Social Question

Zen_Again's avatar

How much does your name, given or chosen, affect your behaviour?

Asked by Zen_Again (9911points) April 30th, 2010

And here, on fluther, your chosen nickname?

A random sampling of nicknames here say a lot to me – but perhaps have a different meaning entirely to the person who chose it. I won’t name them, but if you go over the nicknames, do you get a first (or second and third) impression based on the name they have chosen? And is that because of the affect the name has on you based on your experience, or because they have chosen it for themselves and that surprises/amuses you?

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48 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

I have no idea, but it’s something I think about sometimes. I really don’t like my given first name though I like it better than it’s diminutive, ... my given first name seems a little formal and stilted and it’s diminutive seems a little too perky and not suited to me at all. Yea, I know, “what the hell is she talking about?” But anyway, I always wonder, since I don’t really like my name, if I might have been a different person or had a different life with a different name, but then I think, well, how much can a name really affect your behavior or your the outcome of your life? So again, to answer your question, I have no idea. :) Hi, Zen_Again. I’m changing my user name to Babbling_Again:)

Zen_Again's avatar

@lillycoyote Can’t you legally change your name – as you seem to feel so passionate about it? Maybe to… Lilly?

Pandora's avatar

It doesn’t change who I am. I only chose it because it describes me best.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I never really identified with my given names. They meant nothing to me as they seemed to not fit me at all. I never sought to change them because while some others might have been an improvement, I never identified any that came close to capturing the “me” I knew.

Fortunately, no others in my circle of acquaintance had the same first name, so while it meant little to me, it did not seem to refer to anything distinctively “not me” either.

I felt unique growing up and my name was inadequate but not problematic. I never felt that the name dictated how I should behave but I never much felt like I fit in with people my own age.

I later discovered as do most children in the top 0.01 percent of the IQ scale, that I was quite unlike most others. What amused or entertained my peers for hours help little interest for me after a few minutes. It did not help that I was totally ungifted as an athlete.

I have never had many friends, not because I lacked social skills, but because my interests and favourite topics of conversation meant little to my peers. Most of my friends were the most intelligent of my parents friends.

So my name did not work for me and neither did my age. I modelled my behaviour after outstanding adults whom I admired. That did not help me fit in with my peers. Eventually I learned that such a goal made no sense for me and I became comfortable with that.

lillycoyote's avatar

@lillycoyote Lillycoyote is my online name, and I have become really, kind of fond of her, quite fond of Lilly. Unlike many people, my online persona is actually a bit of a better person than my real self, but in the end, I am who I am. My name is intrinsic to that. I could never change it. I think and hope that someday, before I die, I will eventually become comfortable with who I am, comfortable in my own skin and be as fond of my real self as I am of lilly, even though she certainly has her faults too, and then, well, my name will simply be who I am an that will be that.

jazmina88's avatar

i’ve had a few nick names…..and i love them all. my name is natural, earthy and fits my skin. I’m just me

Bugabear's avatar

I remember at school, there where 3 other kids that had the same name as me and we hated it whenever someone called it out. As for my Fluther name, I dont think it really does anything.

Jeruba's avatar

Behavior? I’m not sure. I know it affects my attitude. Even as a youngster I had an unusual given name, and it made me feel very special. My nickname, derived from it, was so distinctive that until I was in my mid-twenties I never even heard of anybody with the same one. I used to sometimes have nightmares about meeting someone with the same first name as mine, so I know I had a strong sense of identity from it.

As chance would have it, I married a man with a last name that is more unusual than my first by several orders of magnitude. I didn’t marry him for that reason, but—even in those days of advancing feminism, no way I’d have kept my maiden name!

When you put them together, they definitely make me feel nonduplicated. Especially in Google search results.

