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Is Our Baby’s Name Too Short and Sweet?

My husband and I gave our daughter a short name that we love, Andie. We like it much better than Andrea or any other longer version, so despite some reservations, I went for it. However, we never get a positive response from people who ask us for her name, mostly just silence. I'm worried she will be teased in the future for having a boy's name and am considering changing her name to one of those longer versions (possibly Andriana—another name no one but me seems to like). My husband isn't on board with a change and thinks I'm overreacting, but I am terrified we set her up for a lifetime of name issues. Please help!

–Concerned Mama

Silence can mean many things: disinterest, polite disapproval, quiet appreciation. You interpret the silence over your daughter's name as a rejection of it by the people you speak with, and you may be right. I am not a participant in those conversations and can't read the body language and facial cues of your partners, all of which would help determine their exact stance toward "Andie" (the name, not your little girl).

Thanks to my knowledge of the name landscape of the 21st-century, though, I can argue that your reading of this silence is off-base in one way. I don't think the friends, relatives, or strangers you introduce your daughter to are repelled by the boyishness of her name. Traditionally male names are a hot commodity for young girls these days. Parkers, Rileys, Wyatts, and Elliotts are no longer out of place in a girl’s ballet class or soccer team. Feminized versions of male nicknames also have a long history—think of names like Bobbie, Ricki, Randi, or Toni. Spelled the way you’ve chosen, Andie clearly reads as feminine, calling to mind namesakes like the actress Andie MacDowell.

But your Andie is out of step with current fashions in another way. Nicknames are much less popular these days as full names or nicknames: lots more Williams are "just William," and way fewer Kates are "just Kate." Given current trends, many people will assume that Andie has a longer formal version of her name, and surprise could account for their less than gratifying reactions.

Even this trend has its outliers, though, as nicknames like Molly, Jack, and Sadie prove. If you love your baby's name as is, a cheerful "just Andie!" should silence the silent ones—after all, your feelings about the name are the ones that matter most. Owning your pride and happiness in your choice could provide your daughter a model of self-confidence and gentle assertiveness that will serve her well in later life, whatever the reaction of junior high classmates to her name ultimately turns out to be.

Still, if your heart can't rest until you find a longer name, you do have options other than those you already discounted. Crucially, the name doesn't have to start with "And." Think about names with "and" embedded in them, like Alexandra, Holland, Candace, Amanda, Cassandra, Miranda, or Ireland. If you can find a longer name you (and your husband) love just as much as Andie, make the switch and enjoy both of them. If not, stick with the short and sweet.

Comments

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March 6, 2017 11:10 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think you are really over thinking this. Andie is fine. People could be silent for lots of reasons, one being that they find the name so unremarkable that it doesn't warrant comment.

March 7, 2017 10:25 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I know several girls named Annie as the full name. Andie is not much different. I agree with Anon above, their reaction may simply may be because it is not that unusual.

Her classmates are not going to care.

March 7, 2017 12:53 PM
By Heather A. (not verified)

I think one question to ask is how your daughter will feel about her name as an adult. Will she want the option of a more formal sounding name to put on resumes, etc? Will she be taken less seriously in certain situations? Would you choose "just Andy" for a boy?

Maybe it won't matter. But, even if you never use the longer name, if would give your daughter greater flexibility and choice in the future.

March 8, 2017 11:49 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

She probably won't have a lifetime of "name issues", but she probably won't have a lifetime of people commenting on how cute/interesting/unique her name is. That may be a good thing, as it will let her personality shine through.

That said, I personally prefer formal names with nicknames. If you don't care for any of the options presented, what about something like Anna Daisy, Annette Diane, or Anne Denise, so that Ann D easily becomes Andie. It's a creative way to get the name you love, and may get the "how clever" reaction you seem to be wanting.

I know hubby thinks you're overreacting, but he has likely never been a girl, so he doesn't understand why this would matter to a girl. I would seek a friend or family member who knows you well to gauge if you really are overreacting.

March 8, 2017 3:55 PM
By Sabby (not verified)

Most people don't comment on names, unless the name is unusual. Andie doesn't fall into that category. It's a pretty simple name. The only issue she might have is people calling her Andrea or something similar. But that happens once and then she corrects them. Don't worry. Enjoy your name and your daughter.

March 10, 2017 8:38 AM
By Jo R. (not verified)

Don't worry, as a teacher for more than 25 years, I can assure you that Andie fits in fine. There is an adorable sib set named Lori and Allie in my school, and no one blinks an eye. Also, as a mother, I would say that people react more to your child's name when she is a baby, because there is little else to talk about. Later on, they can judge you for her napping habits, toilet training, after school activities (excessive or too scant) and then onward to college judging!!!!
Enjoy your baby!!

March 18, 2017 11:12 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

It's a fine name. I think it is fine on a kids, and grows up much more nicely than a lit of names I'm seeing now. (I work in a couple of elementary schools, so I see lots of names.) Enjoy your little one, and don't worry. :-)

March 21, 2017 5:17 PM
By Name Nut (not verified)

I'm guessing the silent reactions you're getting are surprise, not disapproval. If you're verbally introducing your daughter in person and say "Andie," most likely people are visualizing "Andy," which of course is a typically male name and a nickname for Andrew. (However, if you're emailing or writing, the name will be spelled with the "ie" on the end and will be clearly feminine.)

Maybe in your conversations when people ask what your baby's name is, respond "Andie, with an IE on the end." That should clarify anything that might seem confusing.

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