I have a question that’s cropped up a lot for me recently. I’m in my mid 20’s and have begun attending community college. I try to make sure I know people’s names, but I often forget so some people go unnamed. My real problem is in making sure I actually have someone’s name right, which I’m fairly conscious of because people often mispronounce my own.
For example here are two situations I recently faced.
I have made fairly good friends with someone from a class I’m taking. We even met up outside of class with some friends of hers. She’s an older lady in her 60’s, named “Rachael”. I knew her name was spelled “Rachelle” and even commented on the unique spelling. She never corrected me, nor did her friends.
Today we were buying some things at a student sale, and a classmate saw her name and said, “Oh! I’m so sorry. This whole time I thought your name was Rachel, but it’s really Rachelle isn’t it? Which do you prefer?”, and she laughed awkwardly and said, “Either is fine”. When I tried to ask which she preferred she bean dipped like a pro and I had to be polite and drop the matter.
In another example, from the same class, one woman was named “Joanna”. I had asked her myself and double checked. I continued to call her Joanna, until I heard another student call her “Juana”. Then I realized most students were now calling her Juana. In that case I’ve been muddling along, either avoiding calling her anything or continuing to call her Joanna. She’s never corrected me.
What do you do when this happens? Do you change to the proper name? This has happened more than twice recently. When someone gets my name wrong I usually correct them off the bat. What is the proper way to go about it? I’m really upset I’ve been calling people by the wrong name, especially people I like a lot. 1207-15
My name is spelled “Jeanne” so I get variations of “Jean” and “Jeannie” with people asking which I prefer. I don’t really care. I do correct them if they say my name “Gee Anne”. You asked both people and they both gave you an answer so you are off the hook and can relax. I would listen to her in conversations to hear how she pronounces her own name (like when she introduces herself to someone) and then follow that preference.