General Question

EB_631's avatar

I hate my weird name. How do I change it without hurting feelings or causing awkwardness?

Asked by EB_631 (405 points ) September 13th, 2011

I hate my name, but not many people know that. How do I tell my friends and parents that I want to change it?
My name is Europe. Yeah, like the continent. EUROPE. It’s horrible and I feel uncomfortable introducing myself to anyone. It’s made me very socially awkward even around close friends, for whenever someone says it I cringe. Please help me! I don’t want to go through life with such a weird, ugly name.

Any advice is welcome!

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86 Answers

CaptainHarley's avatar

How old are you? I suspect that most people go through a phase where they hate their names. I know I did, but I got over it and now I love my unique name. : ))

size7's avatar

I think it’s an AWESOME name!

woodcutter's avatar

You can make a neat nickname out of that. Nobody calls me by my whole name unless I’m in trouble

Be glad you weren’t named France.

Welcome to the Fluth

JLeslie's avatar

Just have people start calling you by a nickname.

You can change your first name pretty easily though. It’s much easier than a surname usually. My grandma did it when she was very young. My boyfriend did it because the hospital screwed up when they recorded his name. I have seen Q’s on Fluther where a surprising number of people changed their name or know someone who did.

Do you know what name you want to start using?

I agree with @CaptainHarley that eventually you might really like your name, but for now if you hate it, use a different one.

I know a lot of people that use one name with family and another at school. You could consider that also.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
EB_631's avatar

@CaptainHarley older teens. It’s not a phase…..I’ve hated it all my life unfortunately :/

@JLeslie I like my middle name—Bailey. And I figure it’d be easier to use than a completely new name. But I don’t know how to tradition into it…

@XOIIO er, I’m a girl. Yeah, even sounds like a guy name.. :/

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
EB_631's avatar

@XOIIO thanks, I try to get over it, but it’s just one of those things…

JLeslie's avatar

Bailey is nice. That one will get a lot of attention in high school I figure. Just start telling your friends you want to start using Bailey, especially new friends. Eventually it will catch on, a couple people might give you a hard time, a little tease about wanting to change, don’t let it bother you. Most kids I think will just go along with it. A guy I dated used one name at school and one with his family, and a lot of us called him by both. It was no big deal. The name his family called him was not a common American name. And, some of his cousins shorted that name into a nickname. Don’t over think it. Just tell a couple of your closest friends, and hopefully they will go along with it. Next semester when you have all new teachers you can tell them at the beginning of the term. Tell your parents, they might readily cooperate, you never know.

What grade are you in?

SamIAm's avatar

I like Bailey! I hated my name growing up too. I’ve grown into it and welcome it now. I actually encourage people to call me by my full name (I don’t introduce myself as Sam anymore). Give it some time and maybe work on people calling you Bailey for now :)

woodcutter's avatar

In my part of the world people often use their middle name. Usually by boys who have their dad’s name to avoid confusion between the two. But I see no difference if a girl chooses to.

EB_631's avatar

@JLeslie , thanks for the advice, new friends shouldn’t be a problem. But people who have called me Europe for ten years….could be awkward to suddenly change it on them?
I might bring it up with them. Somehow calling me “EB” got brought up at breakfast once. Like slurred “EeBe”, ya know?

@SamIAm, thanks! I doo too. Is it Samantha? And I’ll try to, possibly change my facebook, twitter accounts to Bailey?

EB_631's avatar

@woodcutter interesting point. I guess with that though it’s normally from birth, whereas I’m on my way to college

SamIAm's avatar

@EB_631 : yes, I’m Samantha and hated it for years. I now love my name. I think you can change your name on FB to show as something else (I actually know you can, just don’t know how exactly). The question is, do YOU like Bailey? Or could you go with something different… like just go by E (which I happen to think is really cool too)?

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
EB_631's avatar

I think it’s really pretty:). I would kill for your name. I think you can, I might just swap it around and put Bailey Europe———- on there. I like Bailey better than Europe, I would change it to anything else. E, that’s interesting.

@pastorgifts47, never heard of them haha.

augustlan's avatar

I hated my (really plain and super common) name (Lisa) for years. I went by “Lee” for a very brief time in junior high, but it never really caught on. In high school, I tried to spell it differently for a while, but didn’t stick with that, either. These days, I’m fine with it. I like the idea of just asking friends, family and your teachers to call you by your middle name. If it sticks and you still feel the same way about your first name, you can always legally change it later on. You never know, though… you might come to appreciate it! For what it’s worth, I love your name.

