dealing with negative reactions

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Will Everybody Hate This Name?

I am having a daughter in three weeks, and my husband and I decided to name her Idabelle Fae. When I told people this, it seemed as if they were making fun of the name. Should I still name her that?

-- Lucy

I am currently expecting my first child. If it’s a girl, I really want to name her Ramona after my grandmother. Upon soliciting others' opinions, I got fairly mixed reviews. The negative reactions mostly stemmed from the "moan" part of the name or that it sounded too old-fashioned. What do you think of the name? Should I just go ahead with it?
-- Allison

It looks like focus groups have moved from the marketing department to the nursery. And why not? If film studio execs can rely on panels to amp up the laughs in a comedy, and car manufacturers can use them to choose features for a new convertible, why shouldn’t parents turn to the wisdom of the crowd to help choose their children’s names? Aren’t twenty or thirty opinions more reliable than two or three?

There are times when it’s invaluable to listen to the crowd. If literally everyone you speak to looks horrified by your future child’s name, it’s worth considering whether there’s something off-putting about your choice that you haven’t noticed. Perhaps the name carries a connotation that would weigh your child down.

But focus groups have their drawbacks too, in business and in naming.

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