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They Want My Baby Name!

Close friends of ours want to use our son's name for their soon-to-be born baby. My son is just 14 months, and he is their godson. They asked us what we think and to be honest with them. I have yet to answer, because I am hurt and do not want them to use the name. I feel they should have taken it off their list 14 months ago when our little guy was born, as I would have done for any close friend or family member. I know we do not own the name, but I do not think it is right. Am I too close to this to be rational, or are my feeling justified?

- Why MY Name?

Last week I published a letter from an expectant mother who was concerned about using a baby name that a relative had already chosen. I advised her to simply pick up the phone and call the other parent. There are no official rules to when names are "taken"; it varies based on relationships, culture, and the names themselves. (Two boys named Jupiter might be a bigger deal than two boys name James.)  Asking permission is the direct approach, and the considerate one.

Your friend has already taken my advice, yet you still feel hurt. Even the idea  of close friends encroaching on your name space feels like a violation. I understand where you're coming from, given that the friends are your son's own godparents. Nonetheless, I think you're being a little unfair with this mom-to-be.

Take a moment to imagine yourself in her shoes. You've always adored this name, but your dear friend has already taken it. She might well object. Might, but who knows? The boundaries of acceptable name overlap are very fluid, and some parents don't mind sharing. What's the harm in asking before giving up on your favorite name?
If she had picked your child's name without talking to you first, she would have been in the wrong. But she did talk to you. She went out of her way to show that your feelings matter to her. She even gave you veto power over a baby name she loves -- that's a pretty impressive demonstration of friendship.

Your friend asked you to be honest, so go ahead and tell her how you feel, kindly and diplomatically. Explain that you can certainly relate to her love for the name, that you know you don't "own" it, but that it feels weird to you for a son and godson to share the same name. While you're at it, you might even tell her how lucky you feel to have a friend you share so much in common with that you have the exact same favorite name.

Comments

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April 2, 2012 1:28 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Personally, I think it is rather odd that your friend would even want to use it. If you are close enough for them to be your son's godparents than they shouldn't even consider using your son's name...unless it is a family name from one of their own families or something like that. It is better that she asked before using it though.

I would be diplomatically honest with them about it, maybe point out that since you are such close friends that it would almost be like cousins having the same name and maybe that will cause them to reconsider using it. And perhaps inquire as to why they like the name so much. Maybe they did pick it to honor a family member or for some other compelling reason that would make you feel okay about them using it. Good luck!

April 2, 2012 3:36 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think it's worth considering what meaning the name has to your friend. For example, I've always wanted to name my son after my father, and if a friend of mine named their son that name first, I wouldn't feel as though it should come off my list. It has a lot of personal meaning for me. I can heartily understand where you're coming from (I always feel a little heartbroken when even acquaintances use baby names I've been devoted to), but I also think it's worth having an open discussion. I think the Name Lady has a very valid point when she says there's a difference between two boys named Jupiter and two named James, but with many names (maybe not Jupiter), the feel can be very different depending on the sound of the last names, what nickname (if any) each boy has, and even middle names can help you emotionally distinguish between one and the other. Would your friend consider using a different nickname? Could she use this name as a middle name? I'd encourage you to talk to her and see where she is. Also, from another perspective, I grew up with a best friend who shared my (very common) name, and it was FUN!!!! Sometimes children are more open-minded than adults.

April 2, 2012 5:14 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I don't know why this bothers some people. No one "owns" names, and plenty of people share the same name. Most of the babies a few hundred years ago shared the same handful of names!

I would consider it an honor for one of "my" baby names to be chosen by someone close to me. For one thing, it would confirm my extremely good taste ;).

April 2, 2012 8:07 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

They have their own personal reasons for choosing this name, just as you did. There is no reason why they should take the name off their list just because you happened to have a baby first.

Plenty of people have the same name. Even friends and family.

April 2, 2012 9:27 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think that you may be being a little precious about this. You may spend a lot of time together now but over a lifetime your kids are likely to spend a lot more time apart (I don't hang out with the children of family friends - do you?). 7 years ago my best friend and I both named our sons the same name (we called them by first + middle when together to avoid confusion) and we thought it was funny! 3 years ago they moved away to another state and we now speak on the phone and see each other at Christmas and I doubt many people even remember the name thing now.

April 2, 2012 9:38 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I would put my initial annoyance aside and consider it an honor. You obviously have great taste in names, accept the flattery and do something fun with it. I have two nieces, one from my sister, one from my husband's brother, that were born a week apart in the same small town. They have mutual friends, see each other at our family's functions, and are in the same school system. The name is not common around here but not super out their either. If anyone was offended at one time, I never heard and our kids all think it is fun. Most often we call them by their first and middle names to differentiate, which I love b/c not too many people go by both names and it makes the names more lovely in my opinion. If you do tell them it is okay, then do not ever act like it is not okay. Don't talk about it bothering you again. If it ever got back to your friends, you would look petty and mean, which it doesn't sound like you are at all. If you are going to let it go, then let it go.

