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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. Very few things in this world are universally loved. (Air, water, and vanilla ice cream? Maybe Audrey Hepburn?) When a movie tries to please everyone, the results are often bland and formulaic. Aiming for the automotive common denominator has given us cars in four shades of gray.

The same is true with naming. Can you imagine if every new baby born in America received a focus group-approved name? “Isabella and Jacob, meet Isabella and Jacob.” Yes, they’d all fit in well, but we’d all miss the diversity that comes from going out on a limb. I’m glad to see both the familiar and the exotic in my naming landscape.

So keep your focus groups in perspective. It’s easy to overreact to negative responses, because they pack an emotional wallop. If you polled ten people, how many wrinkled noses did you really see? If it was only one or two, that’s pretty much inevitable with any unusual and strongly styled name. If it was eight or nine, it’s time to accept that your favorite name may cross the line from unconventional to unappealing, which isn’t fair to your child. In between you’ll have to weigh the tradeoffs, realizing that the more a name stands out, the stronger reactions to it will be, both good and bad.


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November 28, 2012 6:47 PM
By LuckyGuess (not verified)

Err, so the word "Fae" is an ancient one, a variation of "fey" which means "one who is fated to die" No go!

And Idabelle does, sadly, sound like a cow name.

Ramona could go either way and be an awesome name or a terrible one depending on if she has any peers who decide it's an awful and torment her for it. Personally -- I like it.

December 2, 2012 2:48 PM
By New nana (not verified)

Ramona sounds like an old school teacher wearing a wool suit w/ black clunky shoes & gray hair up n a bun. Sorry just my reaction. And I agree on the "moan" part. I'm blown away that so many like it! However i do like ida belle or ida fae. So go figure.

December 10, 2012 8:46 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Idabelle is a cute innocent name. It's so soft like a little angel's name. Keep it and forget how others feel about it. It's not common yet, it has a real nice sound to it. People are so hard and confusing. There are worst names out there. Yours is just right for a little girl.

February 16, 2013 4:05 PM
By Ramona (not verified)

I'm a Ramona, and I am constantly being told what a beautiful name it it. A hell of a lot better than Maude or Dagmar!

May 19, 2013 10:54 AM
By UFC 160 (not verified)

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July 5, 2013 6:24 AM
By keri (not verified)

It shouldn't matter what other people think. I got negative reactions when I was pregnant with my twin of whom I named Kasper. (His brother is Xavier. No sweat there apparantly...meh.) I love the name...especially with a K...andThe more catty remarks I got and the more snickers made me want to name him that all the more! They are 3 now and people seem to think Kasper is a cute name now. As long as you don't name the child Hitler I wouldn't fret.

July 11, 2014 12:17 AM
By hate (not verified)

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January 3, 2015 12:51 AM
By Iheartelwood (not verified)

It's the Fae! That's your issue, parent1. Listen to these:

Idabelle Paige
Idabelle Elizabeth
Idabelle Maria, etc.

Not such a bumpkin feel anymore.
Then again, how often are you using first/middle together?
Go for Idabelle Fae if you love it, and accept that most people will get a country feel from it. It's definitely unique!

January 3, 2015 8:23 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

It's a 3-year-old post. Responses to these particular parents are sort of past their sell-by date...

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