How a Name Affects Our Personality
Although you rarely say it yourself, your name is more important than you can possibly imagine. It’s a core part of our identity, and many feel frustrated when someone just benignly mispronounces it, as if it was an intentional slight. This is because it is a part of who we are, much like our culture and heritage. Names have a way of shaping you and your experiences as similarly as external circumstances do in both positive and negative ways.
Expecting parents now have to think about how people will react to their child’s name and whether or not anyone’s self-esteem will be harmed in any way. What may be cute or funny now may not be so as children get older. Maybe you are one of those children stuck with an unconventional moniker and are ready for the change a new title can bring. Whatever the case, what you call yourself or your child has a bigger impact than most people think.
How a Name Affects Us
Names have a permanence to them that can make anyone feel trepidation about choosing one. Although people are able to change their names when they’re 16, by then whatever effects — good, bad, or neutral — have already happen. Children are exceptionally creative and can be exceptionally cruel as well. If a child’s name sounds different or comedic to others, unappealing nicknames can soon develop. Getting bullied — in person or online — produces self doubt, fear, and sorrow within people that can act as roadblocks to many amazing opportunities.
It was found that people named after places — such as London or Paris — were more likely to live in the places they were named after. Also, children with names starting with A, B, C, or D had grades to match. Research speculates as well that names that sound foreign or from a minority background may be picked less often for job interviews than the more popular names found in the United States — even when all the resumes had the same credentials and amount of experience.
However, there are also studies that contradict this finding, especially since organizations and businesses are now trying to employ a more diverse workforce. One thing the studies agree on, though, was that certain names did attract more call backs than others. Some names were just preferred more than others, even if they had the same ethnic origin. So even though these findings are a little unclear, one thing’s for sure: names have power and can affect people’s perception.
Reputations Linked to a Name
Certain names have certain connotations attached to them that have to be considered before making any selections. A name may have a special meaning to you, has ancestral roots, or you could just like the sound of it. However, names can affect first impressions just by the images connected with it.
Sometimes it’s no one’s fault their name runs afoul with someone. Maybe a person had a bad experience with a Steve, miring all Steves in that person’s eyes now. This is completely different, though, than sharing the name of an infamous criminal, for example.
If you do share your name with a nefarious character, most people will know this name and make unfair judgements against you because of your name association. Luckily, if someone takes the time to get to know you, these unjust presumptions will be replaced with a more accurate knowledge of your traits and personality.
Stereotypes and Assumptions
When everything’s said and done, we don’t really need any scientific studies to prove the importance of names. We’re given evidence to this every day. When we see or hear a name, we instantly start making presumptions about that person even though we’ve never met or talked with them before. We’ll assume what their ethnicity, age, occupation, personality, and even morals are. This can lead to some shock if we actually meet that person and — big surprise — they’re not who we imagined them to be.
Knowing how good we are at judging people, parents sometimes try to think of names that will elicit the least amount of speculation as possible, especially if a parent has experienced issues because of their name. They want their child to live the easiest life possible without any predeterminations, and they don’t want a unique or different name to get in the way of that.
Considerations Made Before Choosing a Name
You can see this with some immigrant families, when they change their name and their children’s to something more American to evade the discrimination social workers are helping to fight against. they face. However, other parents have the opposite idea; wanting their child’s name to stand out. They believe having an uncommon name will encourage confidence and help their child make lasting impressions on people as they grow up. Both schools of thought make strong points, but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.
A rose by any other description isn’t always as sweet. Names have been shown to influence how people see one another and may make certain opportunities more or less available because of it. There have been many studies that both confirm and contradict these theories. However, we can all agree a name is never just a name.
Amethyst Tagney is a freelancer who spends her time writing on a variety of topics. She is an avid learner and loves to share what she discovers. You can find her on Twitter @AmTagWrites