The inherent value in uniqueness?

Why do so many nameberries think there is an inherent value in being unique? OK you don’t want your child to have the same name as three others in their class, but all of this “I won’t call my baby any name in the top 300”. I just don’t understand why so much importance is being placed in being different from one everyone else. (I secretly suspect these people are really conservative and naming their child is their big ‘creative’ outlet). That your name is reflective of a time and a place might actually be quite a beautiful thing - better than being called [name]Lazarus[/name] anyway!

For me, hearing a name too many times ruins something of its beauty. It doesn’t help that I’m a high-school teacher and form certain associations with many common names. I wouldn’t say that I ‘wouldn’t choose a name in the top 300’, but I would certainly be put off by a name that was heard so regularly that it became commonplace. I like names that have history and meaning, but still sound fresh.

I COMPLETELY agree. My name was ranked in the top 200 (though barely) the year I was born, and I’ve met a grand total of two other people who share it in my ENTIRE life, and the only reason I met those people is because I heard them being called by my name. I have a recognizable name, and I hear of people with my name, but I don’t meet many at all. A ranking of 150 or 200 is by no means popular. I hear people who refuse to use a name in the top 1000- it’s absolutely insane to me! It is SO much more important to have a name you love than one that’s uncommon.
I think a lot of people miss the benefits of having a common name. My name is constantly spelled and pronounced incorrectly and it’s extremely annoying- and my spelling is the original and only one in the top 1000!. I even have a plaque with my name misspelled on it. As a kid, I wanted a name like [name]Jennifer[/name]. I wanted to fit in and have a more “normal” name. I like having a less common name now, but there are times when I wish it was more recognizable to people. I think that the #1 most important thing is to pick a name you love. In my opinion, if you love a name, it will make you happy every time you hear it. It can be the #1 name of all time and you would still like it. You should never get bored of a name you’re considering using. Personally, I love [name]Sophia[/name] and would use it in a second. I could care less about the thousands of other Sophias out there. I love it, and when it comes down to it, that’s what matters.

If a popular name has meaning to you, I say use it, but if not… there are so many other beautiful names that get ignored and glossed over because of the millions of parents all naming their kids the same thing. It’s not about uniqueness to me. I think it’s about giving your baby a name that has a special meaning and place in your heart, not just slapping them with a name you heard on ten other little kids at the playground.

I agree that there are so many more beautiful names than are generally chosen - and that those most popular names are chosen so frequently that it does suggest a lack of creativity. But statistically after you get through the top 50 - you aren’t generally going to have a few in a school or workplace anyway (unless you are very unlucky. My partner [name]Bryce[/name] had four [name]Bryce[/name]'s in his class and the name wasn’t in the top 100 at that time or now). So what does it matter? I just hate names that are kooky for kooky’s sake and have no cultural relevance at all.

Because of my personal experience, I appreciate a name that I rarely hear. Being named [name]Danielle[/name] and growing up in the late 80s and 90s, I was literally surrounded by girls my age that shared my name. In fact, the two girls I grew up with (in a very very very small town, population of 500) who were also named [name]Danielle[/name] were named BECAUSE they heard that my mom had called me [name]Danielle[/name] and chose to name their daughters that, too. There was no rhyme or reason for my name; in fact, my mom chose [name]Danielle[/name] at the last minute when my grandmother vetoed mom’s first choice ([name]Harley[/name]) without knowing its history or meaning. It just seems a little ludicrous to me that three women in my small town named their daughters [name]Danielle[/name] just because and didn’t foresee that we would have to go by our last names most of the time in school.

Therefore, when I think of naming my future children, finding a beautiful name that I personally do not hear often (names that range from [name]Rowena[/name] to [name]Peter[/name], [name]Caspian[/name] to [name]Jane[/name]) is very important to me. I don’t rule out a name just because it is “in the top 300”. I think some Nameberries qualify with that when searching for names because they are looking for something they don’t hear often. They don’t want their kids to be called [name]Ryan[/name] H. or ‘[name]Emily[/name] with the freckles’ for the rest of their lives.

I’m not so concerned about the popularity, but more about associations. I like names that I don’t associate with anyone (other than family members), so I would choose names that were a bit less popular because more than likely I already know people named____and it lost its “specialness” to me.
I just go to my family tree and look up ancestors and get names from there, lol. I think that’s where the 100 year rule comes in…less associations with those names.

First off, you might want to be careful with the names you choose as an example: [name]Lazarus[/name] is my second-choice for a boy, and I believe it is neither “kooky” nor lacking in cultural relevance. I mean, it’s from the Bible. The BIBLE. :slight_smile:

Also, I do feel there is an inherent value in uniqueness. My name is fairly unique and it helped me feel special and unique myself as a child. Sure, my family was a part of that, but their choice of a special name shows that they valued individuality. And yes, there are some people who don’t like having a unique name because of difficulty with spelling/pronunciation. We can’t know ahead of time what our children will be like, and what will be important to them. All we can do is choose what we value and what we feel will be the best name possible. And for me, I value individuality, because I want my children to be comfortable being who they are, even if that’s different from the norm. I want their names to reflect the fact that they are completely and utterly unique, so that they appreciate those parts of themselves that may not be appreciated by the wider culture. This is the power my name had for me, and I want to pass that on. Which is why I prefer to use unique names.

