Can you help this teenberry love her name?

Elaine, a young berry with what she feels to be an “old-lady name,” prefers to go by the sprightlier nickname, “Laney.” But she doesn’t love Laney either and so poses her dilemma to her fellow berries. Can she learn to love her name? Or is it time to start over with something new?  She writes:

“My name is Elaine. I’m 16 and have always hated it. I’ve gone by Laney for my entire life, but Elaine‘s still my name.

I want to love my name. Even from when I was little, I thought of Elaine as an old-lady name. I love that my name’s uncommon(ish) and do like Laney, but it just makes me sad sometimes.

I come on your site daily to check out name reviews. Sounds crazy, since I’m only 16 and definitely not expecting anytime soon. One day I just hope I’ll find some celebrity who named their child Elaine or maybe it somehow made a miraculous comeback. It frustrates me that my name won’t sound fresh until the 2040s. By that time I’ll be 45 years old!

Like I said, I want to love my name. I want advice more than ‘it’s your name: love it’ or ‘you go by Laney so it doesn’t matter.’ That’s the advice given to me by other forums and friends who clearly don’t have my problem with names like Hannah or Emily. I’ve felt this way for years. It’s not just a stage. I don’t know what to do!

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you could respond I would be greatly appreciative.”

What do you think, berries? How can Laney learn to love her name? Or can you think of another choice she might like better?

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66 Responses to “Can you help this teenberry love her name?”

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backtomyroots Says:

March 13th, 2012 at 11:27 pm

I really like Elaine! My husband and I considered naming our first child Elena ( very similar) But turned out to be a boy!

I love the nn. Lane as well. I think it has a tom boy appeal to it!

Since Helen, Helena, Eleanor and Elena are all becoming popular again I don’t see Elaine far behind!

Old Lady names are cool again! Enjoy it!

luweiaeclare Says:

March 13th, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Elaine is the name of the Lady of Shalott, it’s beautiful, mysterious, and classic, I really love it, and I am not just saying this, I wouldn’t lie. You should be glad that you have such a pretty name, and heck, maybe you’ll be the one to bring back this name, after people name their daughters after you! 🙂
sincerely, another teenberry

jenziejean Says:

March 13th, 2012 at 11:49 pm

You should love your name! I think it is wonderful. I am a Jennifer and I hated that so many people share my name and that I got confused with other Jennifers! You say that it is not a phase but it is. Once you get to college you’ll want to not get confused with everyone else and you’ll love your name! Just give it time, start going by Elaine, and you’ll reap the benefits.

alibaba Says:

March 13th, 2012 at 11:56 pm

After 16 years of NOT liking your name, it sounds like it may be time to try something new. Do you like your middle name? Or is there another name that you feel suits you better? You’re a couple of years away from college, which would be a great time to start fresh with a new name. I have a friend who really didn’t like her given name (and it sooo didn’t fit her) and she started going by a different name in college and then legally changed it as an adult. 16 years is a long time not to like your name and since it bothers you enough to write for advice so I say a change is in order! For the record, I like Elaine and LOVE Laney but it doesn’t matter what I think because it’s important that you love your name. 🙂

barefootcassandra Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 12:04 am

I think that with a change of attitude you would be happier. You should not have to have a celebrity use Elaine as a baby name to make you like it! Find a different nick name for it maybe.

How about Ella, Ellie, or Elle( pronounced L, like from Legally Blonde, Elle Woods).

Or go by your middle name?

rachelxoxo Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 12:12 am

I feel bad that you don’t like your name. I don’t want to be rude but you are stuck with that name so get over it. I guess I am being rude because I love that name and I want to name my child “Elaine” after my mom who just recently passed away. I would say respect your parents and you have a beautiful name. I am almost mad, you have such a wonderful name and you hate it?! It is just ungrateful and rude. You could have gotten a stupid/dumb name that is made up but you got blessed with “Elaine.” There is nothing anyone can say to MAKE you like your name.. That is all on you. I hope one day you respect what name you were born with!

PS. No matter how common or how often my name, “Rachel” gets misspelled, I will love my name; simply because that is the name I was blessed with. My mom picked my name and it is in the Bible and I would not change it for the world!


ElaineLea Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 12:18 am

Wow, I can’t believe there is another Elaine out there that is baby-name obsessed! I am Elaine too, but I’ve honestly enjoyed being Elaine. I’m 20, and the only other Elaine I ever met was at a nursing home, so I agree that it is an old lady name. But I think if you just think of the way it sounds, it is pretty nice. Some family members call me Laney, but I’m mostly Elaine. I think that you should love having an uncommon name. It has all the beautiful vowel and L sounds of many popular names. And it is in some King Arthur stories. But, I agree with alibaba that if you don’t like it, you should change it. College is a great time to change, either go permanently by Elaine or Laney or pick another name. Do you like Ellie? One of my friends calls me that… Anyway, best of luck!

peach Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 12:43 am

I too love Elaine as well as variations of it like Elaina, Elena, Helena. These names are classic, romantic, and very elegant to my mind. Laney and Elaine have very different sounds and feels to them though so I can see how, after being called Laney your whole life, Elaine doesn’t seem to fit you. I have gone through a stage of my life where I wasn’t thrilled with my name but I never felt it didn’t suit me. Changing your name is a big deal so I suggest you try out some new nicknames or alternate names for a while before changing your name permanently. Have you tried going back to the origin of your name Helen and looking for variations for ideas? Ella, Alaina, Eline, Lelya, Leni, Leana, Ena, Aili are just a few. What is your favorite name?

walshe44 Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 1:07 am

How about just Laine or Lane? Laina could be another option. Elle or Ainsley might be possible, though more of a stretch.