April 2, 2012 9:48 PM
By CP (not verified)

I understand where you are coming from but perhaps they did "take the name off the list" 14 months ago or perhaps they didn't even have a list then. Perhaps this is one of the few names they both can agree on. No matter what the reason they want to use the name, they asked for your honest opinion. I think it wasn't meant in a bad way.

April 3, 2012 12:14 AM
By Denym (not verified)

Well it depends on the name. If you son has a boring popular name like Michael, John, Daniel or William, well your friend really isn't stealing the name because there are millions of others out there with those names.
However if it is a name that is pretty unique, whether its Oakley, Azure, or something along those lines, then I'd probably be upset.

April 3, 2012 2:09 AM
By Jane (not verified)

How things change! My mother and her best friend both named their daughters Jane, and did not bother to ask each other - it was no big deal to use the same name back then. I have a friend named Anna whose mother and her 2 close friends all named their daughters Anna, and again it was no big deal. Our attitudes towards names has changed so much and I think it's a bit silly.

April 3, 2012 9:10 AM
By court (not verified)

Naming a child is something so personal and special to the child's parents. I would think you would want your friends to choose the name they want even if it happens to be your son's name. Think how you would have felt if another friend had asked you not to use that name for your son. Also, my best friend growing up had the same name as me and we loved it as well. It is fun to have two close kids share the same name and go by first middle when they are together. I understand your hurt and disappointment now, but I think over time you'll grow to like it and be happy your friends chose the name.

April 3, 2012 12:00 PM
By Shelli - with an "i" (not verified)

I don't understand the "hurt" feelings. Annoyed? Maybe. Hurt? Unnecessary. In the end, I don't think it matters that much. She asked, which is a nice consideration. You should be honest that you don't like the idea of your two sons having the same name, and then let her make the decision. And if she chooses to still use the name, don't hold it against her and ruin a special relationship.

April 3, 2012 12:08 PM
By Maranda (not verified)

I agree. If it's really unique name, that uniqueness is tied to your son's identity. If it's a trendy, popular name, well popular names are popular for a reason as you'll realize when he starts school and there are tons of kids with the same name!

April 3, 2012 12:17 PM
By Cabo (not verified)

The decision of what to name a child is pretty momentous in many people's lives; it's all wrapped up in feelings and memories and to some people even religion and politics. She has a reason why she wants to use it that matters to her. Why would you want to take that away from someone you care about? Putting the feelings of others first is what being a true friend is all about.

As far as her being the godmother, I look at that as her gift to you, so to withhold this name from her would be ungracious.

April 3, 2012 12:31 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I can't believe all the posters saying they think it's not a big deal! I think it's a huge deal! First of all, it's ridiculous that she even wants to use the same name- even if I was head over heels for a name and it was used by a friend of a friend, I probably wouldn't use it. But a close friend? Probably your best friend? So very strange. I think you should tell her you don't like the idea of her using the name at all, but that you know you can't decide or control what name she uses and that you hope she will at least choose a middle name different from your son's. That would be especially crazy if she used the same first and middle name.

April 3, 2012 12:36 PM
By Jen (not verified)

You might want to be careful about exercising your veto power: you may be her friend, but he'll be her son. And after he's born, do you want to be the person who told her not to use her favorite name? It might not matter, but it might start a rift you aren't anticipating. Why not consider putting your feelings aside as a gift to her?

April 3, 2012 1:15 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I have a cousin with the same name as me and growing up my three closest friends (whose parents were also friends) had the same name. No one cared.

Today people seem much more possessive about names than in the past. I think that's strange, not the fact that two people who are close friends like the same name.

April 3, 2012 2:41 PM
By hyz (not verified)

I agree with the crowd here that it's probably not a good idea to try to exercise the veto power she's apparently offered you here. I can understand feeling possessive about a name, whether it is relatively rare or common in your circles--if it's rare, then it can feel like she's taking your kid's name, and if it's common, it might feel like she's adding to the problem of there being too many little Logans or Jacks around, or whatever the top name happens to be in your circles. But in the end, it's not your name, and she has the same right to it that you do. I'd be gracious, maybe say that it was a little hard for you to get used to the idea at first because you are so accustomed to thinking of it just as your son's name, but that obviously she shares your great taste in names, you can see why she would love it, and if that's the name she and her husband decide they love best, then you two will figure out a way to avoid any logistical confusion, and that it might even be fun! Hey, just think, you can give your friend's son any monogrammed hand-me-down's you might have. :)

April 3, 2012 3:30 PM
By Charly (not verified)

Dearest Madam of Christian Names,

Mine lifelong companion did choose to name his firstborn "John." The outrage! The ignominy! My eldest son, indeed, the firstborn, doth bear the name "John." What be next, "Margaret," "Mary," or "William?"

