handling criticism

Ask Now

Are My Friends Right About This Name?

I have had the name Romance Delilah in mind for my first daughter. When I tell people about the name, however, they insist it's too much. What is your opinion of it?
- Romantic Momma

I'll be glad to give you my opinion, but I feel that I should stamp it with a disclaimer:

No Name Lady opinion, regardless how learned and wise, will change the fact that your friends and family think your favorite baby name is a disaster.

You've packed a lot of thoughts and dreams into "Romance Delilah." Those two little words are a deeply personal reflection of you, and the rejection they met with must sting. It's a dangerous business, letting a beloved name out into the wild.

Read More...

Alicia Silverstone: My Mother-In-Law Named My Son Bear

Alicia Silverstone: My Mother-In-Law Named My Son Bear

Alicia Silverstone’s baby name selection -- Bear Blu Jarecki -- certainly got people talking last spring. But one person who is completely head-over-heels for the name? The actress’ mother-in-law. In fact, she was the one who suggested it!

Read More...

Jay Mohr Heavily Criticized For Giving Son A "Girl's Name"

Jay Mohr Heavily Criticized For Giving Son A "Girl's Name"

Life should be complete bliss for Jay Mohr -- after all, the comedian welcomed his second son, first with wife Nikki Cox, last week. But instead of reveling in sweet newborn baby milestones -- first yawn! first smile! -- he's fighting off critics who are attacking him for giving his son what they mistakenly think is a "girl's name."

Read More...
Ask Now

Back Off Our Baby Name, Brother!

How do I get my brother-in-law to back off about our name choice? Everyone in my family has accepted and warmed up to the name we chose for our girl, Persephone Helen. He seems to think we're crazy and is campaigning for a more "conventional" name. No matter how many times I tell him it's not negotiable, that my husband and I have settled on and love the name, he continues on as though I haven't said a word. It's disrespectful, and it's driving me nuts. -Happy to be Persephone's Mom

I have a bone to pick with aggressive name-buttinskis like your brother-in-law. They're ruining the name game for the rest of us.

Read More...
Ask Now

My Favorite Name is NOT Horrible!

I like the name Talon for a boy. I read a debate about this name online, and some people thought it was horrible because it means a claw. I think it's symbolic of an eagle and its strength. (Did you know an eagle's talons are 4 times stronger than human hands?) Anyway, I like the name. My name translated means dirt, so why do so many people hate the name because of the literal translation? - Tara (Dirt)

You say people hate the name Talon because of its "literal translation?" My friend, you don't have to translate Talon. It's already English.

Read More...
Ask Now

Is This a Baby Name Insult?

We're naming our son Wallace. Everyone keeps asking if it's a "family name." Is this code for "what a terrible name?" We love it, and don't understand why we'd need a family connection to use it. My own name is a name my parents just like, and I don't think they ever were asked to explain any family connections. How do you think we should respond to this question? - Wallace's Mom

You have sensitive name radar, and you're picking up a real signal. "Is that a family name?" is indeed a charged question. It means the people you're talking too are surprised by your name choice, and curious about it. It doesn't have to mean they're wrinkling their nose at little Wallace, though. Here are some possible translations of the question:

Read More...
Ask Now

Is My Favorite Baby Name Too Weird?

I've been having a love affair with the name Calypso since I was 16 years old! I love the name, I love the sound, I love the Greek mythology, and I love the nickname Caly to go with it. My husband also loves the name, but neither of us are sure if we should use it. We aren't sure how our families, or friends, or anyone else will react to this name! Do we take a chance? Or should we be looking elsewhere with these doubts? - Calypso Lover

You want to know how people will react to the name? I have two syllables for you: Day-O. A typical person who hears Calypso is more likely to think "Harry Belafonte" than "Greek nymph."

Read More...
Ask Now

Do I Have a Boy's Name?

My name is Tracy. I have been told by many that it is the male version of the name -- that the female version is supposed to be either Treacy or Tracey. I am a woman. Can you clear this up for me? - Tracy

Treacy? Oh dear.

You've fallen victim to America's love-hate relationship with androgynous names. Parents of girls flock to unisex surnames and even traditional male names, but then a lot of them edge away. "We thought Aidan would be cool for a girl," they'll say, "but we spelled it Aidynn to make it more feminine." If you wanted something feminine, one might ask, why did you choose a boy's name to begin with?

Now these timid, semi-androgynous names are rebounding on your cross-gender classic.

Read More...
Ask Now

How Can I Make My Family Accept My Baby's Name?

My husband and I are expecting a boy this November. Before we conceived him, we both fell in love with the name Bodhi. Now that we have informed our families of his name, everyone on both sides have expressed their distaste. How do we politely tell our family that we will not be changing our son's name?

- Bodhi's Mom-to-Be

Congratulations on taking this rejection so well. It's easy for hard feelings to grow when your joyous name announcement is met with grimaces.

I'll leave aside the question of whether your families' objections should matter. Readers, I urge you to put that -- and your opinions of the name -- aside, too. The naming decision has already been made. The project at hand is to prevent an extended-family meltdown.

Read More...
Ask Now

Why Does Everybody Get My Name Wrong?

My birth first name is Garold. My mother intended for it to be pronounced like Harold, but with a G instead of a H. She went to school with a Garold. I've had an English teacher tell me my name is not spelled correctly -- that my mom made a mistake naming me with that spelling. I was told by another teacher it was Old English for Harold. It seems like most people want to call me Gerald. I'm curious to know what your opinion is about my name, and how it should be pronounced. - Garold

For all that folks complain about eye-popping, unpronounceable names, it's a more modest group of names that are the true mistake magnets. Names like Katheline, Johathan...and Garold. These are the "almost names," just a slim step away from something more common and familiar.

Read More...