Etiquette School is in session! > "What an interesting assumption."

Don't you know your own name?

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Pen^2:
I've been using the "what an interesting assumption" for this, but I think I need stronger ammunition.

My first name is a common shortened version of a longer name, except that even on my birth certificate, it is the shortened version. Think "Mary" instead of "Maryanne". A surprising number of people, when I introduce myself, respond immediately with "oh, is that short for Maryanne?" to which I reply with a variation of, "no, it's just Mary, even on my birth certificate and Passport! It's a bit unusual, I know. Anyway, <topic change>" and am nearly always interrupted with "are you sure?" or "what about Mary-Lou?" or something. I'll use the old "what an interesting assumption" and bean-dip, but the person will again more often than not not listen and make another name-related comment once I'm done, or blatantly interrupt.

A bizarrely high proportion of people do this. My husband gets it too, but in a different way.

His surname is spelt in a similar way to another surname, along the lines of "Mith" instead of "Smith", except the other surname is very much less common than Smith (so you'd think this wouldn't happen to him as often). When spoken, there are no problems, due to the changed pronunciation, but in writing (emails in particular), we get these gems:

from: client/professional_contact@emailaddress.com
to: firstname_mith@workplaceemail.com
Dear firstname,
Thank-you for your email. Blah blah work-related stuff.
Regards,
client/professional contact
P.S. oh, by the way, you misspelt "Smith"! Don't forget the "S" next time!

This is despite his email address includes his surname. Follow-up emails or conversations have always revealed that this is meant in sincerity. It happens at least once a week.

Anyway, which other strategies might work better for people insisting that you don't know your own name? It's amusing, but quite frankly if I have to have a 5 minute conversation every time this happens, I'm losing two weeks of life or something. Broken-record mode seems to not help much, either.

Outdoor Girl:
I have a similar issue.  My name is reasonably common but it is spelled unusually.  My mother spelled it for someone in a cake shop so it could be written on the cake.  She was asked 4 times if she was sure she spelled it correctly.  My exasperated mother finally just said, 'I think I know how to spell my own daughter's name!'

I think I would answer the first 'Are you sure?' with 'Yes, I'm quite sure'.  And if they ask again, just pretend they didn't and carry on with the conversation.  Or maybe get business type cards made up: 'Yes, I'm sure my name is Mary.  Really.  It's on my birth certificate and everything.  Really.  Yes, I'm quite sure.'  And hand them out.   :D

Pen^2:

--- Quote from: Outdoor Girl on December 15, 2012, 03:43:55 PM ---I have a similar issue.  My name is reasonably common but it is spelled unusually.

--- End quote ---

Ironically, I work at a place that involves children. Many of the kids have unusually spelt names (Qris instead of Chris etc.) and their parents still have trouble believing my name isn't the common variant.


--- Quote from: Outdoor Girl on December 15, 2012, 03:43:55 PM ---I think I would answer the first 'Are you sure?' with 'Yes, I'm quite sure'.  And if they ask again, just pretend they didn't and carry on with the conversation.  Or maybe get business type cards made up: 'Yes, I'm sure my name is Mary.  Really.  It's on my birth certificate and everything.  Really.  Yes, I'm quite sure.'  And hand them out.   :D

--- End quote ---

Unfortunately I already hand out business cards. I've tried pointing the name out on the card and so on, but it has never yet ended up in a shorter conversation.

Would it be rude if I ignored the question entirely and pretended they asked something else?

Piratelvr1121:
I can understand. My name is a common nickname for Anne yet on my birth certificate and all legal documents my name's recorded as Annie.  People who don't want to call me that don't even ask if I'm sure, some don't even seem to care.  I have been called Ann so many times, often by people who have been told "My name is Annie" yet they insist on calling me Ann. 

One teacher even insisted she didn't address people informally, calling all children in her glass by their given names.  Another teacher had no problem calling Matthews "Matt" and Christina's "Christy" but I always got called Ann. 

Iris:
For verbal exchanges, I would pick ONE phrase and repeat it, with decreasing orders of cordiality.

E.g. "Oh, is that short for Mary-Anne?"
"No, it's just Mary. On my birth certificate and everything"
"Are you sure?"
"(with a smile) I assure you I know my own name"
""What about Mary-Sue? Is it short for Mary-Sue?"
"(Without a smile) I assure you I know my own name"
and so on. It can go all the way up to the Icy Look of Death, but just keep repeating.

For your DH, I would simply reply "There is no misspelling. My name is Mith." with no embellishments.

FWIW this kind of thing drives me mental. Are people really so arrogant that they assume that you can't remember or spell your own name? My current theory is that a number of people go through life with the default attitude "I cannot possibly ever be wrong" and adjust their reasoning from there. It explains many of the brain hurty conversations I have had.

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