QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Who do you talk to when you talk about names?

Baby Name Ideas


Today’s question is: where do you turn when discussing your name choices?  These days, when picking the perfect name can seem to be a minefield of do’s and don’ts, many if not most parents-in-waiting turn to others for guidance and opinions.  How about you?

— Is your partner your principal sounding board and if so is finding a name a primary topic of conversation?

— Do you talk about names with your friends (pregnant and not) – and how honest do you really want them to be?

— Do you find that talking with your family—especially those of the parental and grandparental generations—is trickier than talking to friends—and if so, why?

— Have you made virtual friends on message boards whose opinions you value?  Have you become part of an online community that has raised issues of interest to you and that you might not have considered before?  Have they helped you in arriving at a decision?

Tell us about your name community!

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26 Responses to “QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Who do you talk to when you talk about names?”

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Charlotte Vera Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 1:22 am

The internet is where I go for most of my name-related conversations. My husband and I discuss names when he’s interested, which isn’t nearly as often as I am. We tend to have fairly different tastes, so most of our discussions take the form of each of us trying to convince the other that their idea is a good one.

Ellabeth Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 2:14 am

Always online forums. I prefer the honesty that comes from anonymous responses – friends always seem inclined to be nice to your face but secretly hate the name! You get a lot more honesty online. I’ve discussed names with two friends (with whom I have a deadly honesty policy) but that’s it.

Another advantage of online forums is that the members often have an ongoing interest in naming, meanings and trends, and can often come up with unique, classic, lovely names that I might not have found otherwise.

Partner gets a say… but not much. 😀

Heather Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 7:59 am

I agree that the online message boards are helpful. I am not giving away my ideas to friends and family who might steal them or hate them, and I get advice from people who are up to date on the trends. Then I bring back my ideas to my husband, and we go from there.

Stella Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 8:10 am

I am probably the rare bird who has talked shop with every boyfriend since I was 14. Once they see my years of lists and multiple naming book new boyfriends eventually realize its just a game, not a trap! Part of the thrill of a new boyfriend has always been the new last name I get to play with! I especially like my current boyfriend’s name because we can pronounce it 2 ways.

My mother occasionally gets to look at my lists, but only to tell me the ones that she likes. No negative feedback allowed.

British American Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 8:42 am

I like to talk names with my husband, but he’s not especially interested in them – especially when we’re not actually expecting a baby. He preferred to wait to find out our child’s gender each time, so he only had to think about either boy names or girl names. I do randomly tell him names I like these days – he dislikes most of them though!

With our first child I didn’t discuss names with friends at all. With our second child I told a friend a few favourites. I’m not really sure how honest they were – they weren’t rude or mean about any of my choices. I since have new favourite names that I don’t plan on revealing any time soon – whether we need them or not.

I don’t talk names with family – they’re ‘too closely involved’ and I’d hate for them to dislike a name I liked before the baby was born. Family did give us a few unsolicited suggestions, but I didn’t take them. 😛

I do value the opinions and suggestions on a few naming blogs. I’m not sure if I’d seek their advice if needed in the future. If I did need a sounding board to bounce ideas off, it would certainly be anonymously online.

Lisa Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 9:38 am

Must agree that online is the easiest forum for honest opinions.

Husband is intermittently involved (moreso lately, since my due date just a week away).

Family only gets to hear our final decision, so, they don’t feel they get to say “are you sure?” or make faces…that happened last time when we let them in the game early. Plus with family, I find that their tastes are sooo different than mine–both due to the 100 year rule (older family see a lot of the names that are under revival as “grandma” names–our parents love those 1980s names that sound so dated now), and other differences due to age (young siblings in law) and where they live (fairly insulated smaller town, nothing wrong with that, just different than our urban setting)–they like both very common and cutesy-trendy names.

Fortunately, at least one set of parents does love our name pick, the others (small towners) don’t “get” it.

Joy Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 10:02 am

I go to my twin sister. We share some common naming interest plus she’s a name buff like me. She’s honest with my list and I’m honest with hers. If there is a name we both love were fighting for it.

My mom we try to bring her into the naming side of the world but we just can’t take her suggestions. Its amazing the names she comes up with. Then there is the fact that most of the names my sis and I bring to her she butchers up the pronounciation, so safe to say we don’t go to her too much.

I can always count on my sis to help me find a name. She always works around the clock on my taste.

Alyssa Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 10:32 am

–My husband is the main person, if not the only person I discuss names with. Since we are not pregnant right now he’s not all that interested, but he plays along.

–I don’t because most have pretty different taste from me and probably wouldn’t like my names (their kids are Kylie, Ethan, Emily, etc. All fine names but my fave. at the moment is Maxim, so…)

– Yeah, we cannot talk to family about names. Esp. with our son, who was the first grandchild on both side and every one wanted us to use family names.

– Nameberry is definitely my source for naming info. and opinions, trends, etc. I don’t do much with the message boards, but I probably would if I were pregnant.

