Common Names

I hope I don’t offend anyone with this thread, but I really don’t understand why people would use the commonest of names. I always loved unique/rare/exotic names, I believe it gives a child some kind of individuality. Unless you promised you relative or you want to honor them or something like that… would you give your child a common/popular name? If yes, does it actually bother you that it’s common, but you like it so much you don’t want to give it up? Or are you one of these people who believe exotic names are an option for strange people and a child with an exotic name will suffer?

Have you ever read Pride and Prejudice?
In it, Charlotte Lucas makes a choice that completely baffles Elizabeth and her reasoning is completely practical. She looks at her personality and her prospects and makes the most logical choice she can. She’s just not “romantic”. Jane reminds Lizzie that not everyone is the same, and not everyone makes decisions for the same reasons.

I think naming is the same. Not everyone makes naming decisions with a passionate love of names. They just want something practical and uncomplicated. Unique names just don’t interest some people, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Additionally, some people would rather have an easy, recognizable name than something they, their family, or friends consider “weird”. They think it will be better for their child in the long run. Like wearing a uniform everyday to work rather than choosing a stylish outfit that’ll get lots of compliments. Common names are sturdy and easy to wear. They might never be complimented, but they’ll never be questioned either and are less likely to be teased.

For the most part. No, I wouldn’t give my child a common name because I can’t bare to think of them as one of three or more in their class/year. Growing up I had an usual name (it’s popular in [name]England[/name] now though), and I really did love it. However some people who’s names aren’t their “thing” will stick with what they know, some people are afraid to explore and therefore choose something that they have seen regularly. Also there is the opinion that common names are easy for a child as everyone knows how to pronounce them and spell them, I think sometimes exotic names are a burden on children, one of my childhood friends was [name]Mairead[/name] and she was forever telling supply teachers how to pronounce her name. I love the name [name]Caoimhe[/name] for example but I couldn’t think of saddling a child with it because they would spend their lives explaining it’s spelling/pronunciation/origin etc. It’s just someone’s opinion, and it’s okay that you don’t agree with it, but try not to be too harsh. :slight_smile:

kala_way, what a nice example! Yes, I’ve read Pride and Prejudice, it’s one of my favorite books. Thank you for your message… really makes sense to me now. Yet it’s hard to imagine choosing a name that would only be “practical”. Well, it’s just me, I suppose.

milliemm, thank you! Sorry, I really didn’t mean to offend anyone or to sound harsh and mean. I’m just curious.

I wouldn’t choose a name because it was common but I wouldn’t not choose a name I loved because it happened to be popular. [name]Henry[/name] is common but I love it and it happens to be a family name for someone who is incredibly important to me. I think a lot of beautiful names happen to be popular right now. Popular names are generally pleasing to the ear, easy to spell, maybe have a history -and perhaps familial connections for many people, etc., all great reasons that they became popular. Although, I guess I am speaking of popular classic names, less so than popular trendy names. Growing up, no one ever knew how to spell my name and it was frustrating, so I get the appeal of names that are more mainstream. I do [name]LOVE[/name] when I find that someone has given their child a beautiful name that I do not have the pleasure of ordinarily seeing in real life on a real person, what a treat. People have different naming priorities. For me, meaning(either the meaning of the name or the connection my husband or I have to the name) trumps popularity concerns. I don’t think sharing a name makes anyone less special. Yes, names are worth considering but I don’t think I am making my child more or less unique/special by giving him or her a certain name. Hopefully, whatever I endeavor to teach and foster in my children will make them individuals.

I tend to like plainer names and hopefully I can help you out. I think everyone tends to want to name their child for the child they want them to be. I don’t want my child to be a fairytale prince or princess. I want them to be down to earth and likable and relatable and one of a kind but ordinary. I feel like a lot of the fancier names for a girls place value on beauty or class or exoticism, which I just don’t see as that important. I want my children to be kind and smart.