Like others, I think Elaine is great. And your friends named Hannah and Emily are probably sick of being one of many by their name in your age group.

LydSyl Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 1:56 am

I agree that Elaine is beautiful and mysterious, like the Lady of Shalott. But if you want to try another name, I also agree with the previous comment that college is a great time. You will be meeting new people who won’t have any problem with a “new” name. Ellie or Ella were my first thoughts as nicknames. What about spelling Laney as Lainey? What’s your middle name?

I personally tried to change my name – I thought Lydia Martin wasn’t the best stage name for a musician and tried to go by Lydie Martin instead. But, I just didn’t like it when people starting sending me business emails addressed to “Lydie.” Some family members call me that, but I couldn’t hang with strangers doing so. I’ve gone back to Lydia, and now that I’m thinking about getting married, I might just go by my first and middle name combo, Lydia Sylvia, rather than using my fiancee’s last name for my musical life. “Lydia Foy” is already a very famous transvestite in England, apparently!

Maybe your Elaine ennui could be resulting from too much nickname usage. What if you gave Laney a break for a while, since you’re not satisfied with it, and try really embracing and using Elaine? Sign your letters Elaine, and say “Hello, this is Elaine” on the phone.

My niece Georgiana really prefers Georgie now, as a teenager, but I think in the future she will appreciate the weight, grace and beauty of her full name.

holst Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 1:57 am

You can go with “Elainee”. I once knew a girl named “Elainee”.

It may seem excessive but it does fit your chosen nickname and it preserves your birthname.

Just a thought.

Cairo32 Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 2:40 am

I love your name!!! I wanted desperately to name my second daughter Elena (very similar!) but my husband vetoed it. In my heart she will always be Elena though!

I totally do NOT see Elaine as an “old lady name!”

Have you considered just going by “Laine?” When I think of Laine (or Lane) I think of Rory’s best friend on Gilmore Girls!
Or you could go by the popular “Elle” – not too far of a stretch from Elaine!

Otherwise, have you considered going by your middle name if that’s more acceptable to you?

Listen, growing up with the name Caroline, that was rough! Not only was it super long to spell (paired with my 10 letter German last name!) but nobody that I knew had my name! Why wasn’t I Jenny? Or Ashley? Over time though, I did grow to love my name. Who wants to be Jenny or Ashley when you can be unique?

I hope in time you do learn to love your name!

chicagochic4ever Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 4:05 am

I’m a fellow Elaine too, and I totally know what you’re going through! Just like ElaineLea, the only other Elaines I’ve met were old enough to tell me about WWII! Talk about not having a connection 🙂

My parents told me that they had originally thought about naming me Cassandra, but after watching The Graduate while my mom was about 8 months pregnant, they heard the name Elaine, and fell in love with it. (FYI – Elaine is the name of the girl that Dustin Hoffman falls in love with, and there’s a great scene in the movie when they’re at the church and he yells her name in front of everyone. My mom said that at that particular moment, I began kicking very strongly and she said she just “knew” that that was my name.)

I’m 22, and have gone through my fair share of hating my name. No one in class could ever spell it right, and whenever other kids would pass me notes in class, they said everything from “Eniale” to “Eliane,” so you can believe how much I wished I had a different name!

However, I remember watching an episode of Seinfeld when I was about 14 and realizing that the only woman on that show was named Elaine! I couldn’t believe it! In that moment, I realized that not only was my name attached to an enormously popular character, but that I could use that as a way to have people remember my name, like “Hi, I’m Elaine…you know, like the girl from Seinfeld?” Gets them every time!

So, while I know it might suck now, in time, I think you’ll really like your name. It might not be the most popular ever, but at least you’ll know that no matter what, you’ll probably be one of the only Elaines that anyone in your life will ever meet!

Hang in there, fellow Elaine! You can do it!

Samantha-Bianca Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 5:29 am

There was great article written on here by one of the writers about name changing and how she trialled several different names before one stuck. Actually, it might have been the excerpt from Camryn Manheim’s bio.
Why not just trial some names. Get some people around you who might support you to call you by a different name. If you don’t feel it, move on to another. Maybe you’ll find one that feels right, or maybe in the journey, you’ll find that Elaine really is you.

Either way, makes for a happy *insert new future name for the former Elaine here*!

Good luck. Be happy 🙂

erb2010 Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 6:23 am

It seems people with more unusual names like their names better as adults than they did as children. If you think there’s a chance of that then it would make sense to use a nn until Elaine starts to sound fresh to you. Elaine has a lot of trendy and current nns like Ella, Elle, and Ellie. You could also do Nell or Lana. Does your mn give you any options? I think Elaine will come back and it may happen sooner than you think. I guess it’s all relative but 45 isn’t that old!! I’m not saying that you should try to love your name at the moment but just want to see if any nns might work for now as you may very well love your name in the future (without having to try).