Joan Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 10:32 am

My husband and I are always trying out new names on each other for “Baby Number Two” even though we’re not expecting right now. Online naming communities (Nameberry, in particular!) were really influential in the naming of my daughter. I tend to get a short list, or a list of considerations, compiled with my husband and then ask for advice online. I also talk to my mother about it–although with my daughter this backfired, because my mom loved the first name we thought of so much that she didn’t want to discuss it any more after that!

Bella Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 10:43 am

Mum’s the word for me~ pun intended.

My mother will hear if I think she will love the name, but she has a way, she’s not agressive, or mean, but when she doesn’t like something the value of the name, or new dress for that matter begins to fade, where-as if she loves it, it becomes so much more special.

Boyfriend knows I love names, but gets no say; he agrees.

Meredith Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 10:46 am

We are currently expecting two. At first, I only talked to my husband until I realized he really wasn’t that interested and said no to most of what I liked. Once we found out the sex, he was ready to talk and got in on the conversation. I hear this is the case with most men.

I have a couple friends that I can talk to about names. They are the ones who are progressive and keep up with what’s going on in the name world. They are honest but also kind. My best friend made a face when I mentioned one of the names we are now going with early on. We haven’t discussed it since. She told me she liked another name better and then said I should keep it a surprise. I guess she just won’t like the names…

I find discussing it with family difficult, especially the older generation. They all want to know what we are thinking for names, but really they just all want is to give us their opinions. I usually just respond to their questions by asking them what names they like. I never have to tell them anything and they go on forever. The older generation is a little tricky because they don’t really like the names that are in now, or they want to push family names that we would never use. They also have no problem saying how much they dislike a name. My father-in-law keeps suggesting Irene for his mother and really thinks we might use it! When I told my grandmother I was having 2 girls, she asked me if it had been verified yet. I can only imagine if I told her the names before they were born. She would probably ask me if that was negotiable and tell me what she thinks I should name them. I just tell them all I am open to suggestions, but not to be offended if we don’t choose “their” name.

I wish I could talk to my sister! We are expecting at the same time and I would love to talk names but she is one that keeps the name under lock and key until the baby is out. It’s also kind of fun because it’s a total surprise.

Other pregnancy websites are fun for naming opinions, but I find the participants tend to be a little too conventional and don’t like very much that’s different. They like to suggest the names in the Top 20. 🙂 Nameberry boards are great because I get real valuable opinions and amazing suggestions. This was especially helpful when trying to find twin girl names that go together but don’t match! Loved the online advice from the board users.

braveangel2 Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 12:26 pm

I like message boards (The Bump) and Name Berry for general name discussion. However, if I’m actually pregnant then my guy and I talk about it. If we’re stuck, he’ll usually suggest I go to the boards and see what people think.

Taffy Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 1:04 pm is a great place to discuss names with knowledgeable people.

Boston Girl Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 1:10 pm

I talk to my fiancé, but not too much. Still working on creating the baby! 🙂 Otherwise I don’t really talk to anyone, because my taste in names is *totally* different from just about everyone else’s I know or have heard of. Especially online…everyone is always into the trendy or hot names that I just plain don’t like and would never consider. My taste runs to names that everyone now thinks are “uncool”. So there’s not much point in my talking to anyone about my ideas…

olivegreen Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 1:39 pm

When I was a little girl I drove my entire family crazy with my lists of names. I would make lists, then have them mark their favorites, only to do the exact same thing a few weeks later (having not taken their opinions into account one bit). I think I have a slight OCD bent 😉

These days I primarily use Nameberry to get my name discussion fix. For whatever reason, I find the message boards here to be the most helpful and fun. I do bug my husband now and then. He was actually really interested in discussing names when I was pregnant. But he doesn’t think it should be a topic of conversation again until I’m preggo with #2. I’ll discuss names with pregnant friends if they bring it up. And I have a few friends that are almost as obsessed as I am. But I sometimes think that discussing names at social gatherings should be handled as gingerly as discussing religion or politics. It can be a very sensitive topic. For that reason, I generally find it easier to let my guard down online, with my fellow name freaks 🙂

Emmy Jo Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 2:18 pm

My husband and I do talk about baby names from time to time. It was a major topic of conversation when I was pregnant, and now we’ll still occasionally discuss what we might want to name the next one when another comes along. He’s not really “into” names, though, but luckily our taste is pretty similar.

Now that I’m a mom, I find it’s easier to discuss name choices with my mommy friends without them just thinking I’m a name-obsessed nut. It’s a great topic when you get together for play dates. “How did you pick your son’s name? Did you guys have a girls’ name picked out, too? Any discussion of what you might want to name the next one?”

As far as family goes, I talk about names mostly with my sister, as her taste is pretty similar to mine. My mom didn’t like my choices at first (mainly because they seemed too “old”), but once I explained that such names were coming back in style, she actually started loving them! My husband’s family is okay with our choices, but I don’t think they’re what they would have picked. His parents are polite about any names we bring up, though. I enjoyed being able to discuss our name choices with our family. Since we were the first to have a baby, I especially wanted to make sure we weren’t inadvertently stealing any names our siblings had their hearts set on.

