Ask the Name Lady

Ask Now

Help! He’s After My Name!

We had been trying for years to get pregnant and we finally did. My coworker and his wife got pregnant shortly after us. This coworker is super competitive -- I try to limit the baby talk as not to incite this part of him. One day, however, he came up behind me and announced that he and his wife have decided on a name. It is the exact name I had told other coworkers weeks before, and have been referring to my baby as this ever since-- same first, same middle! They had some other names picked prior that were very modern, whereas my chosen name (which is uncommon) is not. The middle name is a family name I had already told him we were using, regardless of the first.

I know he only told me in order to "claim" the name, but I have no idea how to react. Our baby is due three weeks before my theirs. Do I abandon the name I've fallen for or move on? How do I respond to him at work? I didn't know I had to claim my name in order for it to be valid.
- Cornered

You’ve called your coworker “competitive.” “Competitors” have the drive to take themselves to the top; “saboteurs” take more pleasure in sending others to the bottom. This fellow sounds like the latter. His sudden love for your favorite name – a name that’s not even his style – strikes me as more of an attempt to provoke you than a real baby name choice. If you did abandon your cherished favorite and named your daughter something else, I suspect he’d happily go back to one of the more modern names from his original list.

Don’t let him get your goat. You’ve chosen a lovely name for your daughter, and you should go ahead and enjoy it as you prepare for her arrival. As for how to respond to his little announcement, the answer is openly and lightheartedly. There’s no need to be defensive or stake your claim, because that claim is self-evident.

When you speak to colleagues who already knew the name you picked, feel free to relate “Competitive Pete’s” announcement, with a laugh: “Hey, did you hear that now Pete says he wants to name his daughter Minerva Clementine too? Pretty amazing coincidence, huh? Must be something in the water around here!” And if Pete himself brings it up again, you would be within your rights to say, “Wait a second, were you really serious about that? I assumed you were just playing with me because you knew that we had announced that name for our baby!” Then go ahead and give your daughter the name that’s right for you, and for her.

Comments

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

June 10, 2013 5:52 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Well said Name Lady!

Don't change your name just because of this guy.

June 10, 2013 7:11 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Definitely use the name you love - wouldn't it be horrible if you gave your daughter a different name, only for him and his wife to change their minds at the 11th hour and not even use your favourite name?!
If their daughter is born before yours (it happens) and they use it, maybe you need to rethink, but even then I don't think it's necessary. You're coworkers - there is nothing to say you will still be in contact with him in a few years!

June 11, 2013 6:16 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

How much contact will your child have with a co-worker's child anyway? I wouldn't give it a second thought.

June 11, 2013 9:59 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Who cares if it's the same name as a co-worker's kid? Unless you're close friends (and it sounds like certainly not), they're not people you have to worry about offending with that sort of thing. Heck, I have exactly the same first/middle name as a cousin who is a year younger than me. No one in the family was offended or upset by it, and now she and I view it as a nice connection.

Here's a semi-related situation: If I ever end up having a son, I plan to name him with exactly the same name as my boss (I'm his admin. assistant.) I bet this will seem weird to people ("Is she sucking up or is there something we don't know about their relationship??") but both first and middle names are classic, biblical names and would honor both my and my husband's fathers. So why would I care that it happens to be my boss's name too?

Name the kid what you want, especially if it is honoring family. Let your co-worker decide how far he wants to take his "competitiveness", and then show him up by just NOT CARING.

June 11, 2013 10:19 AM
By Allie (not verified)

Screw him. Chances are, he's just trying to get your goat (you said you told coworkers your name choice weeks earlier) and other chances are you won't even be working with this guy in a few years. It's your kid, name him whatever you want. On the list of people who get any kind of say in what to name your baby, a coworker you aren't even friends with ranks just above "total stranger" down at the bottom of the list.

June 11, 2013 12:03 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Will your kid ever hang out with his? If not, who cares if they have the same name? Also, if you chose it first AND your baby is due first, just do it. If they go with that name, they'll be copying you.

June 11, 2013 12:20 PM
By Beth (not verified)

"Name the kid what you want, especially if it is honoring family. Let your co-worker decide how far he wants to take his "competitiveness", and then show him up by just NOT CARING."

