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Nicknames - unpopular opinion?

60 replies

Prairie21 · 30/07/2022 00:29

Am I the only one who doesn't like/understand nicknames?

I see on a lot of threads people trying to plan what the nickname will be for their child's name or even choosing the nickname before the official name that will go on the birth certificate.

Does everyone in the UK get a nickname? I live in the UK but am from somewhere where nicknames aren't really a thing.

I am now worried that the names I lovingly chose for my DC will never get used and get changed to something else. They both have three syllables too. We're doomed aren't we?

OP posts:
Antarcticant · 30/07/2022 00:36

I don't have any DC so I hope this is an unbiased opinion.

It would seem to me to be common sense to consider the nicknames that might evolve from your chosen name.

When your DC are very young you can influence what others call them but once they are at school it will be out of your hands.

When your DC are adults they'll be able to choose how they introduce themselves, although sometimes in the workplace people get a nickname foisted on them whether they like it or not.

Personally, I think it's good to have the option of your full name or a nickname. Childhood is a relatively small proportion of one's overall life, so give your DC the choice.

VirginiaQ · 30/07/2022 00:41

I agree OP. I don't think a lot of people actually understand what a nickname is. It's a name that evolves naturally for whatever reason and may not even have an obvious connection to the given name. For example someone may be called Smiley because they smile a lot but their given name is Jennifer.

What most of the handwringing on here is to think about an diminutive for a particular name. I don't really understand if you want your child to be called Ellie why not just name them that instead of Elsie, Eloise, Eleanor etc etc.

BiscoffSundae · 30/07/2022 00:47

It’s a MN thing ime, I don’t know anyone irl who is obsessed with nicknames like I see on MN, no one calls me by a nickname either so not not everyone gets called by a nickname only seen this on MN

OzziePopPop · 30/07/2022 00:51

My parents both have names that are commonly shortened to nicknames, think Elizabeth and Alexander (not their real names) and therefore gave me and my sister names with no logical shortening, mine is only three letters! Guess what… my dad still gave me a nickname 😆 it’s longer than my actual name!

Honestly, regardless of what you want or decide your child will ultimately choose. When at school their friends will naturally shorten their name, yes and you may even decide to yourself in time, like my dad 😀

Carrieonmywaywardsun · 30/07/2022 00:55

It's so weird, especially when they decide which nicknames they hate befor the child is even born. As if you can dictate that!

RuthW · 30/07/2022 07:33

As a person with no shortening to my name I can say I hate it. That's why my dd has a long name with lots of options. I think it's awful for my boss, family and closest friends to all call me the same.

KangarooKenny · 30/07/2022 07:36

My daughter has a short name that we partly chose so it couldn’t be shortened. Her friends at school still gave her a nickname, so you’re probably best going for something that you like the common shortening of.

KangarooKenny · 30/07/2022 07:37

I find it strange when people want to call the child the shortened version of the name, but then insist on putting the longer version on the birth certificate. Just name it the short version that you like !

Gonnagetacatwhenimovein · 30/07/2022 07:43

Agree with PP, you can lovingly select Christopher or Benjamin but in school they will swiftly become Chris or Ben, so you need to be comfortable with that, or introduce the idea of Kit or Benji if that’s what you prefer. I found that once they are 16/18 the more formal longer name comes back into play as they move through college and university. In my case … an abbreviation of their surname became their nickname! Kids are creative and playful, you have to give them that!

Fivebeanchilli · 30/07/2022 08:02

My children have 3 syllable names. Both are names that have obvious nicknames (think Elizabeth or Catherine or Abigail or Benjamin or Samuel).
I would guess that 95+% of people with my dc1s name use a nn. She doesn't (now a young adult). I think 2 people have tried it in her life and she just corrected them. She uses her full name and, although it's not an uncommon name, the fact that she uses the full name makes it seem less popular.
Dc2 again goes by the full name everywhere (school etc) except for one activity where the name gets shouted a lot and it has naturally been shortened for ease.
I think you have a lot more control (or your children do more realistically) over what people call you than people on mn think.

Louise0701 · 30/07/2022 08:07

@VirginiaQ lots of people do actually suggest they want to call their children Tommy, Ellie, Alfie etc but then you get all the MN hand wringers insisting you absolutely must put the “full name” on your child’s birth certificate so they will be employable adults 🙄

Aorh · 30/07/2022 08:57

I think there is a big difference between a nickname and a common shortening.

In this country, if you’re an Elizabeth, Matthew, Andrew, etc you will inevitably get called the shortened version at some point in your life and will likely have to actively say something to not be called it.

When naming my kids, one has a name where we loved the common shortening. The other has a few common ones and we loved all but one. I think it would be silly to not consider it - I wouldn’t have used a name where I hated the common shortening.

Nicknames come about a bit more organically, might have nothing to do with their name and not something you can control at all. I love my youngest’s full name, but from starting nursery, every possible shortening got used and some we’d not even thought of. I think it’s lovely how different people have their own names for them - it’s an indication of familiarity and friendship.