I’ve primarily used two online communities for name input. The first is the Yahoo! Answers Baby Names section. Even though everyone there doesn’t have such “refined” taste, I’ve built up a good network of contacts who do. The second online community I’ve used is the blogging community that centers around Abby’s Appellation Mountain. I was writing my own name blog for a while (starting right before we found out we were expecting), and I got great input from people there, but I’ve been too busy to keep it up since my son was born.

linda Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Hey, Emmy Jo–What about nameberry??

Becca Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 3:35 pm

I talk to my hubby about it but he doesn’t like to cause we are not preggers yet. So I try not to talk to him very much about it anymore. But when we have kids he will talk more about it.

I talk to my mom and sister about names too. My sis and I have dibs on certain names that each other can’t use. Which it works out really well.

I would like for them to be honest but at the same time worried about thr honest opinions.

I deffinitly love talking about names online because you get peoples honest opinions and if I don’t agree then it’s not so bad because I don’t know these people.

Emmy Jo Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Linda — I try to read the Nameberry blogs regularly, and I do like to look up names here, but I’ve only occasionally gone to the message boards. I guess I don’t feel as much a part of this community since I don’t really know the regulars and don’t think they know me. And with a new baby on my hands, my time to spend online is greatly reduced. Speaking of which, I should go take Julius outside to play in his pool. Have a great day! 🙂

Kelly Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 5:53 pm

i talk about names with my family alot. i’m not pregnant right now but names are popping up in my head all the time. my husband isn’t really interested in the whole name thing so i don’t usually talk to him. most of the time my family looks at me like i’m nuts when i talk about some of the names i like, but they give there honest opinions. they also offer up names that they like (sometimes whether i like it or not) 🙂 but they are great listeners.

smismar Says:

June 23rd, 2010 at 11:15 pm

My husband is only interested if there’s an impending baby to name. My sister has a vastly different style than me. And my mother and MIL only give negative feedback… so I turn to name forums. The rest of those around me don’t seem to appreciate or understand my love of names.

I have a couple friends due by the end of the summer and it’s killing me that they both refuse to discuss names.

abbey Says:

June 24th, 2010 at 6:47 am

I talk to my mum – she the one I inherited my name obsession from! She adores both my son’s names but didn’t love the girl name we had picked if son #2 had been a girl. I was ok with that as it was a name my husband loved 🙂

No-one else I know really cares about names all that much.

peach Says:

June 24th, 2010 at 4:22 pm

I will talk about names with just about anyone. My husband is usually the first one I go to with new ideas because if he has bad associations with a name I want to know it and move on right away. He comes up with good ideas too. His interest in and knowledge of names has definitely improved since we have been married. Nameberry has certainly been a part of that. He will also sometimes look though name books with me: we discuss briefly any name that jumps out to their of us and may add it to our ongoing list to consider it. Names, like many things, tend to grow or dissolve in appeal over time.

Which is also why I’ve publicized most of our top names to friends and family, although we are not expecting, and invited them to give feedback. The first time I mentioned one of my favorite first name for a girl to my mom she went “eeewww” but a few months later she decided she really likes it! I’ve also let friends and family vote using an online poll so they don’t have to tell me directly whether they like a particular name or not but I can get an overall sense of how each name is viewed. I take into consideration their opinions but know that the decision is mine and my husband’s to make.

I can have in depth conversations about names with only my best friends, who will give me honest opinions. Friends who are expecting sometimes ask me for ideas, which I’m glad to provide, but I never have expectations about their reaction. Online forums are great for generating ideas and getting general opinions but only your family and friends can provide feedback based on knowing you well, which is invaluable to me.

Janel Says:

June 27th, 2010 at 6:12 pm

I talk to my older sister when I want to talk about names. She and I are both name finatics (I hope I got that word right), and our tastes are unique, but almost similar. We can spend hours (maybe I’m exagerating) discussing our new favorites, and pairing them together. I really am glad she can appreciate it.
I sometimes talk to friends about the names I like, but many don’t like my tastes (Desily, Darcy, and Bronte for girls? They don’t like the idea), or their tastes don’t suite me. But that’s fine because I still have my name buddy.

Kaitlyn Says:

June 30th, 2010 at 10:49 am

I’m only 17, so talking to family is out (aside from the occasional mention to my mom), because they don’t understand that it’s just for fun. The internet (99% of the time Nameberry!) is my fav place to go. I can read the articles and talk with members who don’t care how old I am- they love names too and totally understand that for now it’s only a hobby.

Sunshinetina Says:

July 7th, 2010 at 11:29 pm

Once hubby and I decided to name after family that had gone before us, the choice of first name was easy. For our first daughter at least.
Our second child (which I swore was going to be a boy) was a lot harder. Not because we had run out of namesakes, but because we had a lot, and we couldn’t decide.
We took our top names, and came here to see what you, fellow berrys, liked, one girl name, one boy name. The winner stuck, and we couldn’t be happier.

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