EB_631's avatar

@augustlan it’s funny how people with common names want weird ones, and people with weird ones want common ones haha. I hope it does stick, and thanks for saying you love my name…it’s actually worth a lot(:

Raven_Rising's avatar

I like your name as well. However, if it makes you uncomfortable and you really dislike it, using your middle name would be a splendid alternative.
Or you could just go by your first initial “E”. Actually, that was the nickname used by one of my friends before she decided to change her name to “Erin”.

EB_631's avatar

@Raven_Rising, thank you. Hmmm. Possibly. Do you like EB aswell?

Raven_Rising's avatar

Its not a bad nickname. When I think of the name “EB”, I think Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little (both books were written by E.B. White) so it has a good feel to it. It might be a little easier to convince your friends/family to call you that than by your middle name as well.

But the bigger question is how do you like it? Do you think it suits you?

EB_631's avatar

@Raven_Rising. Hmm. Indeed, it does.
Good question. I’ve spent my whole life wishing I could be named anything other than Europe, so I’m not really sure what fits:). I like Bailey better than EB though, but it’s a change.

Thammuz's avatar

Just introduce yourself as something else. My girlfriend’s best friend is called Roberta, but she doesn’t like it and therefore she introduces herself as “Becky” to everyone. I don’t see anything wrong with doing something like that, afterall, a rose by any other name and all that.

EB_631's avatar

@Thammuz. Thanks for the input!
Hmm. Did her friends and family she already knew have trouble with the switch once she started calling herself Becky?

Jeruba's avatar

Women who change their names upon marriage have to retrain everybody. It’s not that hard.

I’ve known people who changed the way they used their names (Martha becoming Marti), took new last names (was Rosenthal, now Ross), changed pronunciation of their last names (anglicizing or deanglicizing), started going by their professional names, or just adopted entirely new names (Sandy Mason becoming Wolf Forrest). People get used to it. Somebody slips now and then; you do have to forgive old friends (I never did get used to calling Patti “Demeter”). It’s not that unusual. You can do it.

Think what it’s like for people who are transgendered and have to get everybody used to changing their pronouns. Now, that can be hard.

A transition time is a natural opportunity to make a switch. Changing schools is a great time, but it can be a whole lot less drastic than that. I knew one woman who went on a two-week vacation and came back to work having changed her name. She started using it for everything and was gentle but firm with reminders. After a while no one thought about her old name at all any more.

Afos22's avatar

You have a pretty awesome/original name. And I’m sure one day you will reconsider it. But, until then, just introduce yourself as Bailey. Both my grand-father, and my grand-mother went by their middle names.

gilmourfan's avatar

I hated my name for a long time too. It was a popular song in the 60’s and all of my grade school teachers had to sing it to me every year – drove me CRAZY! Now I’ve embraced it and I think it helps people remember my name easier. You always remember someone with a unique name. But like everyone else said, definitely use your middle name if you feel better with it. I had a friend in high school that we all called Midge and that was not her real name. :)

Thammuz's avatar

@EB_631 her mother still calls her Roberta, we don’t, her boyfriend doesn’t, most people don’t. My girlfriend only calls her Roberta when they’re mad at eachother.

Mat74UK's avatar

Do you have a middle name?

It was common around these parts for you to have two first names and be called by either.

eg: my grandad was christened Joseph George ___ but everyone know him by George.

lemming's avatar

I think the next time someone askes you your name you should be honest, when they seem surprised, and tell them that you hate it, and tell them why your parents chose it. It could be a great conversation started.

wonderingwhy's avatar

For whatever it’s worth, I really like Bailey. Europe seems to have worked well the continent and the band but less so for you, so yeah, give Bailey a try!

As many have said just go with it, repetition is an effective means, and if some of your friends/family question it that’s fine you just feel like you need a change – I suspect most people understand and have a lot less of an issue with it than you might think.

Also, stick to an informal change. A lot of people do that and go with their middle name just as you seem to be considering. It also makes it much easier to switch back or change again. Legal name changes are state legislated and can be complex and more trouble than their worth – especially considering on a daily basis you’ll essentially get the same results with an informal change. If you google “name change [state]” you can get a view of what’s involved for your particular state.

