names?

(131 Posts)
burnishedgold Mon 27-Mar-17 21:06:05

Don't get me wrong, Isabelle, Grace, George etc are all nice names, but it would totally take the shine of it for me if there were likely to be 2/3 kids with the same name in their group.

To be fair, I grew up with a super odd name which I have never lived, but it does surprise me that people choose names knowing there will be people in the same class with the same name. Maybe because I've never had that experience...but still seems odd, especially when there are lots of names which aren't unusual but which aren't everywhere

JimWithTwoNoses Mon 27-Mar-17 22:10:31

I don't think people always predict that's going to happen though. Unless you have older children or study what the top 20 names are etc you might not be aware. Or people love the name so much they don't care if lots of other people have it.
I'm sure in one of the Malcolm Gladwell books this gets looked at, and why certain names become popular. It was ages ago I read it though so can't really remember what he said about it now

ThroughThickAndThin01 Mon 27-Mar-17 22:11:22

Names grow on you, the more you hear them.

kmini Mon 27-Mar-17 22:14:32

I think there is generally a reason why certain names are enduringly popular...they sound lovely! Hence people are drawn to them time and time again, year after year.

Names that are popular during a certain period of time, are generally pleasing or are influenced by celebrity or something cultural. They are not as enduringly lovely as super classic names, so they tend have a more limited shelf life or become semi popular.

Fundamentally, a lot of people either want a name that sounds pleasing or is liked by people at that point in time.

My husband and DS have super classic and currently popular names. My name would have been popular in the 70s/80s. Can totally see why mine had a short and sharp prominence.

MangoSplit Mon 27-Mar-17 22:15:39

My DD has a popular name, but DH and I had always talked about giving our child that name if we had a girl, ages before it became popular. It was also my grandmother's name. So we went ahead with it anyway. Who knows why it suddenly hit the top of the girls' name lists just at the time we had DD!

Imfinehowareyou Mon 27-Mar-17 22:24:04

I think that often, when you have your first child, you are not yet in that 'child world' so have no idea which names are really popular. You haven't yet been to toddler groups/soft plays etc. My DD loves it when she meets someone with the same name. My name is uncommon but the thrill I had in my 30s at finding my name on a keyring was massive!! I was in another country where it seemed to be much more popular.

heateallthebuns Mon 27-Mar-17 22:40:44

I have an unusual name and licked very popular top ten names for my dk. I hated having an unusual name and I like dk having a name that they can do anything with and personalise their own way with nicknames.

loveisenough Mon 27-Mar-17 22:44:46

OP I wonder exactly the same thing

fatrabbit Mon 27-Mar-17 22:48:58

My son has a popular name (one of the classics). Actually in this generation, such a wide range of names are used that there are unlikely to be loads of any name in one class and so far we haven't come across many others. My husband grew up with a common name and others in his class and quite liked it, they ended up being friends etc. When it came to naming our son we preferred to give him a name we both loved that was popular than choosing something we liked less just to be "unique".

Zoflorabore Mon 27-Mar-17 22:56:48

My ds is called Oliver, he is 14.
When he was born in 2003 it was not at all popular, I just loved itgrin
Mil hated it ( tough tits ) but has denied saying this ever since.

He's the only Oliver in his high school and I still love the name, it has been number one boys name several times so I'm sure there are lots of littler Olivers around.

I do think that if you think like that then you're never going to be able to find a name you love.
I had my dd's name in my head from when I was a little girl and luckily my dp absolutely liked it too, it's pretty and classic and suits her. She's the only one in her class with her name but there are 2/3 older dc with her name in her primary.

The only name in her class that has multiple dc is "Mia"

engineersthumb Mon 27-Mar-17 22:59:46

We picked a name only to find its very popular. Still a good name though!

megletthesecond Mon 27-Mar-17 23:03:34

They don't look at the top 100 name lists I guess. I didn't know any children when I had ds so just avoided anything in the list. Didn't want anything too popular.

Not sure why people still pick popular names for second dc's though, especially when they've seen the same ones crop up at toddler groups or school. Personally I think it's easier to have a more identifiable name instead of Jack A or B or Grace Y or Z.

NataliaOsipova Mon 27-Mar-17 23:04:29

I've always thought the opposite, actually - that it's unfair to give a child a name that will result in people asking "What?" when they tell them what it is. Far better to be Little Grace/Grace B, I think, than the only Sugarlump-Honeypie in the class.....

