How much did you let others influence your name choices?

For those of you who have chosen a name, how much did you really let others influence your decision? Did you care about the opinions of family? Society? Your child’s peers? Google associations? All of the above?

I find myself envying friends who seem to have confidence in their own choices without validation, and I don’t know how to have that freedom. I think my experience has to do with personality as well as pragmatism. While my husband and I may think a name is lovely and flows beautifully, when I imagine a real child living with it, it keeps me from being even moderately brave.

I would love to hear your stories and experiences!

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We chose not to tell anyone baby’s name until after he was born, so to make sure there would be no super negative associations or anything I mostly went off of what people on nameberry said. I also googled the name and searched it on social media. But overall we didn’t want to be bombarded with family and friend’s opinions so we chose not to tell them until he was born. Mostly because my MIL has a history of telling people she doesn’t like their baby name and even calling the baby by the name she wanted them to pick instead of their real name.

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oh wow, what a MIL :laughing: That would send me over the edge. thank you for sharing!!

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We didn’t share our baby name (girl or boy option) with anyone. We didn’t want other peoples opinions confusing our own or “spoiling” a name we loved. As it turned they all seemed to love it anyway but I think our boy name would have been slightly more controversial.

What might also help is that I’m a teacher in an area school so children attend from age five right through to eighteen. What I’ve discovered is that bullying based on names is basically non existent these days as there as such an array and variety of names from different backgrounds/cultures/tastes etc. Nothing particularly stands out in a “oh that’s something we could bully them about” way.

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That is so encouraging! As a teacher you must have heard so many beautiful names over the years. Thank you for your insight!

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I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least somewhat concerned about how our choice would be perceived. It is nice when people compliment something you do and it hurts when people are mean, judgmental or cruel. We picked a name for our son that isn’t common, so I knew it could go either way.

Still, that said, we didn’t give people a chance to directly influence the name. We chose his full name around 11 weeks gestation and refused to talk names with anyone. Oh, they tried…believe me, they tried. We had people tell us what we had to name him. We had people try to guilt trip us into using a name of someone close to them, or their own names. We also had family members criticizing random names just to make sure we wouldn’t chose them. We kept repeating that we would announce his name when we was born. People had very mixed responses in the end but by then we realized their opinions actually mattered less than we’d thought. We can’t imagine our son by any other name.

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I love that our children come to embody the names they are given! Did you give any hints to prying family or keep entirely mum the whole time?

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We were confident in our choices for our first two boys and for a girl. We told our families and also anyone who directly asked. Our older son’s name is more unusual and gets mixed responses, but I love it too much to care, and if I explain how we chose it most people then respond, “Oh, that’s cool.”
Third time around, we had a tough time choosing a boy name, and we started asking for feedback, reasoning that if people hated this or that choice it would help us narrow down the list. And we did end up crossing off one top contender because my mom loathed it. We see my parents a couple times a week, and I would rather not use a name I know baby’s grandma hates. We ended up with our daughter that time, though :slightly_smiling_face:

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We didn’t share the names we’d chosen with anyone, so I wasn’t influenced by the opinions of friends and family. The only one who knew our shortlist was my twin brother, and while we have a different taste in names, I knew he’d never actually dislike any name I picked (and I’d never dislike his choices).

When deciding on a name I suppose we did take into account how the name would be perceived by “society”, but only because we don’t want our children to have a name that has a very negative association or meaning. We didn’t exactly go with safe options in the end, and I haven’t regretted that for a second. I don’t care if everyone likes their names (and such a name probably doesn’t exist). We get mixed reactions to their names, and I don’t mind. Their names are meaningful and perfect.

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I googled and asked here to make sure there weren’t any negative connotations I hadn’t thought of, but we didn’t really take anyone else’s opinions into account. We went for an unusual first name with a more familiar nickname and I think it strikes a good balance

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So since I’m having another boy, I didn’t get a chance to use Cytheria for a daughter. I probably would have eventually gone with it because it’s always felt so right but there are some pretty undeniable pornstar associations if you Google it.

With my first, I got quite a lot of negative feedback on [name_u]Sequoia[/name_u], but now everyone I meet swoons over it, so I’m very glad I didn’t listen to the haters. It can be really tough, though!!!

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I didn’t. I asked my sisters and parents for their opinion just to see, but made it clear it wouldn’t change my mind (although I had no negative feedback which helped). [name_f]My[/name_f] son’s dad’s mum did say she didn’t really like it, but I wasn’t bothered in the slightest by this and he is now 20 months old and she calls him by his name so it can’t be that bad :sweat_smile:

I did also ask on here when I was considering his name and nothing said was negative (a few said NMS if I remember rightly, but I wouldn’t call that negative). Not that any negative feedback would’ve deterred me anyway, unless I was setting my child up for a life of hating his name.

His name isn’t popular but it isn’t unusual or unheard of which helped I think.