DominicX's avatar

I don’t think it affects much of anything. I’ve always liked my name, though. A lot. Everyone seems to like it. “Dom” is the name of a chill dude, someone who’s cool and fun to be around. At least, that’s according to my best friend Alicia. :)

People also have described it as being a strong-sounding very masculine name of course because it sounds like “dominate” and the two both derive from the Latin word meaning “master” or “lord”. (The name really means “of the Lord”). The funny part about some people thinking it’s “manly” is that I’ve always been a small effeminate gay guy. So that makes things more fun. :P

Even the urbandictionary definitions of Dominic mention strength and power in a lot of the definitions. Can’t say that’s a bad thing. I like that association with the name.

thriftymaid's avatar

May given name doesn’t affect my behavior as an adult, but I hated it as a child and often used an alias.
When I’m thriftymaid, I, of course, do not open my life to the internet. I do, however, try to always offer thrifty advice.

faye's avatar

My name is a nonsense syllable!

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

My name used to affect my behavior, in a way. In the third grade there was another girls with the same first name and first letter of her last name as me, so I shortened my name for a little while. My fluther name’s a shortened nickname I’ve had since high school.

Supacase's avatar

I don’t really care for my name. It was common in the 50s and 60s, but usually as a nickname of a longer given name. I am stuck with only the diminutive, which annoys me when I want to sound professional. I would be fine with the full name, which I like, and having the option of using the diminutive.

I mostly notice my dislike for the name when I hear it applied to others – it doesn’t feel like their name is the same as mine. They sound the same, but mine is spelled with a less common “ie” ending. Somehow that changes everything. I am not and never will be the “y” version of my name. I see it on paper with a “y” and don’t identify with it at all. Sometimes I don’t even notice at first that it is me who is being written about because, to my mind, that isn’t my name.

For example, say my name is Missie. Not Melissa, just Missie. Drives me nuts. But don’t write me down as Missy because I notice you mean me and, if I do, I get overly annoyed.

aprilsimnel's avatar

My rather elegant given name was used quite rarely until recently, and I’m a lot goofier than it might imply. When I was a girl in the 70s, my name was uncommon enough that it caused me stand out in an ocean of Heathers and Jennifers, and I’d get, “Oooh, well, that’s a lovely name!” And then I’d do something silly.

I still get that now, and I’ll still do something silly. My last name, however, is common, and I don’t intend to use that one professionally; I will borrow my maternal grandmother’s maiden name, which is less common and which I like better. Class, that one is. Pure class.

My handles online are always female characters played by Michael Palin and is a reflection of my admiration for him and his work.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I have had this nickname since I was a little girl—I can’t escape—
As for the names others use….sometimes they create a certain impression:)

Sophief's avatar

My name doesn’t mean anything. I don’t care what others call themselves, for that also means nothing. It’s a name. Although there is one person on here I have a great nickname for, wish she would of chose that name instead!

thriftymaid's avatar

@Sophief Tell us, Oh please oh please.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

My birthname means nothing to me, I’ve never really identified with it or attached anything positive or negative to it. I’ve often wished for a name I like and to be able to form an image with I like but it’s easier to go by nicknames instead.

gailcalled's avatar

Not at all. But I wouldn’t mind having Jeruba’s first name and my last name. I used to wish for a two-syllable name, like Abigail. But now that seems trivial to me.

AstroChuck's avatar

I used to work with this young kid you was named Adolf. He told me he used to get beaten up regularly in school because of his name. I think it made an impact on his personality. He was pretty f***ed up.

Sophief's avatar

@thriftymaid Best not, though would love to.

Zen_Again's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille The name so nice, she used it thrice.

janbb's avatar

I was never that happy with my given name; although quite happy with my nickname – Jan. When I was in my 30s, I realized I could change the way I introduce myself so now all new people including my work colleagues know me as Jan. I am quite happy with it. I like my “maiden” name better than my married name, and kind of wish I had kept it instead of doing the wishy-washy thing of taking it as a middle name.

Berserker's avatar

I don’t think about any of that stuff. I mean there’s reasons as to why people give nicknames, receive them or give one to themselves, and I’m sure they’re all interesting, but I don’t think it’s heavy enough to affect things like personalities or behaviours. If anything, a nickname is nothing but a byproduct of an already existing personality or behaviour.

Is that even what you were asking?

