General Etiquette > Family and Children

"Stealing" a Baby Name

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My husband and I are expecting our first child this Summer.  My best friend of 15 years, who is NOT pregnant and has only expressed a desire to start a family since I told her we were expecting, asked me a few months ago if we had thought of names so I told her how we were debating between Charlotte and Catherine for a girl.  (I know, that was my first mistake!). Well she told me that he has her heart set on having a little girl and naming her Charlotte and asked me not to use the name.  I wanted to keep the peace and since we didn't know the baby's gender at the time told her I would keep it in mind.'s a girl!  We really do love the name Charlotte and have decided that our little one will have that name.  My friend is very upset with me.  She feels like I have "stolen" her name and that I am not considering her feelings.  To be honest, I really hadn't.  My reasons for not picking a different name are:
1. She is NOT pregnant and only recently decided she wanted to be.
2. They live on the opposite side of the US and it's not like our children will grow up spending lots of time together.
3. Charlotte is a VERY common name.  It's not like I have picked a unique family name from her family...she just likes it.
4. They may never have children and if they do, they may end up with only boys.  I do not like the idea of renaming my child because she might have one.

I have told her that I have no problem with both of us having girls with the same name.  I haw pointed out how far apart in geography and possibly age they kids may be and I have even reminded her that the decision is not solely mine and my husband happens to be fond of the name as well.  I haven't pointed out that she isn't now pregnant and may never have a girl because she was very upset on the phone and I didn't want to hurt her more.

My question is, am I a mean person for using a name she loves?  In my situation, would you change the name? 

You decided that Charlotte was one of the contenders BEFORE your friend told you that it was "her" name.  She's being silly and selfish.  Name your daughter whatever you please.

And your friend will either get over it or die mad. 

No, I wouldn't change the name. If an unusual name she had discussed a few times, then I'd find it odd you decided to use the name. But this is a common name she had never mentioned until she asked you about names. IMHO she is projecting her envy about your coming child onto a silly subject like stealing a name.

My cousin and I were pregnant at the same time (DS). I didn't know she favored the name we gave DS, I gave birth first and she chose to name her son Ian instead. The next 2 years jokes went around when people found out Ian and DS could have had the same name. I insisted it would have been fine if the name share had happened. Cousin recently had her second child and gave him the favored name, spelled the other way (2 traditional ways) from how I'd done it. That tickled me a little.

When people care about each other, names don't matter. She can't dibs a name that you brought up first, anyway. Your friend may have a little Charles instead, when she does start her family, too.

My Aunt pulled the same stunt when my mother was pregnant with my brother. She declared that she wanted to name her firstborn "Edward" after their great grandfather, even though Aunt wasn't even pregnant at the time. Since Mum had already picked another name for Bro, she was amused by Aunt rather than annoyed. Mum was even more amused when Aunt did have a boy, and after warning all and sundry that Edward was off-limits to everyone, named him Oliver instead.


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