I happen to really like the name Elaine, which may be why I like the idea of using a nn for now and going back to it later. However, if you feel strongly about starting over with a different name, I think you should. College seems like a great time to start new if you can wait until then.

ashlie Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 6:23 am

I’m 21 & I don’t get the ‘old lady’ association with Elaine. It sounds young & very pretty to me. For nicknames you could always go bye Elle or Ellie.

aunt_ning Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 6:41 am

My name is Jeannie, definitly an old lady name, especially since I have a Great Aunt Jeannie. I never liked my names. My sisters are Amanda and Kristina and I always wondered why they got the pretty names. Then when I was about 16 or 17 I was at a birthday party for Great Aunt Jeannie and that was the first time I realized how much she loved that I was the only one out of probably 200 of us that was named for her. She took me around to everyone and said this is the one I told you about. I started to embrase my name then, realizing how much it ment to her. Maybe look thru History and find someone named Elaine that you admire and respect and everytime you think of your name think of her. Or even ask your parents why they chose your name, maybe there is a meaning behind it you dont know that can help you embrase it.

stephanelli Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 6:48 am

How about trying a different nickname like Ela or Ellie to give a new spin to your name.

kewitzler Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 7:49 am

I like this Arthurian -themed name. But you could add an “A” – Elaina or switch the middle vowels and make it Eliane.

namefan Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 8:23 am

Like others have said, I suggest trying out some other nicknames and see if you like one. By the way, I think that Elaine is a great name and I’d much rather be named that than Emily, Hannah, or anything else that is overused for your age group.

babiesK Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 8:44 am

I have a friend who has a one-year-old named Elaine. She often goes by Lainey too, but her full name is beautiful, classic, and strong. As some of the previous posters mentioned, Lane or Laine is a more adult nn if you just can’t do Elaine. I think it’s a name that will stand the test of time and, in my opinion, very preferable to whatever trendy names your classmates may have. Best of luck to you!

mermuse Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 9:04 am

Just think– you have an Arthurian name! It’s been a classic fair maiden for hundreds and hundreds of years!

Try saying it softly out loud when no one’s around. I think if you put a certain softness and accent to it, you will see the beauty in it. 🙂

Queenkasskaa Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 9:23 am

I know exactly how you feel. And I absolutely mean it. My parents “awarded” me the hideous name Kassia (Kuh-see-uh). Alot of people try to convince that it’s pretty and unique, but I really can’t convince myself to think that way. I go by the nickname Kassi, I name I much prefer and am rarely called Kassia with so many nickames: e.g. Kass Kass, Kass, Kassass, Kasizzle… yada yada. Many people think I dislike my name because at first glance hardly anyone can pronounce it-which happens to be part of it-but the odd time when someone does use my full name (like a teacher) I cringe. No joke, cold goes up my spine. I know this doesn’t work when people say this to me, but I honestly love the name Elaine. I have learned to love my name more now because it is in fact becoming more popular. When I read it off websites and read books (even with the C-stlying) I feel like maybe, just maybe my name isn’t so bad. And trust me, there are WAY more Elaine’s than Kassia’s in the world.

Lola Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 9:36 am

Sorry to hear you’re unhappy being Elaine! My name’s Laura and I’ve hated it for my entire life. I go by the nickname my little brother bestowed on me when he was 2 (and I was 4). Fast forward 40 years and I’m still Lola. Which works for me.
It’s a shame you can’t find something about your name or nickname that you can live with. I’d kill to have an uncommon classic like Elaine (which I fell in love with watching ‘Mr. Rogers’ as a little kid: Lady Elaine lived in the imaginary world with King Friday, the puppet). She was a real lady though. Beautiful. I wanted to be her when I was little!

I agree with those that have said ” go by your middle name, if you’ve got one & like it better than Elaine. But honestly, I’d just change my nickname to Elle and move on,going by Elle instead of Laney or Elaine. And when you’re 45? You’ll probablyy love your Elaine, because youu’ll hear it on lots of little girls and people will assume you’re younger than 45! 😀 Good luck!

mary97 Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 10:05 am

I hated my name as a child and teen. Now I like it very much. it wasn’t until college that i appreciated that it seemed different than the trendy michelle and heathers in class. Elaine might not be a popular name, but in reality it is a pretty name — just not yet ready to be revisited by the masses. you will like it much, much more as you age. try not to hate it, and instead find pride in the fact that your mom found it special just for you and instead of trying to change it like some celebrity trying to brand herself (ridiculous imo). have confidence in yourself and appreciate it for its lovely sound instead of for its lack of popularity. names are actually in the end just names in and out of fashion all the time. All the Taylors and Madisons out there are likely to envy your name some day for being more original and classy. Personally i would consider elaine a sort of semi classic and Laney is adorable!! So wait it out, you’ll love it as you get older and all your friends will think your parents made a great choice!