Kindest Regards,
John Sr.
3 April 1342

April 3, 2012 5:06 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

So many different ways to view at the same situation.
In this day and age, people do seem to feel they "own"
a name once they bestow it on their child.
Seems much ado about nothing to me.
A close relative and I were pregnant at the same time ( many,
many years ago). Our name of choice was known to all the
family, but our cousins didn't announce their name till their
child was born. You guessed it; it was our name.
Our baby was born soon after, and both boys shared the same
great name without any problem. I also gave cousins who loved the same name so, they gave their sons the same first and middle names. And they're sisters. A big laugh in our family. No one's nose out of joint.
There are far greater things to worry about.

April 3, 2012 5:33 PM
By Top 10 name of the 70s (not verified)

My 3rd son has a classic, but less common name than my first 2. The year after he started Daycare one of the lovely carers in the Babies' Room had her own son and named him the same name.
I was thrilled! I know it is not the same as a very close friend, but nevertheless, a lot of people at Daycare and my work commented (in a positive manner). I can only imagine that she thought my child was so wonderful that she named her own firstborn "after" him. After all - if he were a hideous baby there is no way she would have done so. (I am a teacher - so many perfectly lovely names go off the table when associated with a horrid child!!).
Choose to see it as a compliment to your good taste and fantastic parenting!

April 3, 2012 8:39 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Please stop using the word "unique" when you mean "unusual". A name cannot be "very unique" or "more unique"! It can be unique, very unusual, more unusual, etc.

April 6, 2012 3:05 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Something that occured to me with this and the previous question is that the very act of being asked puts you in an awkward position. Even if you want to say, 'No don't use my name' you might be put off by not wanting to look petty.

April 6, 2012 8:11 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

very difficult to give advice without knowing the name.

If it is a top 200 name, my feeling is that you should be flattered that someone else so close, thinks that the best possible name that you could ever give your loving son, is the absolute most amazing name that they could give theirs.

April 6, 2012 8:12 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

very difficult to give advice without knowing the name.

If it is a top 200 name, my feeling is that you should be flattered that someone else so close, thinks that the best possible name that you could ever give your loving son, is the absolute most amazing name that they could give theirs.

April 13, 2012 10:38 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

When did having the same baby name become the new showing up to prom in the same dress? I ask this as someone who shared the same traditional name with 4 others in my class.

April 14, 2012 9:30 AM
By Jiinxsay (not verified)

this is sooo interesting that i just happened upon this article as i am expanding my new unique fav list of bby names! as i was taking/adding names from gurls here at wordpress, i found myself color-coding them in Teal, so i would NOT add them to my list, when i get around to starting, as i just joined. so i was already allowing for possessiveness! strange huh?

i also feel guilty now, as i have kept my absolute FAVS, many of which i "invented" to myself and have NOT put them up online anywhere, not wanting anyone else to use them or even KNOW them. selfish for sure! that is going to change now that i am a member, i will share allll :)

all my Love, Jiinxsay

April 25, 2012 1:58 AM
By WinnieColey (not verified)

up the phone and call the other parent. There are no

April 25, 2012 3:02 AM
By Sondra Gifford (not verified)

i was taking/adding names from gurls here at wordpress,

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April 25, 2012 5:59 AM
By ElizaMohr (not verified)

(Two boys named Jupiter might be a bigger deal than

May 1, 2012 12:31 PM
By kathryn (not verified)

I have two cousins named the same name. Their moms are sisters and I don't remember anyone being angry about someone stealing the other's name. Both were just referred to by their first and middle names amongst the family. They're only one of my cousins that I know their middle names.

People also have a really odd sense of what names are and aren't popular. A woman in my office freaked when a co-worker stole her 'unique' baby name. She insisted Brayden belonged to her. She sincerely had never heard anyone use the name before and could not believe that someone else came up with the name on her own without stealing her son's name.

May 2, 2012 4:51 AM
By Tania Goldsmith (not verified)

I've been devoted to), but I also think it's worth having an open discussion. I think the Name Lady has a very valid point when she says there's a difference between two boys named Jupiter and two named James

September 18, 2012 1:30 PM
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October 17, 2012 6:09 AM
By Sarah (not verified)

Personal anecdote:
My name is Sarah Lillian Elsie - Lillian after mother's grandmother, Elsie after father's. When I was nine months old, my mother's cousin had a daughter. Named her Sarah Lillian.
My parents were not pleased.

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