Nicknames are quite common all over the world. There are two reasons why someone would call you by a nickname. They are:
1. Mean people bully you, and
2. People find it hard to pronounce your name.
Many face these common situations at least once in their life. Making fun of a name is something people have been doing since the start of time. The name is usually picked up because of a personality trait that one might have. On the other hand, it is because of the way a person looks.
Calling someone short or tall because you are the opposite of him or she is mean. It also goes for someone who is overweight or underweight. Some people are called by a mean nickname because they stammer, lack confidence, or show an outburst of emotions. This is in no way funny but only disrespectful.
However, this kind of bullying needs to come to a stop.
In most cases just telling people to stop calling you by a nickname won’t work. So whenever they do, show no reaction, tell your correct name when you are introduced to somebody else before anybody else can, and sign off every message with your name.
Here are some detailed tips that you can use to tell someone not to call you by a nickname.
Challenge the Nickname
Do not answer
When someone calls you using the nickname, do not answer. Simply show no reaction or any signs of irritation. Just walk by ignoring the person or if you do not want to do that, give them a shrug and walk away. This will show them that you are indifferent to the name-calling.
Tell them to stop
If your friends are using the nickname, politely ask them to stop. Tell them that you dislike being referred to as that nickname. Emphasize that they must call you by your name. Your friends care about you so will make sure that you do not feel bad.
Jump into an introduction
Use the opportunity when you see one. When your friend is introducing you to another person, they may introduce you to your nickname. Jump at the opportunity and tell them your correct name so both your friend and the new acquaintance know what to call you.
Deal with the bully
Name-calling is a favorite pastime for bullies. If you are facing a bully who calls you by a mean nickname, stand up to him or her. This can be challenging because confronting a bully is not easy. The best way to deal with bullies is to ignore them. Bullies feed on the fear of people who are smaller than they are.
If you show a reaction, they will do it even more. If you are ready to face the bully, it is great! However, if you fear that they might harm you in any way, please do not approach them. If you have access to a higher authority, go to them. If that is something, you are not willing to do, simply choose to ignore it.
You can also deal with the bully by looking them squarely in the eye and then walking away. You can also say something like; this is boring then laugh and walk on. This will discourage your bully and he or she will not bother you again.
Reinstate Your Name
Sign off messages with your name
A great way to reaffirm your chosen name is to make it common for people to see it. Whenever you are sending a text message, make sure to sign off with your name in the end. The same goes for emails and other platforms where writing is required.
When you get on a call with someone, include your name in the greeting. Say, “Hi Bradley, how are you? This is Timothy”. This common practice will reaffirm your chosen name in the minds of others. The same goes for voicemails.
Use your name in conversations
This can be a little tricky. When using your name in conversations, make sure you are subtle about it. Do not start referring to yourself as a third person, because that would sound weird. If someone asks you a simple question about what you had for dinner last night, you cannot say “James had lasagna for dinner”.
Instead, you can say:
“I had lasagna for dinner. Then my sister said; James can you make a drink for us?”
You can use other such examples where recounting a conversation will help you say your name the right way. This also reinstates your name with the right pronunciation. It is greatly helpful if you have a unique name. You are subconsciously planting the right name in your friends’ minds.
Start with your introduction
When you are surrounded by people, jump into making your introductions. Before anyone else, tell everyone your chosen name – first or last name depending on the situation. If you allow someone else to do it, they might introduce you with the nickname you dislike. Take the matters into your own hands and announce your chosen name to the group. This is a common practice when you are gathering at a friend’s house.
Introductions are made all around and that is usually when everyone picks up a nickname. Introducing yourself to everyone you meet will ensure your chosen name is remembered. This will also help you in increasing your social circle.
Having a Unique Name
If you have a unique name that you have grown up with, it can feel degrading to have people call you something else. Having a unique name is a blessing. People find it tough to pronounce it, but once they do, it is hard to forget. Your parents with love gave your name to you. Every name reflects those tender feelings, their culture, and their roots.
It can feel like disrespect when someone prefers to call you by a nickname you did not choose, such as “Babe”. It does not take much effort or time to get a name right.
If someone asks you for a nickname because they find it hard to pronounce your name, ask them to try. People make an effort for something they care about.
Learning those difficult words in the medical field, or those complicated names in Hollywood is possible. When that is possible, so is learning your name. It is a matter of priority and thought that people put into it. Choosing not to try is indecorous on its own.
When it comes to you and you meet someone with a name difficult to pronounce, make sure you try. Do not ask the person if they have a nickname you could use. Ask them politely to teach you how to say it right. The name represents who he or she is and depicts their background. It is easy to put someone off just by disregarding their name.
When we fail to accept someone’s name, we are not giving him or her the importance they deserve. This is a matter of respect and acceptance, so make sure you give them their due. As mentioned earlier, a name is a representation of a culture, a religion, an ethnic belief. By trying to learn a name, we are accepting them completely.
Nicknames Don’t Last – Names Do
Everyone faces the nickname issue at least once in his or her life. It is important to remember that they fade away with time. People will stop calling you by the nickname you dislike and eventually call you by your chosen name.
It does happen that some names stick with you for a lifetime, but it should not bother you. A nickname does not represent who you are. Names do have a great impact on your personality but being called something else does not mean that you become it. It is good to choose a good name with a good meaning so it positively influences our lives.
However, we do not get to choose our names, our parents do. They put a lot of thought into the names they give us. It is given with tender care and lots of love to last us a lifetime.
We must do the same and ensure that the names we give our offspring are good ones. One they can identify with and have a good influence on their personality. Sometimes, a nickname starts at home. We often end up calling our children and our siblings a nickname. Although we do it out of love and affection, it does alter the meaning of the name. This habit should stop where it starts – in our homes.
Surely, you can relate to the fact that you were called Johnny by your parents and siblings but your name is Johnathan. It goes for Ronald who has always been called Ron. Sure, it is convenient to be called a shorter name at home. It shows affection and frankness.
However, what we fail to realize is that these nicknames change in meaning too. The name which was to influence life positively is now something else altogether.
Some people may identify themselves with these nicknames because they have been called that all their lives. They become so accustomed that they do not mind. If they are not hurt, it is okay to call them by their chosen nickname. On the other hand, it is impolite to call someone something they are not.
Sophie Hammond is a journalist, psychologist, and freelance speechwriter for people in politics and business. She lives on the edge of the Rocky Mountains with her dog and a lifetime supply of books. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering through nature or journaling at a coffee shop.