LisaJenise Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 10:23 am

Could there be a story behind your name? If you don’t know how you got the name Elaine, then ask your mom. Maybe whatever she tells you will help you to feel better about your name. Try seeing it through her eyes.

Alexia Mae Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 10:27 am

Hello Elaine!
When I look at the name Elaine, I actually think it looks beautiful, it’s similar to Eliana. I also love the meaning, “bright, shining one”. That’s a pretty awesome meaning. Laney is a cute nick name, too, and so is Elle.
Catherine Zeta Jones went by Elaina in Mask of Zoro, and her character was amazing. It just proves that a name doesn’t have to make you, you make a name. It does sound old-ladyish at first, but to the people who know you, “Elaine” is a bright, shining person.

TinaBina Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 10:28 am

You’re still young and your opinions will change a lot as you mature. Laney is a perfectly fine name if you can’t stomach Elaine. This is the names
Your parents gave you, at least you weren’t named Apple.

Elisabeth Rae Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 10:57 am

I have a friend named Jeanette who feels the same way about her name. She goes by Jen most of the time. Personally I like Jeanette but she feels it makes her sound middle-aged.

I do like Elaine, and as someone with an extremely popular born-in-the-80s-name, I certainly see the appear of it being uncommon amongst your age group.

However, I know it doesn’t feel great to dislike your name! I happen to adore Laney, too, I think it’s such a cute name. If you do want a change, I’d echo a previous poster’s advice about Ella, Ellie, or Elle. Also possibly Lena?

Elisabeth Rae Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 11:06 am

I also wanted to add that to me, Elaine goes with Janine, Colleen, and Maureen – sweet names that were popular a few decades ago but I still consider to be classic and sound nice. In fact I’ve actually considered naming my daughter Colleen, and Alaina, a variation of your own name 🙂

P.S. I want to also agree with Lane/Laine as a nickname suggestion. I think it’s great!

starophie Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 11:36 am

luweiaeclare said what i was going to!!! the lady of shalott is CLASSIC. ellie is the nickname of elaine (named for the LoS) in meg cabot’s book “avalon high” – so embrace it! laney is presh, and maybe elaine is something you’ll grow into. but honestly, my name is sophia and i hate it – i go by sophie. so maybe laney is your “real” name, if you get my meaning. teenberries unite!!! good luck <3

mamusia Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 11:52 am

There’s also an appealing contemporary namesake for Laney: Dr. Lanie Parish on the TV show Castle.

CrimsonCat Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 11:53 am

Do you like Delainey? I think it is a spunky name for a young girl and thought about naming my daughter this after an aunt Elaine. You could just start going by this and when you got older you might re-embrace Elaine. I know what it’s like not to like your name, that’s why I tried so hard to pick the perfect name for my daughter and later my son, but you know one day they may be telling me the same thing you are saying to your parents. Why did your parents name you Elaine? Do you know the story? What other names were they thinking? When my mom told me the other options I realized that the one she picked fit me best after all.I think you will love being different when you get older. Good luck and let us know what you decide to do.

ocklaa00 Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 11:54 am

I felt simliarly when I was a kid about my own name, which is Alice. When I was young in the 80s/90s, there were NO Alices at all save for people’s grandmothers and Alice Cooper. It was the name football coaches called players who needed to toughen up. I despised it. In the 80s, I wanted to be Christy or Christine, and in the 90s, I wanted to be Allison because everyone mistakenly called me that anyway. I tried Allie — it never stuck. Now, I’m 33 and suddenly Alice is having a comeback. I have a few friends in the US who have recently named their babies Alice and here in the UK where I now live, it’s so trendy and I get compliments on it all of the time. So I feel vindicated and have finally learned to love (okay, like) my name. I’m confident the same will be true of you, Elaine.

L in Boston Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 11:58 am

I do like Elaine, and I think it is definitely due for a comeback — with the tons of little Eloises out there (which I totally used to think was an old-lady name not that long ago!), I can almost guarantee that Elaine will be next. (And I agree with Lola: by the time you’re 45, people will probably assume you’re in your twenties — which may be positive or negative!) But seriously, I am also one who hated my unusual name as a kid/teen, and now I love it, and I think that’s pretty standard.

But okay, say you really want a change now. My feeling is that you go by Laney AND you like it, so you could keep that as your nickname (reduces confusion!)and work backwards. Possibilities would then include Elena, Helena (pron. hel-AIN-a, obvs.), Delaney, Alaina, Marlena, or just plain Lane or Laine.

linda Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Elaine/Laney–You’ve gotten such wonderful advice and suggestions here–we hope it’s helped! And we’d love to know what you think.

NameGoddess Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 12:36 pm

There are already a lot of suggestions on here, so instead of wading through all of them, I’m just going to give my input, as well as apologies for unintentionally copying anyone.

I think that Elaine is a BEAUTIFUL name! It has always sounded so romantic to me, because of the poem The Lady of Shallot. It’s strong, yet clearly feminine, and timeless. (Not to mention that you are ahead of the trend – I can definitely see this coming back into style with the Eleanors and Helens and Margarets.)

