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I Resent My Name!

My name is Brooke, and I have never really been fond of this name. Many people are unable to pronounce it correctly, and I often am referred to as Brock, Burke, Brick, and Book... and am still slightly traumatized from when I was a kid and my soccer coach referred to me as Booger. I guess I just have never been able to accept this as my name, and perhaps I resent my parents for naming me this in the first place.

Do you think I should just come up with a nickname to have people call me, or should I change my name altogether? I have considered legally changing it numerous times, but always reconsider when I think of the hassle it would be to have to go through the process. I just feel like I have some sort of identity issue or something, because I have tried experimenting with different names, and don't even feel attached to the name 'Brooke' anymore.

- Not a Brooke

Whether you make a legal change or just a usage change, I believe it's definitely time to do away with Brooke. I say that not because there's anything wrong with the name Brooke -- there isn't -- but because you're twisting yourself in knots to prove that there is.

You say it's a bad name because it's hard to pronounce? That's a little tough to swallow, since the name has a single, unambiguous pronunciation that it shares with a common word. 

It's a bad name because somebody once stretched it and mangled it to come up with a rude nickname? Honey, you can do that with any name. Brooke is actually less prone to teasing nicknames than most...and even boys named Tucker survive just fine.

Here's why Brooke is really a bad name for you: because you don't like it. It just doesn't fit.

That is a completely legitimate reason, so please give yourself permission to feel the way you feel. Reaching for "objective" reasons why Brooke is a crummy name only encourages people to argue with you, trying to defend the innocent name against trumped-up charges. Stick with a simple "the name has never fit me," let your parents off the hook, and turn to the job of finding a new name.

Right now, you're still focused on the name you want to change from, not the name you want to change to. Asking whether you should make it legal at this point is like asking whether you should date, shack up or get married before you even find a partner. (And getting married to force yourself to commit to a partner you aren't crazy about is always a mistake.) Find a name that truly makes you happy, live with a little while, and you might just find that the hassle of tying the knot will seem worth it.

Comments

December 9, 2013 12:43 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Very very good advice!! I too hate my name, but haven't found one that I love enough to change too, so I go by a nickname.

I love Brooke by the way. I don't think I love it enough to use it for a child, but it's very pretty.

December 10, 2013 1:05 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Yeah, I have to agree with the Name Lady 150% here that you're stretching to come up with something. Brooke is definitely nowhere near as difficult as, say, Dorothy (my name). While people don't mispronounce it, they mishear it (I've been called Courtney in crowded areas more times than I can count), they misspell it (usually Dorthy, but I've gotten gems like Dorathie, Dorthea,etc), they constantly make Oz jokes, and I spent a few years being called Dorky on a multiple times daily basis.

That said, I don't mind my name, but if you DO, then there's no reason you should have to defend your decision to anyone - though definitely be gentle with your parents, be sure you don't come across as accusatory, be patient (they've called you that since and maybe even before you were born), and maybe be open to suggestions from them. It's possible that they had second thoughts on your name and considered something else that would have fit you better.

December 10, 2013 1:11 PM
By Mrs.MAO (not verified)

The author naver says, but this sentence: "I often am referred to as Brock, Burke, Brick, and Book" leads me to believe this writer is a male, not a female, if people are coming up with more masculine pronunciations for his name. Maybe part of the problem is that Brooke is a name more commonly given to females. My sister-in-law is a Brooke and many friends from high school are named Brooke. However, I have heard of men named Brooks. It's even gotten a little trendy since the male Bachelorette contestant Brooks was on the show last season. Maybe they could adopt the extra letter and change Brooke to Brooks?

December 10, 2013 1:13 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Great advice namelady! My name is Pamela, but I go by Pam, and the confusion is always there because my name is not as popular as similar sounding names(Sam? Kim?). And I was often called Spam as a child. So, to me Brooke seems like a dream-name! But if it doesn't fit, don't make excuses! Sometimes people just don't mesh with their names! And think how fun it will be to try on names! And how cool that you'll get to choose a name that fits YOU!

December 10, 2013 1:43 PM
By Claire (not verified)

I could have written this.

My name has never "fit" me, either. People are aghast when I tell then that I feel that way, since "Claire" is a pretty popular girl name these days. I also have had the problem of finding a name that fits, though.

After years of thinking about it, I'm probably going to try to adopt a nickname, to avoid the legal paperwork mess. But whatever you want to do is FINE. Your name is a big deal. It doesn't matter if other people think your name is great, you're the one who has to live with it. If yours doesn't fit you, keep looking for the one that will.

December 10, 2013 1:51 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I once met a man named Brooke so I agree with Mrs.MAO. I am also leading towards the LW being a male. Regardless, focusing on finding a name that does fit is the way to go.

December 10, 2013 2:05 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

This is such a nice answer. I hate my name too. A lot of people tell me it's nice and unobjectionable albeit unusual but it's one of those that people comment on strongly disliking on name websites, and people can't tell my gender from it. It's not nicknameable. And I don't fit it. I'm really struggling to find a name that fits me, though. I wonder how you can trial a name for a while without going 'public' with it to see how it fits...

December 10, 2013 3:33 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My parents hung me with "Beulah," so I don't have a lot of sympathy for a Brooke. (And you should have heard what people did with that one, even though I never went by it.)

That said, you can change your name pretty easily. Just expect to pay about $300 in court costs, maybe more, maybe less. It's a hassle, but overall, a minor one.

December 10, 2013 6:42 PM
By Sallyo (not verified)

If hearers are constantly getting "Brooke" wrong, I expect the bearer, disliking the name, mumbles when s/he introduces him/herself. That's understandable, but it seems odd that so many people mishear a common and simple name. My surname is Odgers and even when I say it clearly, and then spell it - "Odgers - O-d-g-e-r-s" a large percentage of people write down "Hodges" or "Rogers". I have to say, "No, Odgers. Capital-O-d-g-e-r-s". They then look puzzled but obediently scratch out the H/R. It can cause serious problems if someone is looking up an appointment or tickets etc for me. Mind you, people who KNOW someone else with my surname pick it up easily and I would have thought most people would know someone else named Brook(e). I can't/don't want to change my surname, so I'll just go on spelling it and saying... "No, Odgers. Capital-O". I suggest Brooke seeks out a name that fits his/her age-group though. It feels bizarre to meet someone who is 30 and sporting a name that has been popular only in the last five years.

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