The right response…

It would seem obvious, given common sense and basic decency, but some people don’t understand the right response when a friend or acquaintance announces a baby name not to one’s taste. The only time it’s appropriate to give an honest opinion is during the pregnancy or adoption process, and then only if one has been asked for one’s honest opinion. After that, the only proper, decent response should be, “Congratulations on your beautiful baby/new addition to your family.”

No one can control one’s thoughts. Of course one is welcome to privately cringe and think:

“What an ugly name!”
“Talk about the epitome of boring and generic!”
“Are people still using that name? Didn’t it reach its peak of popularity and originality ten years ago?”
“Wow, that’ll look heinous on a résumé or diploma.”
“That name belongs on an 80-year-old!”
“You gave your child a nickname for the full legal name?”
“Yeah, that name will sound dated and stale in another generation.”
“It’s a great name, if you want your child to sound forever four years old.”
“I can only picture that name on a cowboy.”
“Talk about a name suit for a porn star or stripper!”
“That’s a really trashy/chavvy/bogan name.”
“That name was already played-out and on its way down the charts thirty years ago!”
“Your child had a perfectly lovely name from his/her birth culture, and you changed it to some stupid trendoid name to look more American?”

Even if it’s just a case of “not my style” instead of active loathing or amusement, the correct response is still no response. We can’t all like or love the same names. There are so many of them, and it’s impossible for everyone to like every single one. There must be people who hate names I want to give to any kids I might have, like Samuel, Peter, Theodore, Alice (after my great-grandma), Hazel, and Xanthe. I, for one, have never really liked the name Joshua, but that doesn’t mean I think all the Joshes I’ve ever known are horrible, or that you’re an idiot for naming your son Joshua. Just means I never personally cared for the name.

Also, if you do ask for honest opinions during the pregnancy or adoption process, you have to be open to the fact that not everyone will like the names on your list. Don’t say you want honest opinions if you’re going to take any criticism or even “not my style” personally. And if you’re the one giving opinions but don’t want to be too critical, only praise the names you like, or suggest names that are similar to some of the ones you don’t like.

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2 comments on “The right response…

  1. Alex Hurst says:

    I don’t really have names I “cringe” over, except the name Timothy… but that’s because every Timothy I’ve met in my life has been a total jerk. Go figure.

  2. Tarkabarka says:

    I cringe less over names I personally don’t like, and more over names I know for a fact will get the kid bullied forever. Pun names, IMHO, are NEVER a good idea. Sadly, parents like to think they are funny.
    Great post! 🙂 I’m sorry you didn’t get more hits during A to Z, I really enjoyed your blog.

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