But if you want a nn to go with it, then first off, Laney is not the only choice! Ella, Ellie, Elle, Lia, Nell, there are plenty of other choices!

I totally understand not being in love with your name – I’m a sixteen year old named Sydney, and for the longest time, I hated it! I knew so many Sydneys (few of whom I actually liked) and even though my spelling is the “original” way for girls, it was constantly misspelled. However, I think you have to come to terms with what your name stands for – in my case, I was named after my grandfather, Sid. But I would kill for a name like Elaine, so unheard of in our generation that you can truly make it your own.

ariannew Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I know how you feel, Elaine! I think you have a very beautiful, timeless name. The same has been said to me about my own name, Arianne. I hated it growing up because it was misspelled, mispronounced, and I was shy. Having a name no one else has is hard for a shy kid, but you know what? I wouldn’t change it for the world now. I was about 18 when I decided I loved my name. I feel bad now for all the times I told my parents I hated my name and wished they had named me something more mainstream. I could tell it hurt my dad’s feelings and he would always look down and say “Well, I love your name. I think it’s beautiful.” I know it hurt him more than my mom because he is the one that chose it. I make a point now of every once in a while telling my dad how much I appreciate the beautiful name he chose for me.
I don’t have an “old-lady” name, so I don’t know how much that impacts how you feel about it, but I think it’s one of theose “So out it’s in” type of names, and I’m know there are many people who love your name. Maybe you just need a little more time to fall in love with it. Read the Lady of Shalott, if you haven’t already.
Sorry if you feel this isn’t very constructive advice. I think that in time you will love your name, though. Also, I’ll throw this out there just in case… I think I held onto the pretense of “hating” my name longer than necessary because it was easy, and a lot of other kids my age were saying they, too, “hated” their names. Don’t make the mistake of judging your name because others judge theirs. Find beauty in it. The name is yours, and so Elaine means whatever you are (sorry if that sounds weird…). Artistic, musical, dramatic, etc. Good luck!!

RMW Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 2:34 pm

If you don’t like your name, change it! I know it may sound extreme to some, but sometimes it’s what’s “right” for you. It’s definitely not a decision to be taken lightly. I was like you and hated my name since I was a child and since early elementary I knew I would change it when I grew up, which is what I did right after high school and before I went to college. Great decision!!!

Like I said, you shouldn’t take the decision lightly, consider other things, like other nicknames (El, Ella, Ellie, Lana) or, as mentioned by other posters, use your middle name! My name didn’t have nicknames and my middle name was a man’s and from the 18th century so I was kinda stuck.

If you do change it, try it out! I picked my new name when I was 13, tried it out until I was 18 to make sure it was right for me.

On a side note, when I went to summer camp there was a girl and her name was Alaina, nickname Laney and I have LOVED that nickname ever since. We are planning on starting to have children in a few years and Alaina/Elaina (called Laney) is definitely on the list.

Kyri Laina Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

In my screen name I even have a nickname: Laina!
Other nicknames:
Lai(like Lay or Lae)

You can also use your middle name or its variations.

Kyri Laina

shellezbellez Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 4:18 pm


I am a Jennifer, and I went through a phase where I HATED being one of so many and wanted to find a name that fit me better, so I get where you’re coming from. I also had a couple of friends who hated their names, and they just changed them when they went to college. I’ve made peace with being a Jennifer, and even fallen in love with the name, but I did find a separate name of my own, and am glad I did, because it helped me figure out who I really am. (Which sounds weird, but truthfully, names and naming are hugely important and have been throughout history, so it’s really not that weird to want to change one that doesn’t fit.)

Here is something I did. I am an online gamer, and when I started gaming, I told my online friends my name was Shelly (from my mn Michelle), just to try it out. I wasn’t craaaazy about Shelly, but I just wanted to see how being known as my mn/nn felt. I also went by the nn of my game name (which was a real name, not something silly) a lot, which ultimately felt very comfortable to me. In fact, there are people in my life who still refer to me by that name as opposed to my given name, and I like it. Even when I had to transfer my character and rename her, they still called me that name–and no other name feels right like it does (well, except my real name, which I came to terms with a long time ago).

You might try something like online gaming (like WoW) where you can experiment with people calling you a different name of your choosing before trying it out in the real world. One of my best friends also calls me by one of the names I used in a pen & paper rpg, too, because that character was sort of based on a darker time from my past and when I get in a certain mood, it still fits.

I would suggest finding a community like the gaming world and introducing yourself with a new name and see how you feel about it.

Another thing I did was write a story about a life I imagined living and gave the heroine a name that I loved. As I wrote it, it became apparent to me that the character was based on me and who I wanted to be, and the name (Kate) was one that seemed to really fit me for some reason. I found out my mom had shortlisted the names Catherine and Elizabeth before I was born, but hadn’t been able to use either of them because someone else used them first. (Elizabeth is another name I’ve always had an affinity for, which is weird.) You might try writing something like that and seeing what name fits your character. Or, ask your mom what the runners-up for your name were and see if one of them suits you better. DO you know how you got your name? If it’s in honor of someone, do you know that person? I would try to find out that kind of thing, too.

