How To Make Me Snarl

[First, here’s “why” I’m talking about this.]

I introduce this topic today because:

  1. It makes me irritable and therefore is rant-worthy;
  2. No one I know irl can figure out what to do about the sort of rudeness I will describe below;  and
  3. I’m hearing about more and more adults who are changing their first names.  So even if you haven’t experienced firsthand what I’m talking about here, I’m betting that sometime soon you will.

[This is not the snarl part.]

A few of my friends have changed their first names.  Some have adopted a different version of their childhood name e.g. Kathy became Katie.  Others have tweaked their childhood name e.g. Sandy became Sondy.  While others have changed their names completely e.g. Joyce became Suzy.

[Still not the snarl part.]

I’m always happy to use whatever name a friend wants me to use.  I figure that he or she has good reasons for changing his or her name, and I can’t imagine being so rude to someone as to not respect what he or she wants to be called.

[This is the beginning of the snarl part.]

But I’ve noticed that not everyone I know is as gracious about name changes as I am.  In fact, on a few occasions I’ve been shocked when someone I know insists that he or she doesn’t have to adopt a friend’ s new name because he or she knew this person before the name change.  Therefore, he or she is exempt from cooperating.

I’ve come to think of these uncooperative sorts of people as the louts.

[Full snarl here.]

Obviously, this behavior is insulting to the name changer, but it is also awkward for those of us who know both the name changer and the uncooperative lout.  While I understand that there is a power play going on here, I can’t figure out what the end game is.  Is the lout trying to undermine the name changer?  Or is the lout trying to punish those of us who cooperative with the name changer?  Or is the lout so obtuse that he or she really doesn’t understand how irritating his or her behavior truly is?

[And finally, I conclude.]

I realize that lack of courtesy is an epidemic in our world.  And I also realize that I cannot change people (nor do I want to).  But this situation has made me more aware of how fragile personal relationships are.  And how nonchalantly some people I know will throw them away when asked to bend just a little bit.

Can you blame me when I say that I have an overwhelming urge to snarl?

9 thoughts on “How To Make Me Snarl

  1. Helena, it’s on purpose. Almost as if it is a challenge to authority. It is some of the weirdest behavior I’ve seen in ages. And it has happened in two different parts of my life.


  2. Can I add a little rant to the topic? A friend of mine gave her daughter an unusual name, and her SIL (the baby’s aunt) refuses to call her by that name so she calls her by her middle name. I get so irritated everytime I’m around her; it takes all my will-power not to snarl at her.

    Why on earth do people think it’s okay not to call people by the name they (or their parents) want them to be called? Ridiculous.


  3. Margaret, it sure surprises me. Every time it happens. I’m sure that you’re right and it is all about power. But to what end??! That’s what the other cooperative friends and I can’t figure out.

    Stephanie, the aunt won’t call the child by her given name??!!! I cannot even fathom that one. Forget about the aunt’s opinion of the chosen name– isn’t not calling the child by her name going to confuse the little girl?

    You have amazing will-power to not call out the aunt on that one.


  4. Interesting post, ally. In my family my sister starting pronouncing her name in a different way when she started her work career but we her family did not know this until we visited her in her new town. We still pronounce her name the way our mother did, which she does not seem to mind, but she does introduce herself to people who did not know her as a child using the newer pronunciation. I’ve never thought that pronouncing her name the way our mother pronounced it was loutish behavior . It is more like using a family nickname, something my husband’s family still does with him. I always know it is someone in his family calling when the person on the line uses his childhood nickname and I know it is not done to be disrespectful.


  5. la p, I think you’ve hit upon something interesting. The names we go by within our families are sometimes different than the names we go by with friends/co-workers. Talk to husband about that situation– he’s got two distinct names going on in his life! And, like your sister, he’s cool with both.

    However what I see going on is: 1) someone sincerely tells you what they now want to be called; 2) ezpz most people comply with the request; then 3) those who refuse to comply make life awkward for the name changer and for those of us who comply with the request.

    I don’t understand why anyone would not do what is asked of them in this situation. Why cause trouble where there is no trouble?


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