That’s Not My Name


Dear Dharma,

Please tell me if I’m overreacting here – I’m proud of my name, I haven’t had a nickname since I was 5 years old and even then it was a pet name only my mom used.

Recently one of my friends has been opening her texts calling me only my first initial….and it’s driving me CRAZY!!

At first I hoped it would stop as randomly as it started, but no such luck.  At this point I don’t want to hurt her feeling (she’s quite sensitive) but I really don’t want it to continue.

Argh! Please help…

Say My Name

Dear Say My Name,

I love that you are proud of your name. When I was 6 years old, I hated my name and wanted to change it to Carrie.  It was popular at the time… My parents said, sure, no problem, but to make it official, you need to call the Operator and put in an official name change request.

So I did.  I called the Operator and said “My mom and dad said if I called you, you would change my name to Carrie”.  The Operator said, “Oh they did, did they?”  Not to be thwarted by the parents with the sense of humor, she was quick on her toes in telling me that she liked my real name so much better than Carrie and that I should keep it.  I was more than disappointed – I wasn’t asking her advice, I wanted to change my damn name!

Needless to say, my parents laughed their asses off (probably the Operator did too) and the name change was a no go.

Anyway – once something gets under your skin, it has a tendency to nest there, and it sounds like that’s what has happened here.

You really only have two choices – you can either try and put it into perspective in the whole scope of life and just roll with it… evaluate the worth of the friendship and if this is the most annoying trait she brings to it, maybe it’s not so bad?  Keeping in mind the very nature of texting is minimalism; abbreviations, acronyms, emoticons… Maybe she’s trying to be efficient more than anything?

If that avenue leaves you feeling exactly how I felt about the Operator’s advice, then the only other thing to do is ask her to stop.  Next time she texts you with “Hey D!” (for Dharma), try something like, “What’s with the D? Don’t you like my name anymore? 🙂 ” The smiley face is a must.  It gives you deniability of being cranky.

No matter what her response, pretty much anything will open the door for you to say, “Would it be alright if I asked you to call me Dharma instead?  🙂 ”

Amen for the smiley face.  It should crack even the most sensitive of people…

Dharma (Carrie)


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  • gemma471 says:

    i have a friend who only ever calls me by my first initial.fuuny how some things are annoying to some and not to others…! if it really does bother you you should let her know.

  • Andrew says:

    Wow, I can relate to this! For the first 25 years of my life, I was Andy. Actually the nurses called me that from birth and it stuck. But at 25, I realized I cringed whenever I heard my own name and decided that from now on, I’d be called Andrew. I went through a pretty awkward transition of having to ask everyone to call me by my full name, and then politely reminding them all of if over and over again.

    I totally agree with Dharma – don’t make a big deal out of it and just find a way to nicely ask the friend to use the name you’d like to be called by.

    My experience has been that some people will remember immediately, some will forget sporadically, and some will just never be able to remember and then you can decide if it’s worth the effort to put your foot down.

    Bottom line is that it’s not their issue – it’s your name! You said you’re proud of your name (a feeling I took 25 years to go after) so you should never let someone take that from you!

    • Dharma says:

      Super interesting that you went through a process of realizing your own name made you cringe…! Good for you for making the change and making it stick overall!

      Thanks for the comment Andrew! 🙂

  • Shalini says:

    I can relate too! My name is Shalini and for my whole live I’ve always been called different names – Lini, Shawlawni, ShalinA, Shaleene, Selena, Shilini – etc etc. I felt strange correcting people at first and most of the time I just let it go because I felt like I was being annoying. I’d even go into Starbucks and fake a name because I knew my real one would be pronounced wrong.

    Now I correct people because if I was on the other end, I’d want to be saying the name right out of respect for the person. Like Dharma said, there are lots of polite ways to say it and usually an interesting conversation to follow which is nice. 🙂

    • Dharma says:

      I can appreciate that you would feel awkward correcting people… you don’t want to make them feel bad about it! But you are right, they would probably feel worse if they knew they were addressing you incorrectly, that’s a really good point.

  • Derek says:

    Whenever I say the name Shalini I always sing it, but that’s just because I have the CD in my car still. 🙂
    With respect to nicknames, you do have to be careful that this isn’t someone’s term of endearment as asking someone to stop being endearing can lead to hurt feelings and broken friendships. But you know, a good friend will get over that.

    • Dharma says:

      I have that CD too!

      I agree about the term on endearment thing… If someone feels they are being endearing and you ask them to stop, it could easily feel like rejection.

      So it’s all in the delivery… 🙂

  • Vern says:

    wow, holy first world problems Batman! I envy you if that is the biggest problem you have, but then, in a calm sea, the littlest ripples are the most annoying!

    You are over reacting a bit, I mean it IS only one friend, and it IS only texting, but if it bugs you tell her! The worst would be if you didn’t say anything until you snapped, and said something really mean. Better to say something you have thought about now, rather than dump a steaming heap on her in frustration later.

    • Dharma says:

      Yes, snapping would definitely escalate the problem to a place it need not be… A well thought out approach would deliver better results for everyone!

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

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