Alright, I am a vast array of madness myself, you will find this interesting.

I love [name]Olivia[/name], love [name]Olivia[/name]! [name]Olivia[/name] is the name of my elementary school crushes sister, we were all close and [name]Josh[/name] moved away. He came back and told me he was in love with me. Then I moved away, we sucked, but [name]Olivia[/name]'s name was one that got me started as a name’aholic. I was planning on using it only as a mn until I found a, yes, unique and more historical name so similar, with a better meaning- score!

[name]Elizabeth[/name] is on the list because- Along with [name]Olivia[/name], [name]Elizabeth[/name] began the mental list when I was six. A girl in my brownie troupe was [name]Lizzy[/name] full name [name]Elizabeth[/name]. I fought with the decision to use this as a fn for so, so, so long. I mean, it is the eleventh most popular name, people! [name]Eleven[/name]! This was my inner monolouge-

“Why would I do that to my daughter?”

“Um, because you love the name?”

“I do love the name…”

“It’s like the [name]Queen[/name]!”

“And [name]Lizzy[/name] [name]Bennett[/name]”

“And you’ve loved it since you were six, you’ve only ever personally befriended the one [name]Elizabeth[/name], you know.”


“And you could use the nickname [name]Eliza[/name]!”



“Oh, like “My Fair Lady,” which was, in addition to being your first DVD ever, my goodness you’re old darling, your gift (along with flowers) after your first performance, which led you to the career you love, and you do love the Virgin [name]Queen[/name] and miss [name]Bennett[/name]/[name]Darcy[/name]. Maybe little [name]Eliza[/name] would be thrilled you are so personally connected to the name.”

“So you’re saying she won’t care it was in the top 20, because I love the name?”


“Oooooohhhh. [name]Elizabeth[/name] [name]Sabrina[/name] [name]Thisbe[/name] is on the list!”

You know what other names are on the list? Siren and Tigerlily, yep, true story, [name]Elizabeth[/name]'s sister could very well be Siren. Now, these names were not chosen for the benefit of standing out in the crowd. My mother’s nn is [name]Tiger[/name], I love the indian [name]Princess[/name] and wanted to be her after watching the taped Broadway play (a year later I was on a stage, and now it’s my job!) and [name]Lily[/name] was a favorite from early on like [name]Olivia[/name] and [name]Elizabeth[/name], you could say it picked me.

Siren is a combo name, the S from [name]Selma[/name] and the [name]Iren[/name] from [name]Irene[/name] are my two great-grandmothers names who mean a great deal to me. I look just like [name]Irene[/name], who died when my poppa was four, we recently re-vamped the one picture of her and though I don’t believe in reincarnation, I believe in strong DNA! Siren also means singer and I love the mythology about the singers luring men to the rocks. Yep, I’m a looney, but [name]Eliza[/name] is on my list, so I’m a looney with good taste.

[name]Britt[/name] favs like [name]Gwendolyn[/name], [name]Beatrix[/name] and [name]Jemima[/name] are there, the latter being mn’s. I didn’t pick them because of the popularity, or lack there of here in the states, I just go with what I love!


[name]Bella[/name] <3

The notion that there is inherent value in uniqueness (or individuality) is a very Western idea. I don not believe for a second that it is inherent.

I find this discussion kind of humorous actually. Making generalizations on what is “unique” based on what one person considers unique is, in a way, completely unique. Everyone’s definition of unique is different, is it not? A unique name can be different, creative, special to the namer, rare, made-up or weird. [name]Lazarus[/name] might be creative and hip to one person, where it might be religious and boring to others.

And I do think there is a natural tendency to want to be unique. Maybe it’s a “Western” idea, but I don’t think so. I go to a big University in the US and we have a good deal of international students. One of my best friends, and former roommates, is from South [name]Africa[/name]. We often discussed names and she, being kind of obsessed with all things [name]German[/name] and Scandinavian, told me of the cool names she wants to use for her kids one day. The main reason because she loves [name]German[/name]/Scandinavian names, and her love of those countries is unique to her in our group of friends, and also because she plans on living in the US and names like [name]Sven[/name] and [name]Hilda[/name] are pretty unheard of. Each person is an individual, we’re all different, so it’s only natural to want our names to reflect that. Maybe not as kids, when its better to fit in with the crowd, but as an adult I definitely like being able to distinguish myself by my name. I’m so glad I was never [name]Sara[/name] Lastname (in kindergarten I had four Saras in my class) or [name]Jessica[/name] X.

I personally like names that are rare. I love art, film, music- anything creative. I like my names to reflect that. I pick names based on personal meaning to me, and since I love a lot of more obscure things (like [name]Beat[/name] Literature and [name]Indie[/name] Films) the names I end up liking are more obscure. [name]Reading[/name] [name]Jack[/name] [name]Kerouac[/name] changed my life. I would totally name my child [name]Kerouac[/name]. I’m sure that’s totally weird to a lot of people, but to me it makes sense. Another thing I love is [name]Israel[/name] and Israeli culture. I love the name Tzuri, which means “my rock” in Hebrew and comes from my favorite Psalm (19:14). So, I do love unique names, but more importantly I love names that reflect what’s unique about me.