Until next time, Bailey, it was nice meeting you and good luck!

EB_631's avatar

@Mat74UK. Yes, it’s Bailey. I hope it’s that easy:). My parents seem to like my name…they named me it, after all.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I really like Europe. It’s kind of funky and interesting. I also know a lot of people that go by their middle name, and I like Bailey as well.

EB_631's avatar

@wonderingwhy very true. Thank you for that. Not only does it not have a pretty “ring to it”, it just doesn’t fit me in the least.

I hope you’re right! It would be amazing for everybody to just go with it and not have a problem with it or think it’s an odd decision.

I plan to, thanks for the info.

Awe, thanks for calling me Bailey!!

JLeslie's avatar

If you are on your way to college it is the perfect opportunity. I assume very few of your old friends are going to the same college, you have a new slate with all the new people. I know many people who make significant changes at the break between high school and college. Plastic surgery, major hair style change, lose 50 pounds, no reason calling yourself by a different name would not work well at that interval also.

EB_631's avatar

@JLeslie community college actually haha. But it could still have the same effect, no matter that a lot of people I know will be going there aswell. It’s still a milestone in my life.

The_Idler's avatar

Where I went to school, first names weren’t used very often.

We were generally referred to by our surnames or an abbreviation thereof.

So J. Osbourne would be Ozzy,
I was Shelton or Sheltz,
A. Robinson was Robbo,
C. O’Neill was Co’Neill.

Especially for people with very common first names, such as Joe Tickle and Joe McGarrigle, who became Ticks & McGags respectively.

I still do that often now, even with people I have met since, though I only left two years ago, so maybe itll wear off. I usually like surnames better anyway.

This was a boy’s ex-Grammar School though, so it may be something of a distinctive culture.

Either way, you should be fine asking your tutor(s) to call you by your middle or last name, and I’m sure anyone else you meet will call you whatever you ask them to.

JLeslie's avatar

@EB_631 Even community college the majority of the people in your classes will be new people you have never met before.

zensky's avatar

Just choose a catchy nickame and introduce yourself that way from now on. Your friends, if they are friends, will go along with it.

For example, My name is Europe, but you can call me Africa. Or some other name.

Or you might go with your catchy fluther nickname @C3P0 er EB_631

I’m kidding of course, but in earnest – I like your name, I also don’t think it’s a big deal to pick another.

EB_631's avatar

@JLeslie this is true. So you think I should just do it? Just tell my parents and friends that I think Bailey is more fitting and would like to go by that now?

@zensky hmm. I could never think of a nickname, or something short for my name. Africa is pretty weird as well, haha. Have any other suggestions?

The_Idler's avatar

I can’t believe your parents didn’t use Europa,
the mythical Phoenician princess for whom the Continent was named!

The_Idler's avatar

At least it’d be more girly, though I’d still be a little hesitant to call my own =P

EB_631's avatar

@The_Idler I don’t think they put very much thought into it:P

The_Idler's avatar

Well I think anything traditional (Father’s name, usual Euro Biblical name) is quite unimaginative, but that doesn’t make them bad names. In the end, I think you could’ve been way worse off if your parents had tried really hard! xP

zensky's avatar

@EB_631 What are some names of friends you like? What would you name your child?

JLeslie's avatar

@EB_631 I would have guessed your parents put a lot of thought into it.

Yeah, just do it. What the hell. It is very common for people to go by their middle name. You might be surprised at first when you forget to answer to Bailey. Haha. My husband calls me like 6 different nicknames. I have a very very common name, like Augustlan mentioned above, so my mom used to call me by the first letter of my first name and my middle name in crowded places. J.Leslie.

Plus Community College is just two years right? You can change your mind again easily.

EB_631's avatar

@The_Idler eh, it’s pretty bad. Haha I have siblings who’s names they tried on :D they don’t really like them, and they’re pretty much unheard of aswell, but mine is far worse haha.

@zensky I’ve always liked charlotte, Candice, Jaylenn, kaylee. Ya know, names that sound pretty and girly. Not exactly a name two or three girls in school have, but a name that’s heard of.