Just don’t call me Jizz. People in real life call me that alla time and I fucking hate it and it makes me grumpy. Or, at least so much more than I already am.

As for first impressions, there’s obviously a reaction…if someone calls emselves FUCKU I might not wanna talk to them at first, but overall, just like your avatar question from before, I don’t put much of an importance for names as something to base first impressions with.

Jeruba's avatar

@gailcalled, we could call you Jeruba if you like. No one will be confused. I’ll just say I’m Abigail. (Ab + i + gail = 3, no?)

janbb's avatar

@Jeruba Maybe we could all upload your avatar one day and start posting as you? Never been done, has it?

gailcalled's avatar

@Jeruba: Milo typed that. It’s always his fault. He wants his name changed to “Barkley,” he tells me. Perhaps he thinks he is a dog.

SamIAm's avatar

Such an interesting question!! My name is Samantha and I was never actually a Samantha, always a Sam, or Sammi, or called by my last name—until about a year or so ago. Samantha to me is so girly and proper, I have grown to love it. Also, I recently met a boy named Sam who is now my boyfriend. So I am a total Samantha now, just because it’s easier to identify me… and my boyfriend is “Sam Boy Sam” or “Boy Sam”

I do think that some people’s names on Fluther serve as some sort of initial indicator or give a little clue about their persona.

YARNLADY's avatar

I have several different names, depending on what I am doing or where I am at the time. My favorites are Mom and Grandma.

wundayatta's avatar

My real name is a kind of wish for who I want to be. I find it pretty ironic.

My name here was chosen to symbolize where I’m at in my life, and how I must proceed from here, Wundayatta time.

liminal's avatar

My outside of fluther name doesn’t stir much dust. I find the nicknames people pull out of it endearing.

My fluther name is intended to give insight to how I respond to life and approach things. I am not sure how much success has been had in that respect.

Jeruba's avatar

@gailcalled, oh, no, that couldn’t be. Surely he thinks he is a philosopher. Most cats do need a little help with spelling. It’s beneath their dignity to master it.

@janbb, next you’d be claiming that I put you up to it!

Zen_Again's avatar

Let’s say my name is Jan. In my culture’s language, and there is a connection here between the two, it can be given various “cute” endings – let’s say the equivalent to: Janski, Janerolla or JanMan.

When I was growing up, there was an oler boy who would torment me a lot. We had the same name, but his nickname was one of these variations I spoke of. It was actually the most common, cutesy one, that people will call out to you even when they meet you for the first time. This isn’t the States, mind you, where Mr. plus surname is acceptable.

Thus, every time I hear that name, a little shiver goes through me. I hate it. But on the other hand, what are you going to do? It’s so common, and correcting everyone all the time without this explanation would result in strange looks and worse. It wouldn’t even make sense, without the explanation.

So I live with this.

What’s in a name you say?


Thanks for all your lovely posts.

janbb's avatar

@Zen_Again I always assumed you grew up in the States. Not true?

deni's avatar

My name is the same everywhere. Other websites, here, life….I used to hate it, now I love it. It used to make me feel like an outcast (WHY CANT I JUST MEET ANOTHER LITTLE GIRL NAMED DENI SO I DONT FEEL LIKE A BOY?) but who the F cares now? It’s at least unique.

Zen_Again's avatar

Is it short for Denise?

Zen_Again's avatar

Is it short for Bartholomew?

deni's avatar

frankly im shocked you were able to nail it on your second guess

Zen_Again's avatar

I’m quite psychical. But it’s from jnana, not inherent.

Jeruba's avatar


Zen_Again's avatar

She already said it was Bartholomew. Pay attention. * sigh *

janbb's avatar

Do my eyes deceive me? Is @Zen_Again really chiding his goddess @Jeruba ?
“O frabjous day,
Calloo Callay,
She chortled in her joy.”

Jeruba's avatar

I was paying attention. It was metaphorical, silly.

janbb's avatar

Hehe – I just got Jeruba to say something silly.

Zen_Again's avatar

* sigh * She called me silly.

MissA's avatar

Whew, baby.

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