Social Question

gimmedat's avatar

Is a nickname or a real name more intimate?

Asked by gimmedat (3868 points ) August 4th, 2010 from iPhone

IRL, when talking to someone, would you say that the use of a nickname represents a closeness, or the lack thereof?Is it that you feel close enough to call another person a cute little nickname, or is it a denial of his/her real presence?

Perhaps I am over-thinking this, but I wonder, generally, if a nickname represents a closeness and comfort level, or the denial thereof.

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31 Answers

augustlan's avatar

From my point of view, the use of a nickname (I’m thinking of ‘private’ nicknames, not common ones like Joe for Joseph) is an indicator of intimacy.

ducky_dnl's avatar

When people refer to me as ducky it’s not intimate at all. I call myself ducky most of the time, even to strangers. When people use my real name that’s not intimate either..well to me it doesn’t seem intimate. There is only one name that I feel is intimate and only one person knows that name.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

It depends, I suppose. My husband is the only person in the world that refers to me as “pork chop.” I’d say that’s a special nickname. Specifically a pet name, I believe.
However, more people know me as “Neffie” than by my birth name. In fact, most people that I know have no idea what my birth name is because so few people use it. So I think it really does depend.

perspicacious's avatar

You are over thinking if you are talking about nicknames that everyone calls a person. When it’s a nickname that only one person calls another, that can certainly represent a closeness unique to those two people.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Private, intimate nicknames can be a real turn-on. Common nicknames? Meh.

partyparty's avatar

Nicknames, personal to only yourself and your SO are just that, private, but lovely.

lapilofu's avatar

I think nicknames are more intimate. Most real names were chosen for us before we really were a person. Most nicknames were developed either out of a sense of ourselves or a relationship with someone else—they’re much more likely to describe who we are and I see using one is a subtle acknowledgement of one’s chosen identity.

MacBean's avatar

Whichever one people have to know you better to be allowed to use.

ucme's avatar

Well the wife sometimes calls me King Dong, an indicator of intimacy? You bet!

gypsywench's avatar

I think it depends on the person and your relationship. For instance, a minor acquaintance everyone calls “Cheeto” vs. “Doobie” a close friend of mine. I barely know Cheeto. The nickname is apart of his anonymity. Doobie is the best and it’s more out of closeness.

Frenchfry's avatar

I think nickname means you know that person closer then others. My hubby nickname is Chuckie but the not even close to his real name.

Cruiser's avatar

The employment of nickname not only indicates a deep personal connection with that person it also often indicates as sense of immediacy or urgency to certain moments of communicating needs and desires such as…

“Snooogums!! Can I have money to go shopping??”
“G&* D^@@$&!! Did you leave the bowling ball in the middle of the kitchen??”
“Hey Cruiser! Can you drive me to the teen center?”

Hearing a nickname often mean you are on the hook for something!

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I have quite a few nicknames.I think it’s an indication that they can’t remember my real name ;)

Jude's avatar

I tend to do that. When I feel close to someone (not in a relationship per say), I’ll use a nickname. I do that was particular jelly, actually.

partyparty's avatar

@Cruiser I think you know the workings of a female brain a little too well!! (but it is very true) LOLL

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

My sister used to be an English teacher at the local high school. One of the English teachers at the middle school received her administration certificate and became principal at the HS. My sister’s name was ‘Chris’, and the principal would call her ‘Chrissy’. Sis asked her repeatedly not to call her that, to no avail.

Maybe the woman was trying to create a sense of closeness. If that’s the case, it really back-fired.

mowens's avatar

I think it depends on who says it. If my mom calls me by my nickname, I get wierded out, and when she says my full name… i know I am in trouble.

janbb's avatar

Hiya @gimmedat – I can’t believe you’re back!

Cruiser's avatar

@partyparty Not reall that hard to do really! Did I just say that??? Shame on me!! :O

knitfroggy's avatar

I call lots of people by nicknames or add something to their name. I work with people that I call Squirlley Shirley and Mean Gene. It’s not out of meanness at all. I do it because I have genuine affection for these people. They know it and are not offended by it. If you know someone well enough to give them a nickname, I think it’s more intimate. But I do know a lady called Cookie and another called Sis. Everyone calls them those names. I don’t even know what Cookie’s real name is. I don’t think those are intimate at all because they are their “names”.

SuperMouse's avatar

If the name you typically answer to is a nickname then it is not necessarily more intimate. For instance most people call me Super rather than my full given name of SuperMouse and I have no problem with that. I start to get seriously annoyed when people I hardly know decide to call me Sup long U. That feels wwwwaaaaayyy to intimate and casual for me, especially when someone has not asked if I mind the nickname.

@janbb I am glad gimme is back to, it is so good to see that little Thomas train! I love my sis!

chelle104's avatar

It really depends on the name. Each name carries it’s own power, weather it be cute, intimate, damning, etc. You be the judge, or better yet, ask the person!

Zyx's avatar

Completely different for every person. I get wood when girls say my name, at ridiculous time too.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I don’t think the name means much either way. I have had tons of nicknames from very close friends and family, and I have had equally as close friends and family that prefer my formal name. It’s more important what the relationship is to the other person. I have also been called profane names by very close friends.
@Zyx Nice touch with the “wood”.

gimmedat's avatar

Thanks for the welcome back, jellies. I lost the Fluther mojo for awhile, but I did lurk. So now I’m here again, asking and answering.

Thanks for all of the reponses, btw. I love everyone’s take on this. It goes with about what I thought.

Zyx's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I once whispered to a friend of mine, while gaining on him on my bike, ”you’re a retard…” and a few seconds later we both burst out laughing. Good times. That particular group of friends called each other stuff all the time, like retard (translated btw, I’m Dutch) or leppar and randomized combinations of diseases and genitalia.

The only real reason we ever had to refer to each other by name was to get their attention in a crowd.

wundayatta's avatar

I do not at all like the most common nickname I get.

I much prefer my given name, which is much more beautiful. So, actually, people who use a nickname for me are people I don’t care about much. My real name is much more intimate.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@wundayatta Good point. A friend prefers his real name, but his co-workers have shortened it (like ‘John’ when the name is ‘Jonathan’). He doesn’t care for it, but puts up with it.

Ponderer983's avatar

It depends on the situation for me. I like to use real names when I want to get a point across that I feel strongly about. For example, saying “I love you.” Looking at someone dead on and saying “I love you, Bob” has a connotation to me that I want someone to take this seriously and I meant it with all my being. Saying “I love you, Honeybear” while still the same sentiment, is more playful in my mind. It is nice though to be with someone who you can call baby or honey or whatever nickname you choose. I’m not a huge fan of givving big mushy names like Poohbear cause that makes me want to gag, so I kind of stick with the more generic ones.

filmfann's avatar

I have my work name (Jack), and my nickname (Archie). Friends call by my nickname, and it is always more personal than my work name.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

At least nicknames have some warmth about them. For many generations, my family have been known by titles: The Colonel, The Admiral, The Professor, The Senator, etc. like a group of marble statues. Cold and impersonal, no choice about it.

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