JLeslie's avatar

I think just go ahead and start with the new people you meet in college, don’t even worry about telling the old friends for now. Then you won’t have to explain yourself since you are feeling insecure about how to go about it. When you have a few people calling you Bailey you can straighten the rest out. My SIL has friends from high school who call her by a nickname that is short for my husband’s name. Not sure how that happened. So it has nothing to do with her name.

zensky's avatar

Charlotte’s Web was a favourite of mine and the kids back in the day. It was your first choice when prompted.

Charlotte it is then.

Next question?

EB_631's avatar

@JLeslie they were in Germany when I was conceived is where they got it from.

Ah so that’s where JLeslie came from. That’s actually pretty cool:)

Very true. I don’t think I’ll ever change it back to Europe, but if Bailey isn’t working for me, could always go with something just like after the two years:)

Thanks, I’ll have to tell them eventually, might as well be upfront though.

EB_631's avatar

Hahaha @zensky if only it was that easy:D it is a pretty name though:) kind of ironic that, as someone pointed out earlier, Charlottes web was written by E.B White haha.

Nimis's avatar

Europe is way better than Candice, Jaylenn or Kaylee.

I’d personally stick with Europe because it’s awesome.

Bailey is cute and isn’t too far of a stretch since it’s your middle name.

I also think Charlotte is sweet. And I like it as a nod to your initials (EB White).

EB (EeBee) isn’t that bad either. Probably the one that warrants the least explanation since it incorporates your real first name.

College is probably the easiest time to transition to a new name. But I would avoid made-up names, clever spellings or ones with superfluous letters (like Jaylenn). Sounds like you were named by a single teen mom. (Apologies to single teen moms who name their kids perfectly nice names.)

zensky's avatar

Hey, if you switch to Charlotte – I’ll give you your first nickname – which will be very cool: CHARLIE.

Nimis's avatar

@zensky Cool nickname, but what a headache.

My real name is Europe…but I’ve changed it to Charlotte…but you can call me Charlie.

zensky's avatar

Uh, no. When you’ve changed your name to Charlotte, you only have to introduce yourself thus. Charlie will catch on soon enough. Let’s ask Fluther to call you Charlie.

OK jellies?

zensky's avatar

BTW – changing a first name legally is not such a big deal. Many celebs have but one name.

My name is Charlotte – but you can call me Charlie.

EB_631's avatar

@Nimis haha that’s what you think;)
I’d rather go with Bailey since it makes more sense and would need less explaining
My name is Europe Bailey, but you can call me Bailey. vs. my name is Europe Bailey, but you can call me Charlotte

It is cute and not totally popular.

Agreed. Nope my parents have always been happily married. She’s not single just..strong willed and..erm, creative. My guess is if that my Dad said no, she pushed it anyway.

JLeslie's avatar

Yeah, no need to explain or tell your first name. Just introduce yourself as Bailey.

EB_631's avatar

@zensky hahaha. Alright then. You, zensky, can call me Charlie :D

JLeslie's avatar

Ok, first assignment, add Bailey to your Facebook name if it is not there already.

EB_631's avatar

@JLeslie it’s as Europe Bailey————-. On there, thought it might get people comfortable with Bailey a little if they saw it regularly associated with me.

JLeslie's avatar

I think it will.

JLeslie's avatar

You’re going to come back and let us know how it goes right?

EB_631's avatar

@JLeslie of course I will! Once I work up the courage to do it;) thank you SO much for your help and encouragement!!!!!!

Nimis's avatar

@EB_631 Sorry for being unclear! Jaylenn sounds like you were named by a teen mom. Europe sounds like you were named by fun and gutsy parents. :)

EB_631's avatar

@Nimis oh! No, you weren’t unclear,intotally misunderstood:). Thanks for your input by the way(:

EB_631's avatar

*I totally

emjay's avatar

@EB_631 , My name is Emerald.
I hated it when I was younger, and went by my middle name until I turned 18.
I’m still not particularly fond of it, but I don’t hate it. And I get lots of compliments on it.
One day you may change your mind. You never know.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@EB_631 My first name is Robert. Talk about a snooze fest.

EB_631's avatar

@emjay oh? How did you go about doing that? Like, did you just decide one day and people just went along with calling you by your middle name?

For the record, I think Emerald is nice.

@Adirondackwannabe hahaha. I have a friend named Robert. People call him Robbie, some call him Robo haha.