This is exactly right. Name your baby what you want to name your baby. It matters not at all what your co-worker does.

June 11, 2013 12:23 PM
By Ellie (not verified)

I fail to see the problem. Even if you're kids know each other, it won't be a big deal to them. Or at least no bigger than "how cool I it that we share a name?!"

Just ignore your coworker. If he brings it up say something like "I'm glad you like me so much you wanted to give our fighters the same name." He's looking for a reaction and that's not the one he's hoping for.

June 11, 2013 12:43 PM
By lothelena (not verified)

He's not even planning naming his kid your names. He's just messing with you because you're not talking about it with him. Use your name and don't think twice about it, or let him spoil it.

June 11, 2013 12:45 PM
By NW Mom (not verified)

Another way to see this - he sees you as infinitely cooler, or in some way having the upper hand. Own it, baby! By naming (or threatening to name) his CHILD the name you picked, he's revealed what little core there is in his own choices regarding something so significant. Why waste your time worrying about a copycat who is willing to give up his own ideas to follow you down such a personal path?

June 11, 2013 1:01 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

He's just a coworker.. I wouldn't let him influence the name of your daughter.. I agree with Name Lady.. Just laugh it off..

That is the reason I'm not sharing name choices or ideas with anyone before the baby is born.. I don't have the time or energy for the drama.

June 11, 2013 1:27 PM
By AngelaAiea (not verified)

This happened on the tv show The Office. Pam & Jim were going to name their baby Philip after Pam's grandfather. And then Angela announced that she was going to name her baby Philip... after her favorite cat.

In the end, both babies got the name Philip. And it was fine.

June 11, 2013 2:27 PM
By nedibes (not verified)

I have to wonder where this guy's wife is/what she's thinking. It may be no big deal to have a copycat use your special name, but I would think it would be pretty horrible to have someone choose a name for your child out of spite. What kind of story is that to tell your child? "Well, Minerva sounded beautiful and had a special meaning and Clementine is a family name...to this lady at work your father wanted to get one up on. Frankly, I would have much preferred Julie Ann."

A much kinder interpretation all the way around: Co-worker says to wife, "Hey, what do you think of Minerva Clementine? Pretty crazy, right?"
Wife: "Minerva Clementine? That's the most beautiful name I ever heard! It's perfect! You're so brilliant."
Hubby: "Uh, wait, I thought we'd settled on Julie A--"
Wife: "No, no, this baby is meant to be Minerva Clementine, I'm sure!"
Hubby: "But--"
Wife: "We agreed I'd have last say on the name, since I'm stuck on bed-rest for the next three months and then still have to go through labor, remember?"
Hubby: "(Gulp) OK, I guess Minerva Clementine it is."
Wife: "Don't forget to tell everyone at work. I'd hate for anyone to steal our perfect name!"

June 11, 2013 4:11 PM
By Kristy (not verified)

THIS EXACT THING HAPPENED TO ME!! WITH MY CRAZY MALE WORK STALKER! I had picked the name after much research, matching it with our name, I wanted it to start with a certain letter and it had to mean "God is gracious". You can imagine how ticked I was when he announced (after overhearing me tell the secretary the name in a whisper)that he was naming his baby boy MY NAME and they were due 8 weeks before me. There was nothing I could do. I went home and raged and cried and was angry for a very long time. I just thought this was the ultimate DON'T! I thought after he saw how upset I was, he would abandon my name, but no...he went ahead and named his son my name. My sis in law ended up picking a similar name with the same meaning, same letter that I ended up liking better. I could absolutely not use my first choice that he stole, because now I associated hostility and anger with my first choice. EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE told me not to let him get to me, to go ahead and use it, but they don't understand until they have had it done to them. It is just such a sleazy thing to do. He couldn't have picked his own name out of the millions out there??!! So, don't cave to the pressure...if you don't want to use it, don't. Pick a better name and have the last laugh. AND, don't ever and I mean ever, tell anyone your name that is expecting at the same time as you! I learned that the hard way. Good luck!!

June 11, 2013 4:34 PM
By Would Have Been Nicole (not verified)

PLEASE! Do not change your name. Even if that baby is born first.
My parents were in your similar quandry 34 years ago. I have never met that child who "took" my name.

