How to start using a nickname with people who already know you?
July 12, 2012 8:38 AM Subscribe
I’m a snowflake with a “weird” name. How do I start using a common nickname instead?
posted by epanalepsis to Human Relations (28 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I have a very uncommon name which you have probably never heard before. When people hear it, they generally say things like “That’s so unusual, does it have a story?,” “Where did you get that?,” and “Ummmm...spell that for me?” I find these types of questions annoying, intrusive and difficult to respond to, although I sympathize with people (it is admittedly difficult to pronounce). This is particularly frustrating when I must introduce myself over the phone, such as at my job, where I often have to repeat and spell it several times.
I would like to start using a nickname (a variant on my given name, think “Joe” for “Johannes” or “Jenny” for “Eugenia”). I would like to use this nickname for all social and professional purposes and reserve my given name for close family, old friends, and legal forms.
However, I am well-established in my community and many people know me by my given name. I know that people associate my name with me alone since I am the only one with it (seriously, I guarantee you have never met anyone with it). So, I find the idea of using a new name with people who already know me very intimidating and am afraid it will be awkward and impossible to reinforce.
How can I start using a nickname with people who have known me for a long time by my given name? Will this be a difficult thing to do (practically or emotionally) and what is the best way to handle this identity transition?