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With my first baby, who we named [name_u]Finn[/name_u], I got a lot of negativity from my family when we told them his name before he was born. [name_f]My[/name_f] mother spent a good hour on her phone, scrolling through baby names, and just throwing them at me randomly to see if any would change our mind. I was mortified and kept thinking “wow, if she’s offering so many she must really hate it.” She said I should use it as a middle name. She said he would be bullied.

[name_f]My[/name_f] grandmother was upset it’s not a [name_u]Christian[/name_u] name but she was less vocal than my mother and didn’t really offer any alternatives. I think it did help that the middle names we chose were more classic, and one is actually a saint name, but still she wasn’t thrilled.

[name_f]My[/name_f] aunt went as far as to say “where did you find THAT?”

We chose the name anyway as we both loved it and were in total agreement. It helped to see it rising in popularity on baby name sites even if I knew nobody in real life with the name. It made me less worried about bullying and what society would say as a whole.

When I was pregnant with my second, I did mention once to my mother what I wanted to call him, and she made it clear she didn’t care for it–but there was no list of names or pressure to change my mind anymore. And now we’re estranged (for so many reasons) and I never had the chance to hear what they would have thought of my girls’ names. Their opinions hurt. [name_m]Even[/name_m] knowing the issues in our relationship, I had this idea that when it came to my kids, they might be less critical overall. But I’ll never forget how I felt as she read me all those names. [name_m]Even[/name_m] though we didn’t take it too much to heart (not enough to change our minds anyway). And I’m so glad we didn’t as I love my kids’ names. I can’t picture them now by any other name.

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We chose to give a hint when we were 100% sure on baby’s name, a few weeks before his birth. It was a pile of books which each were a hint towards the name, and a letter board with the letters of his name all scrambled up. 20210714_173131
For us this was a fun way to 1. Show everyone his name was set in stone and their opinions wouldn’t matter. 2. Show everyone we were serious about not telling them the name. 3. Get everyone talking about the hint rather than just constantly bugging us to tell them the name. It was also really fun to see everyone’s guesses and a lot of people said they loved the hint because it was a way for them to be involved in the excitement of the pregnancy, but we liked that it didn’t give anyone the chance to be too involved - no more “you should name him this!” because he already had a name. It was also nice because some people did end up guessing the correct name so it was kind of a way for us to get their tentative reactions and hear other people say the name without them actually knowing the name (we didn’t tell anyone if their guesses were correct or not). It was definitely a good happy medium and we plan to do the same thing again for future babies.

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I am not a parent, but speaking from the perspective of a few people these are some various things that influenced their name choices:

  • my mom named my brother and I with our resumes in mind, she wanted to pick racially ambiguous names so that when the time came to apply for jobs we weren’t thrown to the side for being hard to pronounce (yes this happens). So in this way she let others influence her choice but she still picked names SHE loved, just also made sure they were easy to pronounce and not too out there. I was born in the 90s my brother in the 80s. [name_f]Bianca[/name_f] & [name_m]Stephen[/name_m]

  • my brother has a son and he gave him his first name and my middle name (so sweet, love this so much), so less others and more an honor name

  • I have a best friend with two children, and this one is interesting because race also played a part in her naming them. her children are biracial and the names she had picked out for her second child, a little boy, were very different from her husbands taste. she liked Finna and [name_m]Nash[/name_m] but hubby said they were “too white” lol I agreed and that kind of ended that.

I think it’s a matter of what’s important to YOU. What are you concerned about mostly? For me I think my main concern is bullying, kids are freaking ruthless and all it would take is ONE zit for him to be Rashy Nashy for LIFE

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With our first, my husband and I handed out naming brackets (we did this at my baby shower, his diaper party and family get togethers). We weren’t sure what we were naming our daughter so it was a fun way to see which names were the most popular with people and which never made it past the first round. We also told people to write their name suggestion on the back and if we ended up going with their final bracket pick, then they’d get a prize after the baby was born. Anyway, it ended up being a nice way for people to give their opinion on names without being rude (because let’s face it, just like on this message board, people just like to give their opinions on names) and it was interesting to see which names were popular/unpopular and to read through people’s suggestions.

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I also work in education, and I would agree, the concern around playground bullying I think is less real than we may imagine it to be. Not to say kids can’t be mean, but I have observed it being way harder for kids to be unusually short or have very red hair or something like that than have a less common name.

And this isn’t just for trendy but uncommon names, this is all sorts of names sometimes chosen by the kids themselves. I have a student right now who choses to go by his late father’s name, a name very tied to the 80s and very much not in style. I have another who goes by a name that is really more a sound than even a word. And you know what, its fine!

I should probably give the caveat that I have always worked in areas and institutions with fairly high degrees of racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity, so this may be less true in more insular communities, but I think this is the direction we are headed in.

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