Sunday, August 29, 2010

You Think You Know Someone

Have you ever met someone and they introduce their self to you as such-and-such? You get to know them and hang out and they are always such-and-such. Months go by and you and such-and-such become great friends, very close even. Then you meet their immediate family or someone even closer to them than you are and they all call him so-and-so. This is very disheartening because you are taken off guard, like you thought you knew them so well but apparently the closest people in the world call your special, close friend something totally different than you do. This is not cool.

This happens all of the time to me. I dated a guy that when I met him, told me to call him *Robert. That's not really his name. We dated for a year and I always called him Robert. He signed Robert to all of his checks and emails; he was a Robert. Then I met his family and they all called him *Bobby. Not really, but in the rare event he ever found my blog I don't want him to think that I wrote about him. This was not cool. Not only did they call him a completely different name than I ever was told to call him, they looked at me like I was crazy for calling him Robert. I tried to call him Bobby but it felt too weird. He was never a Bobby to me. Plus after a year of dating and calling him Robert I couldn't just turn him into a Bobby in my head. It didn't make sense.

I've known JD for 11 years. His name is not short for anything, it's just letter "J" and letter "D." All of his friends call him JD and he has always called himself JD. Simple, right? No way to mix him up with a Dan or a Mark. When I first got to know his family, they all called him Birdie or Jay. How could this keep happening to me??? I felt like such an outsider because the closest people in his life have a completely different name for him.

Finding stuff like this out about people feels like there's a club that I'm not apart of. Like a secret name club that everyone but me gets to be in. They sit around and make up cutesy nicknames of the people that I meet and after a year or more of calling them one name, I learn that they are called something completely different. After knowing someone as a certain name, it's just weird trying to call them something else. Maybe if someone told me a month after meeting JD that his mom and dad call him Jay I would be able to call him that too. I just can't. He's a JD to me.

You wouldn't believe how many people (strangers are the worst) want to call Beatrice something else. Maybe because it's such a big name for such a tiny girl? Every now and then she is Beba, but mostly she is plain ol' Beatrice. Not Bea, not B. Just Beatrice. We love her name and don't want to shorten it. Plus I don't want to be the only one calling her Beatrice while everyone else in the secret club call her Triss or something.

I think my problem with this all too common phenomenon with the people in my life boils down to insecurity. I suppose it makes me insecure to think that people don't want me to call them the nickname everyone close to them calls them. I am named Alyson but go by Aly. Every time I meet someone, I tell them to call me Aly. No one calls me Al or Alyson or Alywicous (except my father-in-law which I think is awesome). I'm an Aly and that's what everyone calls me. I never had a nickname. Maybe that's why I don't understand. And maybe that's why I don't like nicknames. I don't like being an outsider.


  1. I went through the same thing with Samantha Jane at first. Granted, a lot of it had to do with hormones i think :) I put my foot down (stomped it would probably be more accurate) that we were naming her Samantha Jane and that's what everyone would call her. I even went so far as to circle the "Jane" at the doctor's office when the receptionist called her Samantha like 3 times in our 2 minute time together. THAT had to be hormones doing the circling. But think long and hard about that name. It has a connotation, a personality, a purpose. (I think I just wrote the equivalent of a blog post on your comments page!! It's a sore subject with me- did ya notice?!?) Now, I'm ashamed to admit, we call her everything....Sammy J, Sam, Sama Jane (that's how she pronounces it).

  2. That's how I feel exactly! I get a little too defensive about Beatrice being shortened! I don't like it at all.