I am also a literature person and, to be honest, the fancy named people always ended up dying, or in unhealthy relationships, and the more ordinarily named people tended to do better. I also like the heritage and namesakes that ordinary names tend to have because they have been used through the years. [name]Lucy[/name], [name]Jane[/name], [name]Jack[/name], [name]James[/name], and [name]Alice[/name] all have lots of great people to look up to with their names.

My favorite girls name is [name]Elizabeth[/name], really common but I compleatly love it! I love the sound,the history, and the derivitives of it. I love it to much to be concerened about how common it is. That’s what it comes down to for me, how much do I love the name? If I love it I don’t really care how common or uncommon it is. However I really do like the idea of an uncommon name so I attempt to find a more uncommon middle name to go with a more common first name. The reverse of that is also true for me, due to the fact that kids often want to fit in I like to use more common names as middles for the uncommon first names. I want to give my kids names that will allow then to either stand out or blend in depending on the sort of person they are. For example one of my best friends has a very uncommon first name (less than 20 born in the us the year we were born) and in middle school she went by her middle name because it is a more common name for girls her age (although it still is not a popular name)

I agree. I grew up with a very unique name and I loved it! I can sign a card with only my first name and people know who it’s from. At work I can call and leave a message using only my first name and they call me right back. It is a precious gift of a lifetime having a unique name. :slight_smile: I couldn’t imagine giving the name [name]Sophia[/name] or [name]Madaline[/name] to my daughter. There are 3 [name]Sophie[/name]'s and 4 [name]Maddy[/name]'s in my nephew’s first grade class. I feel so bad for them. They will go by including the forst letter of their last name most of thier lives!

I understand why people choose common names that are classics. I can see the appeal of that. What I don’t understand is why people choose trendy names that are common. [name]Elizabeth[/name], [name]William[/name], [name]James[/name] and [name]Sarah[/name] make sense to me. [name]Aiden[/name], [name]Brayden[/name] and etc not so much.

There are a lot of benefits to having a common name that I think a lot of people overlook. No one will ever think that [name]Emily[/name] or [name]Jack[/name] are weird names, but you will get mixed reactions to [name]Beatrix[/name] and [name]Blaise[/name]. A name being popular means that a lot of people find it appealing, and having an appealing name is never a bad thing. And common names don’t need to be “pulled off-” they’re very wearable on any kind of personality. You’ve got to be a certain type of person to pull of [name]Tiberius[/name], but [name]Tyler[/name] could be anyone. In the same way, common names don’t put an expectation on a person- [name]Lily[/name] could be a hippie performance artist, a CEO, a kindergarten teacher, or a mechanic, but [name]Boheme[/name] seems pretty stuck in hippie-dom.

This isn’t true of all common names, but many are very easy to pronounce and spell. Sure, there are variants of [name]Sophia[/name] and [name]Madeleine[/name], but [name]Sofia[/name]-with-an-f is a lot easier than [name]Ariadne[/name]: A-R-I-A-D-N-E. And another user recently brought up a privacy issue: sometimes, you don’t want to be the only one in the world with your name. It might be good to be able to hide, especially in the internet age when you don’t always have complete control over your online presence. Maybe you don’t want random people who google your name to know that you won a dance competition at age 13 or that you were president of your fraternity in college.

That said, there are benefits to unusual names as well; neither option is better than the other. Personally, I evaluate names individually on other merits, without really taking popularity into account.

[name]One[/name] other thing- I don’t think having a unique name makes you a unique person. There are plenty of creative, unusual, even bizarre people named [name]John[/name] or [name]Elizabeth[/name] and probably a few boring Zipporahs- the person makes their identity, not the name.

Same as why people who prefer classic names, don’t understand why people would name their kid something whacky. I have a relatively unique name (here in Denmark, at least), and as I mentioned in another thread, I’ve always absolutely hated it and people have always mispronounced and misspelled it. That’s the reason why I would never give my child an out-there name.

Very well said.