Best of luck to you in your search. Having a name that fits is important–and you’ll KNOW when you find the right one!

isabel_r Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 4:23 pm

I like Elaine a lot! Elena and Lena are two names that I absolutely love! I think your name’s a lot cooler than Hannah & Emily 🙂 Laney’s cute. You could always change your name or go by your mn. Gl with your dilemna!

rosierose Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I know a very stylish and sophisticated Canadian girl in NYC who models and is named Elaine. She’s about 25, and the only Elaine I know. She’s very beautiful, a bit aloof. I associate the name Elaine with her image.

Also, are you aware that everything ’90s is coming back into style right now? Elaine seems very ’90s to me, too, but in a Seinfeld way, not, like, Ashley or something.

I think it’s a great name and I think you can completely pull it off if you just wear it with confidence. I like it a lot more than Laney.

I prefer Elaine to Ellen, Elena, Eliana, Helen, Helena, or any of the other variants of Ellen that are out there.

I think you lucked out! It’s a great name.

jame1881 Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Elaine is an amazing name. Try prouncing it EE-lane to get rid of the old-lady feel. EE-lane sounds younger than i-LANE.

madellanlove Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 7:34 pm

I really do like the name Elaine, but if you don’t, there are a couple things you could do.
1) You could go by your middle name (if you have one and like it). My sister and my mom both did this. Margot and Carey fit them much more than Lorna and Phyllis.

2) You could go by a different name that you feel fits you. This might confuse people, but it might be worth it!

3) You could find some different nicknames for Elaine besides Laney. Some newly-chic nns include:
Mel (I have a friend, Eleanor, who chose this for herself, and Eleanor and Elaine seem similar)

4) You could also choose to go by a name that sounds like Elaine but might appeal to you more. That could include names like:

arianabelinda Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 8:34 pm

I can relate! My name, Ariana (like Arianne from an earlier post) was sooo uncommon growing up. No one could pronounce it, remember it — and I felt no one could remember me. After the Little Mermaid came out, people usually confused my name with Ariel. The other problem is that my nn Ari is a boy’s name in Jewish communities, and I have a ton of Jewish friends. So, they were always like — you have a boy’s name! So, I understand not liking your name. I suffered through it, and after college I even went by Amy as a telemarketer for a year. What a relief! People could spell and remember my name! Still, I was always Ari to friends and family… and now, I like it! I am one of the only adult Ariana’s I know, but now there a lots of little girls with my name, which I think is super cool. It’s so weird to hear my name in a supermarket, but a parent is calling some cute 5 year old. It happens quite a bit — divine! Change it temporarily if you like — to Elle or some variation. It might be refreshingly easy (like my Amy days). My mom thought her birth name Anne was too boring, and she legally changed her name to Ahnie as an adult. She LOVES her new name (even named my sister that, poor thing, lol. My sister goes by too many names, first name, mn, and nn Dee, confusing). You are who you are — what’s in a name?

GracePheiffer Says:

March 14th, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Elaine is not an old lady name.
Elaine is polished vintage. Elaine has the strength of Eleanor without the seriousness, the charm of Ella, without the trendiness.
Elaine is strong, rich, and has a melodic sound. Your name is beautiful and you should feel blessed.

shantiknight Says:

March 15th, 2012 at 12:05 am

I know a designer ( who is apprx. 28 named Laine, and I’ve always found it to be beautiful. Maybe just a slight change could find the happy medium between Elaine, which you feel is old-ladyish, and Laney, which could feel girlish. Laine is sleek, grown-up and pretty but not cutesy.

I also think exploring your middle name as an option is completely worthwhile. One of my best friends is Brittany Lynn— she grew up as Brittany and she was your age— 16— when she, like you, decided she’d had enough of not loving her name and not feeling like she identified with it. She made a very easy transition when she just told people, “Actually, I’m going by Lynn now.” She made the switch over the summer, so when she went back to school her current teachers didn’t have to “re-learn” her name. As far as I know, Lynn has never regretted her change.

Good luck, Elaine! I think you will find a name you feel more comfortable and content with.

shantiknight Says:

March 15th, 2012 at 12:06 am

also, I know a Layna. & I love the idea of exploring Helen-based names and cultural variations on your name.

alibaba Says:

March 15th, 2012 at 2:16 am

One more suggestion…if you do end up keeping your name have you thought of spicing up the spelling? I know an Elaine who changed the spelling of her name to Elayne and I have to admit that I think it kind of spices it up.

emstermeister Says:

March 15th, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Here’s a couple of perspectives for you- first of all, as a teacher of teenagers, I would be delighted to see Elaine on my class list. It’s an easily recognizable name, not one with three different kids with different spellings and possibly even genders (I currently have three Taylors, two are girls, on a boy, and I have a Kaci, a Kaycee, and a Casey, first two girls, last one a boy) to confuse me. Plus it’s obvious to pronounce- and I guarantee I will know your name faster!
Secondly, from a friend point of view, your name reminds me of a mid-20’s Eileen, similar to your name. Similarly to my teacher argument, I love that I don’t have to clarify *which* Eileen I’m talking about, plus she basically owns her name in my mind! If I see that name it makes me think immediately of her! Kind of neat to have that kind of name!
Best of luck in your name journey!

afmastro Says:

March 16th, 2012 at 4:07 pm

The fact that you are writing for advice on how to like your name, tells me you will like your name in time. You are just a bit uncomfortable with it, because at your age, you would rather fit in.