C0mfyChairP0se · 30/07/2022 09:00

Well, I don't care if some people don't get it, but it's good to give your child the option to revert to a longer name when they're older, or to a more fashionable nn.

eg Elizabeth on the birth cert even though you plan to call her Libby. It gives HER choices.

Louise0701 · 30/07/2022 09:01

@C0mfyChairP0se can you explain why it’s good? Many people don’t have name options and manage to get through life just fine.

Prairie21 · 30/07/2022 09:06

That's interesting, I'm glad I'm not the only one questioning it, and that it might be more of a thing on MN than in real life.

I definitely agree that if the name has an obvious shortening (like Alexander or Elizabeth) you should make sure you are happy with that short version as it is likely to happen.

I would have no idea how to shorten my DCs' names so will have to see what their friends come up with I guess!!

But yes to me a nickname is as @VirginiaQ says something that naturally evolves and may be completely unrelated to the name. A friend was nn "baby" through secondary school as she was tiny and looked younger than her age.

OP posts:
Prairie21 · 30/07/2022 09:09

Oh and thanks @RuthW @Aorh for your perspectives, I hadn't thought about it that way - that it might be nice for different people to be able to call you different things as it is more personal.

OP posts:
Kanaloa · 30/07/2022 09:11

If you don’t like a name being shortened I’d pick one that can’t be. Something like Alice or Jane or Shaun which is unlikely to be shortened. But then even the Shaun I know is called Shauny for an nickname! I think you have to accept that the name is given to the child and then is theirs, so they might prefer Xander rather than Alexander, or Ellie instead of Elizabeth.

I do find the attitudes to nicknames/shortenings on here (and nameberry which I’m a fan of) really odd. Like people asking ‘what can Poppy be a nickname for’ and other people suggesting the name Penelope or Philomena. And to me it just feels like you like the name Poppy. Why try to twist it into another name rather than just use the name you like. To me some of the nicknames seem super convoluted.

Squirrelsnut · 30/07/2022 09:12

I find it odd that people plan their child's nickname. Nicknames should arise naturally or not at all. I also don't think a shortened version of the fullname is a nickname. It's just an abbreviation.

Mymoneydontjigglejiggle · 30/07/2022 09:16

I think it's a good idea to consider shortenings as often names do get shortened. My name has two common shortenings, one I don't mind and the other I really dislike so it was a factor when thinking about my own dc names. I do know someone who was really keen to avoid having names that could be shortened so went with one syllable names for his kids. But now he refers to them as the first letter of their names (eg Ben is 'B'!). I find that really bizarre given how strongly he was opposed to shortened names when his wife was pregnant!

OnceAnElephant · 30/07/2022 09:31

Massive difference between a nickname and a common shortening of a name.

I've known some one for 40 years called goat. That's a nickname. Calling someone Ben from Benjamin is a shortening of a name.

NerrSnerr · 30/07/2022 09:33

Both my children have three syllable names and I expected that by now they'd go by the shorter versions but they haven't (they're 7 and 5). They have nicknames for each other that they've always called each other which is sweet.

Cotherstone · 30/07/2022 09:35

There’s a huge difference between a nickname and a diminutive. But yes, I would probably agree that as a culture, it’s normal in Britain for people to be regularly called by diminutives. Many Benjamin’s or Alexander’s or Elizabeth’s will be known as Ben, Alex or Lizzie. I know that once I know someone I often knee jerk to calling them by a shortened version, which is probably wrong!

Nicknames are silly names that attach themselves over time. My son couldn’t say my daughter’s name so she became LaLa for a long time, to most people in the family. But that’s not something I would have planned on calling her when I named her.


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NCHammer2022 · 30/07/2022 09:37

You have to cede a bit of control. My daughter’s name is quite long so when she was learning to talk she effectively made up her own diminutive which is only tangentially related to her actual name. She called herself that, so her nursery friends and nursery staff called her that, and all the rest of us too in the end.

yikesanotherbooboo · 30/07/2022 10:05

I'm from the nick names evolving camp.Having said that , thinking about it in advance is sensible if you have strong feelings about that sort of thing. Common shortenings ,Chris , Ben, Becky etc are unavoidable to some extent although the name owner can correct .The parents who try to control this by pressing their choice of nick name are the ones I don't really understand.Let the child decide is my thought on this.
FWIW DC1 has a pet name at home or is called by their full name but from about aged 11 has been known by everyone outside immediate family by the common and slightly frivolous shortening.
DC2 has a name with a lot of common diminutives but is always known by full name or occasionally the simplest shortening.
DC3 is always known by the most common shortening .
I don't really know how this has evolved but at least it is partly related to position in family and other children struggling with the longer forms of the names.

NippyWoowoo · 30/07/2022 10:53

Not sure exactly what OP means, but for me I thought of people who intend on calling their children Ted, Pippa, Beth, Theo ad Kit but naming them Edward, Philippa, Elizabeth, Theodore, and Christopher.

It's a tad pretentious to me, but then again a lot of the name threads are.

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