Some people are not into names. A few of my friends and relatives were so ho-hum when they were expecting. I think naming a human being is a big deal but they just weren’t too concerned. They basically went with what they heard when they were out and about- [name]Aiden[/name], [name]Mia[/name], [name]Isabella[/name], [name]Jayden[/name]

Different cultures have different beliefs about names. I believe that what you call a child is very important and can influence who they will be and how the world sees them. Others feel the child makes the name so whatever you name them, they will be who they were meant to be. Common names are safe and one-size-fits-all; not my cup of tea but some like that.

Obscurity is my number one characteristic in liking a name, but obviously that isn’t the norm! Most people are more comfortable fitting in rather than standing out. Plus, many common names have family history or literary meaning to those choosing them.

A name doesn’t make you stand out, your personality does (I sincerely hope I’m not the only one thinking this). As daisy451 mentioned, you can be named [name]Rainbow[/name] Scheherazade Unicorn and still be just an average girl, equally you can be named [name]Elizabeth[/name] [name]Sarah[/name] and be the coolest person with a personality that really stands out in the crowd. I actually got slightly offended by your post, though I’m sure you meant no harm, it sounds pretty superficial. [name]Just[/name] because you don’t have a fancy pansy name, you’re not as special as those with “unique” names? At least that was what I got from your post, and I do hope I just misunderstood it :slight_smile:

I agree with [name]Zelia[/name] on this, a name doesn’t make you special. It can make people expect you to be more unique.

And I also want to say this, the reason why I’m choosing less normal names is because I love them and find them beautiful (not all uncommon names, obviously, but my chose ones). It’s not because they’re as unusual as they are. If I’d felt the way about [name]Sophie[/name] as I do about Illyria, I’d use it in a heartbeat no matter how common it was.

I could not agree with [name]Ottilie[/name] more on this. If I felt a ‘common’ name like [name]Madison[/name] was just as beautiful as my lovely [name]Corisande[/name], I would have a [name]Madison[/name], not a [name]Corisande[/name] one day. But as it happens, I don’t, so I won’t. I choose a name because I love the way it looks and sounds, not because it is common or uncommon.

I think some people are just more practical. Like it or not, something straightforward like [name]Claire[/name] or [name]Elizabeth[/name] is way more practical than something cool and offbeat like [name]Seraphina[/name] or [name]Thisbe[/name]. [name]Claire[/name] has [name]WAY[/name] more versatility than the other two - its just a fact and to some people, that is more important than standing out.

Personally, I would shy away from something very popular - but there are a few ([name]Claire[/name], [name]Victoria[/name], [name]Elizabeth[/name] specifically), that I just love the sound, history or connotations of.

I agree very strongly with [name]Zelia[/name] and ottilie. I do not believe, at all, that bearing a common name makes you common, nor vice versa.

Popular names are usually popular for a reason. [name]Jennifer[/name], for example, is a really wonderful name. It’s linked to the old Arthurian legends, has a very unique phonetic stamp (no other girl’s name is really like it), it’s formal and pretty yet versatile. [name]Sophia[/name] is ravishing, elegant, deeply rooted, with an uplifting meaning and many aspirational namesakes. It’s hardly a mark of bad taste or reflexive lemming-like conformity to choose such a name.

The fact is, if you’re picking a name from a list of names, someone else at some point in time has borne it. It’s not unique to your child, in any way. It assigns them to a class just like [name]Aiden[/name] or [name]Mason[/name] does. If you feel strongly, you should carry this line of thinking to its logical conclusion and invent a name for your child such that s/he is the only one ever to bear it.

Thank you everyone for replying!

I noticed everyone says that name doesn’t make a person. Despite what I said in my first message, I agree, but I do believe that a person’s name influences their personality. Creative names are rare, therefore personality will be sort of different too. Like it’s a guarantee from birth… I have never met an ordinary person with no-ordinary name, that’s my experience.
I don’t mean these with common names are ordinary, of course not. I know many people I look up to whose names are quite usual.