Changed my full name legally, how to explain?
December 30, 2017 4:49 PM   Subscribe

Ive had a 5 name full legal name since i was born. Ive always wanted to change it and i really had to change my sons middle name so i finally just filed the paperwork to do both. I chose brand new first and middle names and kept only my biological fathers last name rip. I dont want to have to get into the heavy and serious reasons i changed everything but my bio fathers last name with every1 i know or will meet. I was thinking of just saying i felt my name never suit me and leaving it at that. Does anyone have any quick one liners i can say?

I also did this at a time where i have no significant other, relatively few friends, will be getting a degree in 6 months, and starting fresh in a new field after that so i felt this was the best time.
posted by livelikegold6 to Human Relations (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: "Yeah...long story" *subject change*

I changed my name too. I've never explained it to anyone who wasn't very close to me.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:50 PM on December 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

"New sponsorship"
posted by ReluctantViking at 4:55 PM on December 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

"Witness protection program. Dammit, I gotta change it again!!!!"
posted by beccaj at 4:59 PM on December 30, 2017 [5 favorites]

I knew a woman who did this. She never really liked her name and was named after a relative who she ended up not liking either. When she got divorced and changed her name she took the opportunity to change her first name as well. It was a little weird for us but she would just say, “I didn’t like my name and had the opportunity to change it, so I did. And, [subject change].” Just do what makes you happy. I’m sure someone will pester you about it but try to let it roll off your back.
posted by amanda at 5:02 PM on December 30, 2017 [6 favorites]

Well, I had to do SOMETHING to get off the No Fly List (This could be funny or ironic depending on how well you tick the boxes for getting on a no fly list...)...
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 5:03 PM on December 30, 2017

OK Cupid said I had to.
posted by flabdablet at 5:04 PM on December 30, 2017 [5 favorites]

I think your response ("i felt my name never suit me ") is perfect. You might then follow it up with a change of topic or a question of your own ("How about your name? What's the story behind that?) either one shifts the conversation in a new direction the other person would have to be persistent/rude to push for more. The risk with a joke is that it doesn't make it clear that you don't want to talk about it - people will say "No, really, why did you do it?" Your own answer does a much better job of shutting down the conversation kindly.
posted by metahawk at 5:11 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

My bestie has experienced several name changes (away from her birth first name, which matched an abusive relative, and several last names changes over three marriages), and honestly, it doesn't come up much. Her parents gave her the most trouble ("What was wrong with [birthname]?" "I didn't like nor that relative, [chosen name suits me better]"), but dropped it after awhile. The rest of us just went, okay, [chosen name] suits you better, great, and that was that. Other than having to fill out the AKA field on job applications, it rarely comes up. :)
posted by joycehealy at 5:40 PM on December 30, 2017

My spouse and several close friends have made similar radical name changes. . . and I'd write off anyone who expects an explanation as an jerk worth avoiding. (Unless they're your boss and you like your job, in which case make up something heart warming about your maternal great grandmother and lie through your teeth.)

Sending a, "just to let you know, I'm now going by X" notice is nice but not required. You don't owe anyone a justification. Friends worth keeping will accept the change without asking questions.
posted by eotvos at 6:09 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

"I felt it never suited me" or "This is the name I've wanted for a long time" is enough. Most people will find that sufficient explanation, if they're not assholes. You may find you get additional questions from people who have considered it themselves, or are struck for the first time that they could if they wanted to, and it's up to you how much you want to talk about it with them.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:10 PM on December 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

I've changed my legal last name THREE times. Seriously, nobody cares. You don't need an explanation or a "story".

I promise. This is significant to you, but nobody else cares about your last name. Nobody will ever ask.
posted by halogen at 7:12 PM on December 30, 2017

I changed my legal name a few years ago and wanted to put a tick in the "yes, nosy parkers will ask" column. I've lied and said it was an old family name that I liked better than the one I was born with; I've told people I wanted the name I published under to be one that had a nice ring to it (marginally more true). I've had old friends of my parents ask me if I got married. I'm sure some of those people are making assumptions about it being an act to deliberately distance myself from my family of origin. Whatever, it's on my passport now. If you're going from five names to three, you can always say you wanted to simplify.
posted by All hands bury the dead at 7:30 PM on December 30, 2017

I named myself (first and last name). I did it at my current job and made an announcement that I was changing it but not why. Many people just assumed it was because of marriage. New people can see my old name at times, so I just say that was my former name and that is that.

You could always say that this was your childhood knickname and now you just made it official. Or something vague about how it was time to do it. Or that it just felt right. For me, I always felt my birth name was wrong, so I changed it. I love my name now.
posted by Monday at 7:34 PM on December 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Other handwavey one liners:
- I like the sound of it
- I feel it suits me better
posted by salvia at 8:08 PM on December 30, 2017

Response by poster: Mefi never fails this community rocks!
posted by livelikegold6 at 10:19 PM on December 30, 2017 [5 favorites]

I'd go with "I never liked it" over "it didn't suit me" - with the latter you might get people saying (or often thinking) "It did suit you!" while with the former there's nothing for anyone to argue about.

Congrats :-)
posted by trig at 12:44 AM on December 31, 2017

"For personal reasons" is a good way to head off prying from work colleagues and neighbours.
posted by heatherlogan at 6:01 AM on December 31, 2017

If you are in the US, you can say you had to file the paperwork because of Real ID and decided to pick the name you always wanted while you were at it.
posted by yohko at 9:30 PM on December 31, 2017

"I wanted to start using my real name."
posted by whuppy at 8:05 AM on January 3, 2018

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