Nicknames (user manual needed)

So… I’m not really a nickname person generally and we never used them in my family growing up… So this is going to sound like a weird question perhaps if you use nicknames all the time…

Here is my confusion: when my son was born we announced his name (Atticus) and also noted “Kit” as an acceptable nickname because I know that some people can’t help but use a nickname and I was really anti the possiblity of “Atty” happening. So some people used [name_u]Kit[/name_u] right from the start and that’s totally fine. Most of these are people who received that initial announcement and its just a very small handful that have kept using it. But generally it hasn’t been picked up a bunch because 1) I and my husband don’t really use it ourselves 2) I feel awkward introducing him with a nickname with new people.

Basically, I don’t really get how they work… If someone asks me “What is his name?” I would always say Atticus… Cause that IS his name! It almost feels like lying if I say Kit… But like, I wouldn’t mind people using [name_u]Kit[/name_u] and he doesn’t mind either. So my question is… How do people introduce nicknames? [name_f]Do[/name_f] you just say “my kid’s name is (nickname)” and leave it at that? Then its weird when I’m calling him something else. [name_u]Or[/name_u] would you usually say “His name is (full name) but you can call him (nickname) too.” Which seems like a long and confusing introduction.

I’m asking because with baby number two we again are planning to introduce a nickname in order to avoid a nickname possibility that we really don’t want. But I imagine I’ll use his full name myself most the time. So like… How do I sound less awkward about it?

Tldr: I just don’t get nicknames because I used a name because I love it…I want to tell people that name when I introduce my children. Ideally everyone would just use their full names… But I’m willing to give chronic nicknamers an alternative to keep them happy. I just don’t get how they don’t sound totally forced and weird.


I think some people use their child’s technical nickname all the time. Like their name will be [name_f]Katherine[/name_f] on the birth certificate but they only ever call the baby [name_f]Kate[/name_f], so then they introduce them as just [name_f]Kate[/name_f]. But if you only use their actual full first name then I think it makes sense to just introduce them by that name, and then if someone used a nickname, just correct them - “please don’t call him [name_f]Atty[/name_f], if you must use a nickname then [name_u]Kit[/name_u] is fine.” I also don’t understand the obsession with nicknames. I like them and I do have a few nicknames for people in my life that I care about, and I don’t mind when people call me by a nickname, but for the most part I agree that it makes the most sense to choose your baby’s name because you like it and to give them the name you actually want to call them. [name_f]My[/name_f] MIL told me she doesn’t like our son’s name because “like, what do you call him?” “His name…” “Yeah but what should I call him?” “His name…” (The real kicker is that her children’s names don’t have nicknames either so I don’t get it.)

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I think whichever name is primarily used is the better one for introductions, which in this case seems to be [name_m]Atticus[/name_m]. If people who know him only as [name_m]Atticus[/name_m] hear you or someone else refer to him as [name_u]Kit[/name_u], you can explain then that you sometimes use [name_u]Kit[/name_u] as a nickname.

I would only introduce a child by their nickname if that’s what they use in daily life. For example my brother has a very common full name/nickname combo (think [name_m]Andrew[/name_m] ‘Andy’ or [name_m]Matthew[/name_m] ‘Matt’) and I would never think to tell anybody his name is “Andrew” because he has always gone exclusively by “Andy” and though “Andrew” is his legal name, if someone asks his name he will always say “Andy” because in a day-to-day sense, that is his name.

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Interesting question!

Whenever we introduce our sons, we introduce them by their full name. We have a nickname for all of them except my oldest. We’ve only announced the nicknames to family and close friends. Some family members still use another nickname than the one we introduced, and at first we asked them not to, but then we just gave up :sweat_smile:
Other people that use a nickname for our children usually do so because they’ve heard us use them, so it just came naturally, I guess.

I guess it depends on how often a child goes by their nickname. If you call him [name_u]Kit[/name_u] all the time, it makes sense to introduce him like that. If you only use the nickname occasionally, or it’s a form of endearment, like Húni with our [name_m]Barnabas[/name_m], then I’d introduce them by their full name.

Having worked with kids, I’ll only ever use a nickname if the kid or parent introduce themselves with it. With friends, I generally let them take the initiative too - if they start using the nickname then I will do too. I think stick with introducing him as [name_m]Atticus[/name_m] and then if he or someone wants to use a nickname, put [name_u]Kit[/name_u] forward?

