General Etiquette > Life...in general

Your Name

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misha412:
This situation reminds me of when a great-uncle of mine was in assisted living. Let's say his name was John Frank Robert Smith. He always went by Rob...never Robert or John or Frank. His family called him Rob from birth.

When he went into assisted living, the nursing staff insisted on calling him John. His first legal name was John and they would never call him Rob. They would not call him Mr. Smith. As his mental faculties began to slip, the name problem became acute because he flat out did not answer to the name John. When family members visited and called him by Rob he had no real issues responding. The nursing staff could not understand it.

If someone uses one name, it is polite and even imperative that you use that name. It is part of a person's identity.

baglady:
Bagman's name is William. He goes by Bill, but I call him Billy, which was his childhood nickname. I picked it up from a childhood friend of his whom I heard call him that. Some of our friends have started calling him Billy on occasion after hearing me use it. He is OK with it and also answers to a nickname derived from his last name (think "Mac" for "MacDonald") that he was known by in high school/early adulthood.

It would feel strange to me to call him Bill or Mac, to his face anyway, and it would probably feel equally strange to him to hear me use those names. I do use them when talking to other people *about* him, if that's the way the other person knows him.

Gyburc:
My MIL used to shorten my name in a way that I didn't really like, so I mentioned it very quietly to DH, who mentioned it very quietly to her. She stopped without a fuss, being basically a nice person.  :)

On the other hand, my great-aunt it seems had a real fight about her name. She and my grandmother were two of six girls, all vying for dominance as they grew up. (My grandmother was the youngest, so she usually lost.) My great-aunt was called Elizabeth, and all her life was referred to by her sisters as 'Betty'.

Only after the last of her sisters (coincidentally the oldest and by far the bossiest) had passed away, did she reveal to the whole family that she loathed the name 'Betty', and everyone had to get used to calling her 'Auntie Liz' instead.

I sometimes wonder how we survive our families...   :)

Seraphia:
It can be tough to break the habit of calling people by one name, then switching later. I went to school with a Tommy from elementary on up. Didn't have much occasion to hang out with him, but always thought of him as Tommy. Freshman year of college, I came home for a break and brought one of my friends. Introduced her to Tommy when we ran into him around town, and cue major embarrassment from me when he gave me an awkward look, and said: "Actually, it's just Tom." Apparently he'd decided not to go by the diminutive at some point, and I'd missed the memo. Whoops. I still have to mentally adjust the name when I run into him now.

On the other hand, it was quite a shock to meet my college roommate's parents and realize that they called her a completely different name from what I did. Picture me asking: "Where did Elizabeth go?" and being answered with: "Bethy's in the kitchen." I'm standing there thinking, "Bethy? Who's Bethy?"

Tea Drinker:

--- Quote from: misha412 on February 07, 2013, 06:42:22 PM ---This situation reminds me of when a great-uncle of mine was in assisted living. Let's say his name was John Frank Robert Smith. He always went by Rob...never Robert or John or Frank. His family called him Rob from birth.

When he went into assisted living, the nursing staff insisted on calling him John. His first legal name was John and they would never call him Rob. They would not call him Mr. Smith. As his mental faculties began to slip, the name problem became acute because he flat out did not answer to the name John. When family members visited and called him by Rob he had no real issues responding. The nursing staff could not understand it.

If someone uses one name, it is polite and even imperative that you use that name. It is part of a person's identity.

--- End quote ---

Yes. A relative of mine uses a nickname (let's say "Immanuel") that has no particular connection to his legal name. When he had a stroke and was hospitalized, one of the things that a friend did for him was make a large sign for the wall that included "My name is Immanuel" both because he might not answer to his real name, and because the doctors and nursing staff needed to know that if we asked about "Immanuel," we meant the guy in bed 4-B.

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