I’m not a big fan of nicknames. I thought there had been a big name trend away from nicknames, and small children going by their long full names, but I guess that didn’t happen or happened very quickly, or the effort was made but failed incredibly?
I knew a guy named [name]Michael[/name] in college who always corrected people who tried to call him [name]Mike[/name], and not seem annoyed by having to say it either. I know a [name]Susan[/name] who calls herself [name]Susan[/name] but nobody else does. She will tell someone her name, [name]Susan[/name], they will go on to introduce her as [name]Sue[/name], so everyone calls her [name]Sue[/name]. That has got her too beat to contest.
I like some names, and I like some nicknames of such, I wonder what all it is about a name where some people like a nickname better and search for a plausible formal name, or think of a formal name they like and plan to use some nickname. I dislike a lot of the nicknames, especially if they seem convoluted and not intuitive (like if you are named [name]Caroline[/name], but want to be called [name]Olie[/name], not [name]Carrie[/name] - nobody seems to have suggested it, but I see similar inventions).
I have a non-nickname name and always wanted a nickname in high school, for a change, a chance to be sort of different. Nobody gives me a nickname or has to ask how my nickname even partially resembles my formal name.
I also like shorter, simpler names also, might have something to do with it. When people are calling you or talking to someone else about you, nicknames are short tags. File these reports with [name]Don[/name], then get the rest of the receipts from [name]Andrew[/name] ([name]Andy[/name] never gets shortened to And like [name]Donny[/name] to [name]Don[/name], just goes back to [name]Andrew[/name]!). I once worked in an office with a [name]Giulietta[/name], an older woman, nobody every shortened her name, and it wasn’t weird or time-consuming to say her whole name. I also worked with [name]Thomasina[/name] who said she never went by [name]Tommie[/name] or [name]Tammy[/name] her whole life, she was [name]Thomasina[/name], not weird or time-consuming, that’s just her name.
You do have a shot if you make the effort to enforce it, and enforce it with your daughter. She may be like me and want to have a nickname later, but I couldn’t make it stick, and I’m glad now. I think past a certain point you get used to your name that it becomes odd to start having a nickname, but some people if they have a preference, go through it until their nickname (or in some cases, a changed name or middle name preference) sounds as normal as the name they were called all the earlier years. Once you accept you have a long name that is suggestive of various nicknames, I think you get very protective of it. I think in the case of [name]Penelope[/name], if she says she is [name]Penelope[/name], people will call her that. Some people will call her [name]Penny[/name], nobody will be clever enough to create interesting nicknames as a parent would, and if she really hates [name]Penny[/name], or you do in her defense before she can say so herself, just correct people who do that.
As for [name]Gretchen[/name], a pet name is different from a nickname. Some people just think children are so small and undeveloped a big name just is too adult they have to grow into it. Gretchy is kind of yucky for a diminutive, but some people just can’t help it. Scooter is kind of eh. Are people saying they just don’t want to call her [name]Gretchen[/name]? Or are they trying to be cute? This came up with someone else whose niece has that name, whose own parents call her Gretchy and this poster tried to think of something else.
I really think this is mostly a non-issue in life. [name]Will[/name] [name]Penelope[/name] or [name]Gretchen[/name] go to school with Millies and Evies, and Poppys and Livies, and their friends will say, ‘yeah, but what’s your nickname?’ like it’s weird not to have one. They can just have their name and tell people to call them that. It should work.