[name_f]My[/name_f] kiddo’s name is [name_f]Nimue[/name_f], pronounced NIM-oo-ay, which is apparently suuuper non-intuitive for most people in the US. So I always introduce them by their full name first, but whenever I see a family member, or a nurse, or a pharmacist, or what have you stumbling over the pronunciation, I’ll just say, “you can call her [name_f]Nim[/name_f] if that’s easier.” Many folks are grateful for the easy out. I always feel special appreciation for those family members or doctors who make the effort to use the full name and spell / pronounce it correctly, but it is unusual, and [name_f]Nim[/name_f] is so easy in comparison.


Honestly, as you aren’t using the nickname at home, it’s best to just wait and see what he wants to be called when he’s older! I would find it a little awkward if somebody whose child doesn’t actually get called by the nickname tells me to call their child by a specific nickname - nicknames that aren’t everyday nicknames are a sign of friendship/love to me and those should come naturally.

If you do want [name_u]Kit[/name_u] as a nickname I’d try to force yourself to use it more often, especially when around other people.

For a second child I’d say the same thing, if you don’t use it, don’t expect others to, really!


[name_f]My[/name_f] kids’ doctor wrote [name_f]Noemi[/name_f] and Kiana’s names phonetically on their charts so that nurses will say their names right when calling for them. Before that, they were called [name_f]Naomi[/name_f] and Kee-anna.


I always use the girls’ full first names when introducing them. We will sometimes call them nicknames at home, but I don’t introduce them with their nicknames. In my husband’s culture, nicknames are given which have nothing to do with the person’s name, but usually a personality trait. So several of his friends he calls exclusively by the nickname, and I sometimes forget what their real names are. So far the girls don’t have any of these nicknames, but I assume as they get older they will.

This is exactly how I feel. I really like that approach because I really only have picked nicknames to avoid a worse option that I am worried someone will use. So I can just give it to them if it comes up I guess.

Agree! Thank you :slight_smile:

We never call him that. So it was a bit weird for a while cause he would say… why are they calling me [name_u]Kit[/name_u]? But recently he actually said he likes it and he doesn’t mind if we were to call him that. So I have tried a few times… but it doesn’t really come naturally for me. I think maybe the second kid’s nickname might be more natural since “Kit” was always a bit of a stretch from “Atticus”.

@OpheliaFlora The only reason we have the nicknames at all is because (particularly for the second kid) we hate the alternative nicknames that could be used. So it isn’t that we aren’t willing to let them pick whatever they want when they are older… its more that we just really dont want people to start using something we hate. I dont know why people can’t just use the name you tell them… but especially certain relatives seem incapable of not immediately using some type of nickname.

Wow. I actually think that is really cool. Then it kind of makes more sense to me using a nickname. It sounds special and really personalised.


Also… unrelated. But I love [name_f]Nimue[/name_f]! So great to see someone using it on a real kid. Such an amazing name.

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Unpopular opinion

Hm, to me it’s more about nicknames coming naturally and especially family should be allowed to have their own nicknames for a child, I think. It’s not like that would be the name they’d always go by, and to your family [name_u]Kit[/name_u] may not come as naturally as [name_f]Atty[/name_f] or Tic, for example. Personally, I think, unless you give your child a full name only as a back-up option in case they don’t like their nickname but only ever call them by a nickname (think [name_f]Bella[/name_f] for [name_f]Isabella[/name_f] or [name_u]Rory[/name_u] for Victoria), you get to tell people one name to call the child, whether that’s the nickname or the full name and everything else should be between your child and that person.

Maybe that’s an unpopular opinion but when you choose a name that has natural nickname options, you should expect them to come up eventually and let them be, you don’t need to use them in your home but why not let other people who are close to the child (and you don’t tend to come up with a nickname when you’re not really close to the child) have their own special name to call them?

I love the name [name_f]Ofelia[/name_f], I prefer [name_f]Fia[/name_f] or [name_f]Elfie[/name_f] as a nickname, however, if other people start to call her Ofie or Feli, the latter I dislike, I’d let them to do that and just wouldn’t personally use those nicknames. If I didn’t want those nicknames I’d make sure to tell people to call her by her full name or I’d use my preferred nicknames around others a lot so that they seem as natural as her full name.

Try “His name is Atticus, but he goes by Kit.”

Edit: Oops didn’t read your whole post! If you want to call him Atticus, just introduce him as Atticus. Or you could say “His name is Atticus, Kit for short.” That way people wouldn’t call him Atty.

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I think in this situation I would say “his name is [name_m]Atticus[/name_m]. [name_u]Kit[/name_u], for short” which is a little more concise, might remove the possibility of “Atty” but also allow you to use [name_m]Atticus[/name_m] more frequently in the conversation and prompt the other person to do the same.

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