Nullo's avatar

You could call yourself Op. Or just go by your middle name; it’s your real name, after all. We have a Mary at work who goes by her middle name, Jean – which is just as well, because the next department over also has a Mary.

keobooks's avatar

I’m going to support the OP in the name change. I know people think it’s cool and original, but for many reasons, I can see it just causing lots of trouble. Not only is it a continent, it doesn’t really have a very melodious sound.

If you want to ignore the geography of the name, it’s attached to a Greek myth that really isn’t one I’d want to be named after. Europa was a woman who was transformed into a cow and then she was raped by a god who transformed himself into a bull. Thats a bit of baggage for a name.

I think this name has at least 3 reasons not to like it, and I don’t see anything wrong with wanting to change it. I sometimes wish parents did a little more research before they gave a kid a unique name without thinking there may be some good reasons it’s not been used much as a name.

EB_631's avatar

@Nullo my family sometimes calls me Opie. Like, the kid on Andy Griffeth. It’s a boy though.

And @keobooks thank you!. That’s exactly why I hate it. It isn’t pretty or flowing. It’s just different for the sake of being different.

Eeeek. I agree with the research thing. I wish they’d put just a little more thought into it.

zensky's avatar

Here are a few ideas for nicknames

Raven_Rising's avatar

@keobooks I know what you mean…my mother almost named me Gypsy Rose because she just liked the sound of it. Thankfully, she changed her mind at the last second and named me something much more conventional.

gondwanalon's avatar

Keep your name and change your attitude. I’ve always hated my name (Lon). I asked my Mom why she named me that and she said that she couldn’t remember why. Ron, Don or Jon would have been so way better than Lon. But after 60 years Lon is still my name and all the fun that goes with it. My older sisters still call me “Lonnieboy” and my friends call me “Lonzo”, “the Lonz” or “Lonnard”. HA!

Nullo's avatar

Maybe you could go by Europa and thank God you weren’t born to Frank Zappa. :D

EB_631's avatar

lol!! You @zensky, are epic. love the Lost reference.

@gondwanalon thank you, that’s a nice thing about the attitude. Lon isn’t so bad by the way(: could call you London :D

@Nullo read keobooks response haha. Might think twice..

Sunny2's avatar

My sister-in-law was named Betty Jane. She lost the Betty just by telling people to call her Jane. You can do the same with Bailey. I think that’s a neat name. You might also consider Oppie. Start with your friends. Write a note to your teachers about wanting to be called whatever you choose. Europe will stay on your records, but you can make it Europe Bailey and phase out the Europe when you leave the school you’re in.

Nullo's avatar

@EB_631 I’ve always enjoyed alternate-continuity/crossover fanfiction. :)

emjay's avatar

@EB_631 , I got sick of having to explain about all my paper work having one name on it, and going by something else. My family and close friends still call me Jordin, but I just introduce myself as Emerald to anyone new.
I suppose I kind of went back and forth with the whole name thing. When I was born, my parents called me by my middle name (its a southern thing, I think) I hated both my middle and first name. When I got into college it just got rediculous because I would have teachers calling me Jordin and not knowing who to give “Emerald”‘s paper work to. (I had to put my first name on papers for documentation purposes).

But it wasn’t hard to switch really. Just started introducing myself as Emerald instead of Jordin. When people that call me Jordin are around and I’m meeting new people I tell them that some people, like my relatives, call me by my middle name. Piece o’ cake.

I still sometimes get introduced as Jordin, and in some places, its just easier to STAY Jordin, because just like kids you go to highschool with will always use your maiden name, (most the time anyway), people used to calling you Europe will most likely always call you that.

Response moderated (Spam)
EB_631's avatar

@emjay Ah yeah I think it’s a southern thing, my extended family called my Bailey when I was younger. Like you, I hated both names so it bugged me and they quit. But now I’ve grown fonder of Bailey and would SO put up with the trouble and confusion for it(:

Thank you, you’re making it sound easy! Haha. I think my parents always will. Asking as they adapt to others calling me Bailey, I’m okay with that(:

EB_631's avatar

@Nullo but that story is a sinning horror story haha. I didn’t even know bulls raped cows :P

EB_631's avatar

@Sunny2 I just might consider that. Going by Europe Bailey for a while then phasing out the Europe. Everybody on here has given me such great ideas(: thanks

snowberry's avatar

And another vote for Bailey. Going by your middle name could help you to weed out some junk mail too.

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