Monday, May 10, 2010

What's in a name?

This came from a recent discussion with a FaceBook friend. Name has been changed.

Mya: And I like how you always (ALWAYS) say the name of person in your reply to this person!

Me: Yes I do mention peoples names as you say. I am not too sure why I do that. It has never been a conscious decision or thought out thing to do. I just do it Mya. Maybe you could help me and tell me what it feels like to get your name mentioned in a reply. Then I may know why I do it.

Mya: It's hard to believe you're not sure why you say other people's name. I thought you're doing this deliberately. I think by saying their name, you show them that you respect them, no matter who they are and what they do. I think it's a deeper type of respect. It's not just respect for something certain they've done, it's an acceptance of them as they are. And also you might intuitively feel that people like to hear their name and sometimes it has quite a strong effect. It's more direct and personal. It feels like by this you're saying "Yes. I'm talking to YOU". And if you go to the supermarket and on checkout say "Thank you Rebecca" instead of "Thank you" to the sales assistant, there's a high chance it will make her day! She might stop feeling being a part of a furniture for a while.

Me: Regarding saying people’s names Mya, you are the first person who has ever brought it up with me, so I have not really thought about it much before. It has just been a natural thing for me to do. As I think about it now if you say someones name they probably notice it more as you say with the shop assistant.



  1. Really? There are people who like being called by their name in every other sentence?

    Weird. I despise when people use my name. Whenever someone says my name, I think I have done something wrong. To preface, I am easily distracted.

    -When I am at school and my professor calls my name it's usually because they want me to answer a question that I don't know the answer to.
    -When I am at work and my boss says my name it's because I haven't done something right.
    -When I am at work and a customer say my name it's because they want to complain about something.
    -When I am with my friends and they say my name it's because they want me to do something.

    Thus, whenever anyone says my name for whatever reason, I automatically think I am going to be yelled at. It makes me uncomfortable.

    I am having a hard time understanding how people can like this. Do you feel important because the other person remembers/notices something about you?

  2. I haven't thought much about it before, Tony, but I see there's something to it.

    I wouldn't call a shop personel by name because it's not very appropriate here outside of Anglo-Saxon world

    In the internet reality I guess it's a sign of "I recognize you as a person" and my reaction would be sort of "I appreciate this recognition and I will try and be OK with you, more than if you consider me a bot" :)

  3. Hello Annalynn,

    I think there are people who do like being referred to by name but as you elequently note it is determined by ones past experiences.

    I know that if my mother used my name with a particular tone of voice I knew I was in trouble. So if someone used the same tone of voice today I may react the same way.

    I don't know that I felt important because Mya noticed this about me, but as I think now it is a bit of a positive stroke for me that she did. Maybe in the same way as using someone's name


  4. Since Mya mentioned it Zbig I too think there is something to it that I had not considered.

    maybe using the name puts things on a more personal level



  5. I do not like being called by name when I am speaking with others. And when I am in my therapy sessions, I never mention anyone's names. Sometimes when I meet a new person they will name names of everyone in their life, ie; "My husband Jim did xyz, my daughter Kate is abc." I am not like that at all. I have been making an effort to say people's names when I talk to my therapist lately, but I find it so difficult. I feel like it makes me more vulnerable for some reason.