Name Sage: We Agree on Nothing!

Name Sage: We Agree on Nothing!

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Sarah writes:

My husband and I are expecting a little girl this winter. She will be our first child and we are both overjoyed! However, finding a name for our little one has proved to be quite the challenge.

I’m that girl who had her children’s names picked when I was ten. My husband has other ideas. Who would ever have thought we could have such different taste!

I am in love with the name Ruby and have been for sometime. I would like to name our little girl Ruby Beth or Ruby Ann.

He has been suggesting names like Cheyenne, Sahara, and Sierra. These are not names I would even want to consider, as my tastes run more along the lines of old fashioned and simple.

Other names I like that he has nixed included Laura, Addison, Ryan, and Annabeth.

The only name we can come close to an agreement on would be to use Ann in some way in our daughter’s name.

At this point we are both at a loss and drowning in names that we cannot agree on! Any advice you can grant us would be such a great help!

The Name Sage replies:

This is such a common dilemma! But that doesn’t make it any easier when your due date is rapidly approaching and there’s still no agreement.

Your list reminds me that we don’t love names in neat categories. You’ve been willing to consider modern choices like Addison and Ryan, both of which seem very different from your preferred style. And your husband has been willing to abandon his exotic, unusual names for simple, classic Ann.

It’s a good sign that you’re both willing to compromise, but it’s also true that it won’t necessarily get you to The Name.

So let’s take a look at some approaches that might work:

First, you could use an elaboration of Ann.

Since you both agree on using some form of Ann, this seems like a natural place to start. Annika, Annelise, Annalisa, Annalee, Annarose, Mariana, Susannah, Johannah, Anina it’s a very long list!

Many of these are longer, more feminine choices. If he loves Sierra, Mariana doesn’t seem like such a stretch. And while it is probably much frillier than you would choose, Mariana has plenty of old-fashioned appeal.

Try to find the middle ground between your favorite names.

Take any two names and there’s a compromise. Midway between Cheyenne and Ruby might be Vivienne. Laura and Sahara make me think of Cassandra, Anastasia, or maybe Alexandra called Sasha?

Tip: our namehunter tool can be really helpful for trying to find the middle ground.

Focus on popularity.

Look for either a more familiar name that suits his style, or a less familiar name that feels more like your taste.

It seems like the names that you prefer are happily mainstream, while your husband favors something far less familiar. You could compromise by choosing a name that fits his general style, but is much more popular, like Top 100 choices Scarlett and Savannah.

Or perhaps he’d be happy with names that are more your style – if only they weren’t in the Top 100, something like Thea, Celine, or Sylvie. The names have history and tradition, but are relatively unusual today.

I do think that when you’re really stuck, it can be helpful to talk about the qualities you both prefer in names. Nickname-proof or nickname-rich? Long or short? Frilly or tailored? Popular, rare, or somewhere in between? While you won’t necessarily find a name that bridges your styles perfectly, it can be a good way to start creating a list.

From the names you’ve already considered, my top suggestions for you are Vivienne, which seems like your style but with a rhythm and sound he appreciates. Or maybe even Viviana, which incorporates Ann? My second thought is Savannah, a Top 100 staple that brings to mind Sahara and Sierra, but is familiar enough that it seems like it might satisfy you, too.

Readers, what would you suggest as a name for Sarah’s daughter? Do you have any great tips for compromising on a baby name decision?