HeyRoly Mon 27-Mar-17 23:08:36

I wonder the same thing, especially now DC1 is older and at school and there are reams of children with the same names.

Not to say that crazily spelled, "unique" names are somehow better, but there's a middle ground between "made up" and "ubiquitous", right?

So many perfectly lovely, classic names just sound dull and basic to me now.

Fully accept that this is my issue and not everyone feels like I do. Nor do I wrinkle my nose when I meet yet another Isabella, Emily, George or William grin

olderthanyouthink Mon 27-Mar-17 23:10:10

I agree with OP
I have a name that's not that uncommon but the spelling is youneek. I can almost always get my name as usernames/email addresses but never on key rings.

Last week a spoke to someone with the same name as me for the first time ever because she used one of my email addresses by accident. She's American and there are more of them over there.

I've never really been a fan of common names and I didn't really think it was a good thing that there were several Connors and Alfies and Adams in my classes.

EffinElle Mon 27-Mar-17 23:16:42

I had an unusual name and hated it so much I changed it to a more 'regular' name grin

Imfinehowareyou Mon 27-Mar-17 23:16:58

It depends on where you live too. My DC go to a school with lots of hippyish parents. You're pretty safe with a top ten name there but the multiples are all the more unusual names - does make me snigger!

LinaBo Mon 27-Mar-17 23:19:35

As an owner of a popular named child grin, all I can say is we didn't really know. To be fair, it was so hard finding a name we both liked and sounded good in both our languages that I think we would have probably have gone for it anyway had we known.

She likes her name and quite likes meeting people with the same name. If/when she decides to hate it, she can always use her much-more-unusual-but-still-a-real-name middle name. smile

WitchSharkadder Mon 27-Mar-17 23:21:21

Popular names are popular for a reason, they sound nice.

I have 4 DSs, one of them has a name which has been consistently in the top 30 or so since the beginning of time, however, I've never come across another in his class/activities etc etc. OTOH, my son with the least common name (way outside of top 100) is one of five in his class! Just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. I don't mind in the slightest, I didn't choose his name based on 'uniqueness' he was actually named after my favourite singer who happened to be playing when he was conceived grin

superbean Mon 27-Mar-17 23:21:25

You should read Freakonomics (sp?) there's a chapter dealing with predicting names, based on what parents see as aspirational.

Don't mind admitting that I'm slap bang middle class demographics, the majority of children in our school have very traditional names, in a year group of 30 we have 5 boys called William.

I think there are names that are fashionable, and names that we associate with positive or negative things. I just wanted simple, classic names that my children wouldn't always have to spell.

Elledouble Mon 27-Mar-17 23:25:57

It was important to me that we chose a less common name. We discounted anything in the top 100 (although my partner suddenly came out with Edward the moment our son was born!), and ended up calling him the name we'd decided on previously. I adore his name. Really really love it.

superheroslug Mon 27-Mar-17 23:31:27

Ooh good suggestion Superbean, sounds like a good read. I defiantly agree having a super popular name is much better than the one which you have to spell every damn time ! I guess it just surprises me when a friend has yet another Isabelle (beautiful though it is). That said when I was in school there was only one Isabelle. My kids have super traditional but not that common names from my country, so I haven't strayed to far from the tree. I guess I do have a preference for unusual names, as I always always enjoy finding out names at toddler groups, favourites recently have been Atticus, Clemency and Electra

nursebickypegs Tue 28-Mar-17 06:29:47

My husband has the most common name in the world (there's a TV channel called it!) and I have an unusual Irish name. Our son is going to have a simple name.

I like my name but I don't love it. No one gets it right, no one can spell it and it's quite childish. I hate the shortened version as well. Combined with my married surname, I have to spell everything out.

I'd love a simple/common name like Grace, Katie, Olivia. It's great to call your kid something special but they are the ones living with it for the rest of their lives.

deardarlingg Tue 28-Mar-17 06:48:34

If i liked a name i would use, regardless of how many people i knew with it or how popular it was

OhtoblazeswithElvira Tue 28-Mar-17 07:00:43

I don't get it either OP!

I have an extremely common name. There are variations of it in my family. It travels well so it's popular in many countries. Walk down a busy street and you'll hear it several times. Some people call my name classic, I call it boooring.

A lot of it is down to fashion IMO - agree with a pp who said that names grow on you as you hear them. I remember when MIL gave us a list with her top 10 names for our 1st DC - she doesn't watch TV, barely uses the Internet or reads a paper but her chosen names were all on the top 20!

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