I suspect kids commonly hate their names. I specifically remember when I was only about 6 wondering if I only hated my name because I was so used to it that I had gotten bored with it. I suspected if my name was something else and I met someone with my name – Angela – I may actually like it.

As I got older, my only concern with my name is that it is too common among my generation. I would love to have a name that stood out – that I could own. Consider yourself lucky in that regard.

munro Says:

March 16th, 2012 at 9:13 pm

maybe you could go by something that may still sound familiar? Like Delaney, so Laney would still work?

munro Says:

March 16th, 2012 at 9:15 pm

or Leni? Lenni? Lenny?

linzybindi Says:

March 18th, 2012 at 6:35 am

I like Elle for a nickname. Very cute!

I know a sweet little 3 year old named Vanessa Elaine…it makes me love the name Elaine!

arunciblespoon Says:

April 5th, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Elaine has a great Arthurian damsel feel to it, she’s the grail bearer and mother to Galahad, a knight of King Arthur. Like someone mentioned it’s the name of the Lady of Shallot (Loreena McKennit has a song based on the poem) a magical, creative woman. There’s also the Lois Lane Superman connection.

It doesn’t feel old lady to me, it has a french sort of sound to it and a freshness which comes from the beautiful maidens of legend. It’s feminine without being frilly, elegant but not fussy.

I think most teenagers find grown up sounding names hard and end up resorting to nicknames because they don’t seem to ‘fit’,just be patient – one day you will want an elegant grown up sounding name and I think it will grow on you.

dawnofmichigan Says:

April 13th, 2012 at 10:17 am

I never liked my name while growing up…..its Dawn Marie. I like the name and I really like “Laney” & “Elle” like the model McPherson. I am very close to my mother and she named me. It helped me by finding out why and how she chose it. My mom had read it in a book and really liked it…thinking of my mother as a young pregnant woman dreaming of all the possibility my life would hold and how she thought it was the perfect name made me appreciate it.I still didn’t like it until my late 20s. I focused on pretty ways to make a cursive “D”; “E” IS VERY PRETTY. Of course do what makes you happy but I don’t think you should change it.

Also…just dream of a handsome young man whispering your name with an “I love you”….Elaine is so much better than something like “Apple” or “Piper”….and eventually it will be part of your family history.
I am a Mom now….and at this time in my life that’s the best name ever. As parents we do things we like or think is right at the time for our children. I like your name and am curious why your Mom chose it…maybe you are named after her favorite aunt or someone else that meant a lot to her. It might help you to learn about that person and their strengths or accomplishments (in context with women’s
struggles from that era.)
There may be a time when you might be having the same discussion with your daughter. Everything seems to last so long and be so important when you are a teenager. It is normal to want to fit in but somehow be unique…yet not “stick out”…think of it; what a fine line to walk….and a bit boring (only in retropsect)
Many things teens think are going to last forever do not; heartache; some friendships; you’re current idea of true love….your first name will always be your “first” name no matter what you decide your last name chnages if you want it to if you choose to marry.
Think of it
Its much more important “who you are” than the name you are called. And when old classmates recall good times and funny stories they won’t have to clarify which Anne or Laurie they are talking about…”Elaine was the greatest!”
Elaine’s story is up to you.

StrixOniro Says:

May 26th, 2012 at 9:50 am

I think Elaine is a beautiful name, and I’m not just saying that. If you’re tired of Laney, you could always use Ellie or Lana. You also might want to try your middle name. And don’t completely rule out the possibility of just going by Elaine. It sounds elegant and chic to me. I hope this helps, I’m not very experienced with nicknames, although I’d love to have one. (I’m twelve years old so almost all of my friends do)My name is Rebekah and sometimes I really don’t like it because I hate the sound of “Becky” or “Becca” and people always spell it wrong. My whole life everyone has called me Rebekah, so don’t feel like you can’t use your full first name.

June1070 Says:

June 9th, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I love Elaine. I think it’s beautiful, sophisticated. I also love vintage and throwback names though. My younger sister has a friend named Elaine (25 years old) that goes by Elaine. She is gorgeous and unique. So I think you can’t go wrong with Elaine, but I also love Elle and Laney. College is a fun time to reinvent yourself, so I agree with the others who have suggested making a change then.

sueprgrl79 Says:

July 25th, 2012 at 8:50 am

I have hated, well, disliked my name my whole life, and i am 33! So I can definitely relate. When you’re 16 and all of your friends have pretty names like Ashley, Jennifer, Jessica, etc. and here I am, Susan (nn Sue, obviously), I felt ashamed and self-conscious of my name. I even used to tell people my name was different, like Kate or Emily. I thought Susanna was slightly better but my parents would not let me go by it. Although it was appropriate for my grandparents to call me Suzy-Q. Go figure. Even better, my name means “Lily” and I’ll take that any day! But I don’t think I look like a Lily. I don’t think my name will ever be trendy. Imagine my horror when the only celebrity baby named Susan in recent history, was born to the “Pregnant Man”!!!! Anyway, I’m sorry you don’t like your name either, Elaine. Honestly, it’s not that bad but I agree that it’s not really 16-year old sounding. And when I hear the name Laney, I think of my 5 year old son’s friend who uses it as a nickname for Delaney, which I think is beautiful! My only suggestion is to change the spelling to Alaine. I think it’s lighter, not as harsh as the strong “E”. I think to boost your confidence it’s important to know that your friends should not be judging you by your name, that you are special in your own, unique way. Nobody cares what your name is, it’s about who you are as a person and how you treat others. And one day a guy is going to fall in love with you AND your name!

neemarita Says:

September 7th, 2012 at 11:58 pm

I’m an Elaine. I’m 26. I was named after my grandmother. After a stint of trying to go by Elle or Ellie, which didn’t work, I just stuck with the stand by nickname Lanie which I’ve been known as all my life. It’s boring but at least it’s not common, and the Arthurian legend is great.

emiranda13 Says:

November 9th, 2012 at 10:03 am

You will like “Elaine” when you turn 30. For now, “Ellie” is cute and young sounding.

ShannonDee Says:

January 25th, 2013 at 10:15 pm

I’ve tried changing my name around. I tried to go by my middle name (a commons one yet not common for first names). I couldn’t make it stick.

There are no real nicknames for my name. So I couldn’t comfortably go by a nick name. The ones people make up are not real names and usually sound like cutesy pet names.

And although I moved many times, I never could feel comfortable introducing myself as anything but my given name even when I had a fresh start and could choose an alias.

So, I’ve grown to just “be my name”.

I still don’t love my name. It is not feminine enough and there are boys named it. I hate that. I’m not Irish. Not at all. And I hate that people always ask or assume I am partly because of my very Irish name. But I can’t seem to see myself as anything else.

I do wish my parents never expressed regret in their name for me. I wish they loved it. My middle name is very common but in spite of that I love it because it came from my family and it means a lot to my mom. So it means a lot to me too. But because my first name was a momentary favorite with out more meaning I don’t prefer it.

I wanted to be a Heather, Elizabeth, Jennifer, or Catherine. Pretty feminine names you never mistake for a boy that do not sound common or plain and which have so many nick names, or in the case of Heather is just beautiful on its own.

So I know how Elaine feels.

ShannonDee Says:

January 25th, 2013 at 10:18 pm

That should read “but I can’t seem to see myself named anything else ”

And autocorrect added some errors in language.

ItzAshh Says:

April 4th, 2013 at 5:22 am

As an Ashley born in 1988, I always had about four or five other Ashley’s in my classes at school. My middle name is Nicole which is a very common middle name for Ashley’s at that time apparently. I hated being an Ashley when I was younger. And having to be “Ashley H.” Or even “Ashley N. H.” Or having to completely write out my first and last name as a young child (4th grade there were 5 other Ashley’s in my class. 3 of them were also Ashley Nicole’s and one of them was even an Ashley Nicole H.) talk about frustrating and annoying! I asked my mom why she would ever name me that and her answer was simply, “Because I liked Ashley or Nicole. Aunt Kathy said, “oh Ashley Nicole that’s beautiful!” I asked why she couldn’t give me a cool spelling like Ashleigh or Ashlee, or name me Ash Lee. “Because no one would ever get it right.” Which is true and for me having a very common name and people constantly getting it wrong would be even worse now that I look back. That said, my first friend growing up always called me Asher. Not quite sure why but I completely loved it. Once I entered my tweens/teens I was just Ash (until I got the nickname A2K from a teacher which has since stuck for all my friends from school). I even went by Nicole/Nicky/Nick when I switched schools. Now I’m just Ashley, and have since “made the name” not let the name make me which is something that will happen for you; it’s just a part of growing up and changing, and “creating/finding yourself.” I was always told to “create yourself not find yourself” by my mom which is advice I now can appreciate. Back then I just wanted a name as different and quirky as I was and Ashley Nicole didn’t fit. Now I’m just “Avila’s mom” or “A2K-I-mean-Ash” and so being just “Ashley” is ok now that I’m older.

But back to you and YOUR dilemma:
The name Elaine reminds me of my friend I had that I used to take horseback riding lessons with, and I always called her Ellie, her brother called her Lainey or Layna, while her dad called her E. (he and her bro were Jay so maybe that’s why. Lol). She now has a daughter named Eliana whom she calls Ellie or Ella sometimes. 🙂
Do you have any “off-beat” nicknames any friends or family members call (or ever called) you? As suggested, what about your middle name or a nickname of your middle name?

VeritySilver Says:

December 24th, 2013 at 11:02 am

I love the name Elaine! Still, I understand how you feel. I don’t really always like my name either. I’m also a teen berry. Ellie or Elle might work as a more modern nickname. You could also use your middle name. I know other people have similar suggestions, but I hope this helps. You could also go by Lane. It sounds sophisticated, but not too old fashioned.

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