Experience with changing from ethnic to non-ethnic first name?
January 8, 2014 5:43 AM Subscribe
I have a weird ethnic first name that causes me daily hassle and anxciety. Has anyone had experience with dropping their ethnic name or do you know anyone who has done it?
posted by petrovski to Human Relations (40 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
My first name is exclusive to one tiny East European country and nowhere else in the world. I have lived in Scandinavia since the age of two, now I'm 27, and I feel no connection with the old country.
Whenever I introduce myself, I have to repeat my name at least twice and often I have to spell it out loud as well. More often than you would think, I also have to explain its origin and answer questions about the situation and history of my birth country. Even after this procedure, many people still don't get it. In my professional life, I experience that people don't talk to me in meetings because they don't know how to refer to me and introducing myself to new groups of coworkers is akward and time consuming. It may sound over the top, but in my personal life, it has come to the point where I generally avoid introducing myself to new people because I don't want to spend time explaining my name, repeating it, spelling it, answering questions.
I'm very much considering changing my name to the palindrome of my birth name which, coincidentally, is a common name in Scandinavia and the English speaking world. I also very much like this new name. I don't particularly like my birth name but I also don't dread it as much as I think most people who change their name do. I still want to keep my East European last name which is much more common and doesn't seem to cause much trouble beyond the occasional misspelling.
I particularly worry because my close friends are very skeptical of it because they feel that it's good to be special. In general I feel that it might weird people out that I go from an ethnic to a non-ethnic name. Do you have any experience with people's reactions to this?
By the way, the legal aspects of name change is not an issue for me.