June 11, 2013 6:01 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I'm with the previous poster who wondered where the wife is in all this.

I kinda doubt your co-worker's wife is going to be any less territorial about the name than you are. I doubt co-worker's wife is going to actually go through with naming the baby that if she knows it's your choice and you're due first.

Either way, don't worry about this. Name your kid your beloved name. If you like this guy as much as you say you do, your kid will probably never meet him. Or his offspring.

June 11, 2013 9:36 PM
By Juanaquena (not verified)

Definitely do not change your choice of names for your baby. If the competitive co-worker brings up the copied name choices again, say (rather loudly, so others can hear), in a teasing voice, "Oh, you big copy-cat!" Then turn and walk away. Is the co-worker's name J-e-r-k, by the way?

June 12, 2013 8:07 AM
By Tinkermoon (not verified)

A way to get ahead of this whole name stealing thing would be to just keep the name to yourself until after the baby is born. It also keeps others from giving you their opinion of the name and tainting it for you. Once the baby is here and named the majority of people will not say anything negative about your name choice.

June 13, 2013 8:03 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My sister-in-law did this to us when we were expecting our son three weeks before her. We ended up going with a different name because me husband didn't want to hurt her feelings. Ugh. She chose a different name and didn't think twice about what she did. Use it and love it. They can deal.

June 13, 2013 9:44 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree. think about his wife. I'd be shocked if the name you picked is anywhere on her radar. You said your name wasn't even the same style of name he had been talking about before. I have a hard time believing his wife is suddenly going to give up on the names she loves.

Name Lady is right, laugh it off like you just don't care. I'd bet money that once he sees he's not going to get a reaction out of you, he'll shut up about the whole thing. He'll probably suddenly come up with a new "favorite" (the one his wife already knew about). He'll either forget all about your name and will claim he never said he liked it, or he'll start being loudly negative about your name in another attempt to annoy you. Either way, he's going to look like a giant jackass. When that happens, just sit back and enjoy the show. :)

June 15, 2013 10:42 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

that's ridiculous. if they're baby is born before your's and they actually use the name, maybe you shouldn't. but really, you're only coworkers. it's not like you guys are related in any way. if you were related or closer outside of work, i would say someone needs to back out.

June 16, 2013 12:20 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree that you should use the name anyway. I disagree with the remarks suggested to you as these seem passive-agressive and transparent to me. Then the co-worker will know for sure that he got your goat. Sooner or later either he or you will move on from that workplace and you won't even think about him.

June 20, 2013 7:41 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My mom went through the same thing. She and my dad announced they were trying to get pregnant and all of a sudden my dad's sister was trying too. They both thought they were expecting girls and my mom told the family my parents had picked the name Heather. A week later my aunt announces she's going to name her daughter Heather too. My mom nearly killed her. It turned out they both had boys so it was a moot point. 5 years later my mom had her girl but couldn't get over the Heather debacle. I was Alison for 3 days before my parents settled on Jennifer. Some people just want to steal the joy of others. You can't help but be upset and I understand the negative association with using the name now but if it has family significance then its important to you. Use it anyway.

June 20, 2013 11:35 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

It sounds like he was making a joke to me. Besides, who cares? He could quit/get fired tomorrow and you'd probably never see him again. What a shame it would be to not use the name you chose because another coworker did.

Plenty of people who interact with each other have the same name. There are several names in my family that are used over and over. It is not a huge deal, no one thinks anyone is "stealing" (such a silly concept!).

July 2, 2013 9:19 PM
By moto62 (not verified)

Seven.

February 25, 2014 1:30 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Thanks everyone for their advice! I ended up naming her what I wanted to originally, but the topper to this debacle was his response after I had her. It was a complicated birth followed by a two week NICU stay. While in NICU, my coworker texts congrats me and then asks her name, repeatedly. Then starts to ask my other coworkers. Hounding them about it. Finally, one of my female coworkers went off on him and said how insensitive could he be with my baby in the NICU. He and his wife ended up naming their baby the original name and he hasn't mentioned this situation since (or apologized). I also had my baby three weeks before his. All in all, we both have happy (and healthy) babies and, I assume, both parties are happy with their name choices. This was too much drama for a soon-to-be mama!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.