Many cultures value the community over the individual. In these cultures that names reflect heritage is much more important than their uniqueness. So I continue to disagree that most cultures value uniqueness - it is just that [name]America[/name] is a culture that does value individuality.

That’s fine that you don’t believe it. I respect that. Can you respect that I do believe it, and not judge me or my unique names for it? :slight_smile:

It’s also important to keep in mind that the majority of commenters on Nameberry are located in the US. So, by asking, why Berries tend to like unique names you should realize that in the US individualism is an important concept. Historically, individualism is associated with liberalism. The US, in many ways and in certain areas, is very liberal and therefore individualistic, and it is what has created a complex and multi-faceted community here. That is not, in any way, to say that Americans only favor individualism. [name]America[/name] is an extremely diverse (racially, religiously, socio-economically and philosophically) country. I’m not saying that’s any better than the cultures in other countries, but it is what it is. The US tends to favor forward movement and progressivism (a country founded on rebellion), so it only makes sense that this would manifest in naming trends. But I don’t think it’s at all true that Americans only value individualism. Many people I know use family names (might there be a greater assortment of names because the population of [name]America[/name] is substantially larger than most countries?) and hey, I’m named after family, and I plan to use family name somehow on my kids as well. And some of the most popular names here are totally traditional ([name]William[/name], [name]Michael[/name], [name]Elizabeth[/name], [name]Emma[/name]- all are very popular, and very traditional). And as a general rule, I wouldn’t say that the names Name Berries tend to like are in any way representative of the US at large. Names I hear on these boards often are rarely heard in my day to day life. The Wikipedia article on Individualism and the US has some interesting background information - And it’s totally cool that some believe that traditional or community naming is better than unique naming- that’s what makes each culture unique, no?

I must say, I’m slightly offended by the many generalizations of Americans I’ve been hearing lately, and not just in this post- Americans value uniqueness over community, Americans are extremely class-conscious, etc. They are wildly general. They are certainly true for some Americans, but not all, or even most.

I am trying to create discussion. Have critical thought. I thought [name]America[/name] was about freedom of speech? This is not about personal criticism of anyone or their views and I’m not sure how it could be taken as such - I gave [name]Lazarus[/name] as an example randomly (I am unable to read the minds of strangers on the other side of the world). This is about looking a bit deeper into the reasons we like or dislike names. I find cultural differences interesting and valuable. Being from a different culture myself some of these differences are glaringly obvious reading these posts. That is all. Discussion.

I am not saying American’s value uniqueness over community - I am asking: do they? Because these posts suggest they do. I don’t know where your comment about class conciousness is coming from.

I’m all for freedom of speech. You absolutely have the right to feel anything you want about Americans and express that. I’m simply engaging in the discussion. But I don’t understand how you can draw conclusions about an entire culture from an online discussion board.

I agree with this. While these discussions have been interesting, I don’t think its fair or accurate to say X country values this or Y country doesn’t. Especially in the US, there are so many different kinds of people from all different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences that I don’t think you can make such sweeping generalizations. I might not have the same values as my neighbor nor the same opinions on names just because we live in the same country. Certainly, some people in the US place value on individuality and strive to help their children be unique and express themselves, but other people may encourage their child to work for the good of the community even if that means getting lost in the crowd sometimes. Everyone has a different kind of parenting, different values, and different naming styles. I think its constructive to discuss our personal values and the personal preferences we have with names, but saying that an entire country shares a name preference is just summing up millions of utterly different people.

Hopefully I didn’t offend anyone - I’m not trying to rant on what anyone’s said, I just think that we could all just be a bit more conscientious of talking about a country or a culture like its “one person”. Thanks for hearing my opinion.

  • [name]Sydnee[/name]

Of course everyone is different - but people do share cultural values. You berries seem easily offended: shall we stick to flower names instead of discussing any thing real?

I agree that not wanting a name in the top 300 is slightly rediculous. I think if you dont want a popular name, search for the popular names in your state, as believe it or not there is a significant diffrence from state to state. And even then, pay more attention what you hear all the time. Alot of people mention knowing alot of [name]Sophie[/name]'s/[name]Sophia[/name]'s and i have never met one in my entire life. And my name ([name]Jessica[/name]) was in the top 10 when iw as born and i have only ever met 3 others. I wouldnt say that people that want diffrent names are conservitive and want a big change. And i dont really think that anyone on nameberry chooses waaaay out there names. We are not naming out children bedspread and electic fan, we look for names weith history and that have meaning. [name]Just[/name] becuase you dont understand a name and think its weird, it may have a significance for that person. But with popularity in general, most people (i think) that look more indepth in names, are people that grew up [name]Sara[/name] a. because there was also [name]Sara[/name] C E M L K P and Z. And i imagine that would be very annoying and i wouldnt wish that on my child, similar to yooneik spellings in my opnion.