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My Friend is Spelling her Baby's Name Wrong

Is there a way to tactfully suggest an alternative (read: more traditional) spelling for a friend's baby name choice? A good friend of mine is giving her child a name with at least a dozen spellings and is using the one most likely to be misspelled. Oh, and get this: The name is also similar to that of a pseudo-celebrity with a less-than-stellar persona. I don't think my friend is doing it to be different. She just thinks it's cute.

- Concerned friend

We all know that bashing a friend's baby name choice is a fast-track to bruised feelings. But what about the name's spelling? Is it possible to suggest a more standard spelling without causing offense? The answer is often yes, but you have to tread carefully.

Here are some do's and don'ts for advising "kreative" spellers:

Do start by telling the mom-to-be how wonderful you think the name is, in its essence. The flattery will help take the sting out of any negative comments, and your arguments will be more persuasive if she feels that you're on her side.

Don't attack the whole idea of creative spelling. Saying that non-standard spellings are "self-indulgent" or "low-class" comes across as a slam on the mom's character. That's the wrong battle. Remember, spelling isn't a moral issue, no matter how strongly you feel about it.

Don't criticize the name based on your own taste and impressions. Saying "Jazzymyne is uglier than Jasmine" or "Jazzymyne sounds like a pole dancer" will just raise the mom's hackles -- and in a battle of your taste versus hers, hers will win every time.

Do point out situations beyond your control that could cause problems for the name. The internet is your secret weapon here. Do a search and check out the unusual spelling. Then, report back your findings. For instance, you can say, "I read a message board where a Jazzymyne said her name is always getting mispronounced in the ugliest ways! It would be such a shame for that beautiful name to get mangled." Or even, "I feel funny saying this, but I did an image search for Jazzymyne and it brought up a lot of really inappropriate photos."

In your case, the tacky celebrity could turn out to be your best friend. Play up the celeb's link to the name, and the low public opinion of her. Do it with compassion and you should be able to come across as the concerned friend you are, not just another name basher.


Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

July 18, 2009 10:52 AM
By Abby (not verified)

I think you've suggested a nice, middle-of-the-road approach to this subject. But I honestly have to say that I would not comment on a friend's choice of name. I figure that if I love my friend, I'll love the kid. Even if her name is Maddalyn or Ashli or M'Kaiei.

July 19, 2009 11:54 AM
By Kayt (not verified)

I like this approach. I think I would definitely say something, because it's one of my least favorite trends with names. Trust me, Kayt is just as common as Kate, and it's just more difficult. I tell most people I know when they mention they're naming their child Jaxen, Karrsynne, or Nuvayeah (all children I know).

July 31, 2009 5:09 PM
By Terrie (not verified)

Mine and my brothers have "either or" names. The "girl" version or "boy" version of spelling was decided when we were born. I didn't mind having a common name, but didn't like the fact that nothing could be found with my name printed on it like the other kids had, pens, pencils, barretts, etc. And having a difficult to spell last name just added to the mix. Be creative, but also, limit yourself. Think of what your child could miss out on, or whether they will be bullied for the name YOU liked.

July 31, 2009 11:23 PM
By Preschool teacher (not verified)

Pleas say something to your friend, if they are your true friend they wont be offended. Or shouldnt hold it against you for offering your opinion. From my standpoint as a teacher spelling names rediculously just makes things harder on the kids and teacher. Its hard enough to remember first & last, multiple children with the same names or similar sounding names. Like having a class of Corbin , Carter, Katelyn, Katlynn,Cassidy, Cameron, isnt enough then throw in a Jacob, Jakob, Nicholas spelled Nikolas, and Anna pronounced Ona along with a menagerie of unique multi cultural name spellings and last names. Then lets try to begin teaching phonics and see how fast kids can get confused with their own names. I am guilty myself of this phonetic confusion and i spelled my childs name as generic as i could. My 5 year old can't understand why the c in Macy sounds like an s. People dont end up any more unique becase their parent spelled their name in a jacked up way. It only makes life harder.

December 4, 2009 9:35 PM
By Cassandra (not verified)

I know a little girl named Ellie, only the mother spelled it "Eli". She has never met a person who does not pronounce it Eli either.

February 12, 2010 2:51 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Goodness, if there's one thing I hate, it's people who spell their baby names "wrong". If you want to be creative, pick a creative name! Simply changing the spelling doesn't actually make the name itself more unique. And unfortunately, it just makes your kid seem low-class & trashy. (see Ashley - Ashli, Ashleigh, Ashlee etc. or Brittany - Britney, Brittny, Britny, Briteny etc. or Kaylee, Kayleigh, Kailey, Kaylie, etc.)

I'm glad you've suggested some tactful ways to bring this up.

March 17, 2010 9:28 PM
By Mikkiee (not verified)

My name is a 'low class/trasy' name? What if I was Mickey? or Mikki?

April 23, 2010 9:29 AM
By replica handbags (not verified)

Does it really matter how you spell a name?
I believe not...

November 1, 2010 1:14 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Yes, "Mikkiee" is probably one of the stupidest ways to spell "Mickey" and it makes your parents seem dumb/trashy/illiterate for naming you that, and you the same for not coming up with a nickname with a normal spelling.

December 8, 2010 9:06 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree! Way out alternative spellings make parents seem ignorant. and face it anyone that is naming a child K-Lee, Ash-Lee, Kayt-linn, is just plain non-creative those are so overused! I just had a friend name her baby a wonderful name with cringe worthy spelling. My test is if i heard someone screaming the name in public...avoid.

July 13, 2011 3:45 PM
By Sasha (not verified)

Please tell me you are not really a teacher.
I don't think you have any right to teach young children "phonics" or tell others how to spell their children's names when you can't even remember to capitalise the word "I" and stick an apostrophe in "let's". (For the record, I know that in America "capitalize" is spelled with a z. I'm not American.)
Furthermore, it is "please", "ridiculously", "it's" (contraction of "it is", not possessive); there is a space after each word in a sentence, including after commas (but not before them)....
I could go on, but I hope you get the message. Either go back to school yourself or find a job better suited to your lack of skills. This absolutely disgusted me.

February 5, 2014 11:00 PM
By Lorrie (not verified)

I like creative spelling to an extent. My name gets misspelled all the time, including by my high school algebra teacher for an entire semester. Yeah not the brightest bulb in the box. You don't get to misspell a students name for an entire semester and still think you know your students. Lorrie is not the most common way of spelling my name. However, there are some perks to it. When I need a username or email, my name is most likely free. This is expecaly gratifying when you have a very common last name. Or if someone needs to look me up on a company directory, even if there are others with my name, I'm the only one who spells it Lorrie. Granted it's automatic to spell my name whenever someone asks my name, and I know there going to be needing the proper spelling. However, I'm greatfull my mother didn't get too creative and add in letters or symbols that don't belong. It sounds so pretentious when you have to correct the pronunciation of you name. I would hate to have to do that in every conversation.

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