Do you ever feel like the more that someone talks about disliking a name, the more you like it?

My MIL keeps bringing up this woman from her work who named her son "Byron." She has brought it up on at least 5 separate occasions over the last 7 months, always with a smirk or a comment about the name.

My husband and I are not considering the name Byron for our future child, however the more that my MIL talks about it, the more I like it.

Have you ever been in a situation where someone's dislike for a name actually makes it more appealing to you? If so, what was the name?


PS -- Any suggestions for how to get my MIL to stop talking about names? I am so afraid that someday she's going to start smirking at a name that we DO want to use and then we'll feel like we can't use it anymore.


June 3, 2012 5:18 PM

I accidentally posted this twice and I don't know how to delete the other one. THIS is the one that I was trying to post, though. I didn't realze that "save" meant the same thing as "post" and so I saved and then changed my post and both of them got posted. My apologies. If anyone knows how I can delete that other post, I'd love some technical help for how to get rid of that one.

June 3, 2012 10:20 PM

I don't know if it I've ever liked a name after hearing someone else talk about their dislike for it; however, I do know that the more I hear a name the more I get used to it.  There are plenty of names that I hear a lot & will never like, but others do tend to grow on me.  

I can see why you would like the sound of Byron, it's traditional, literary, has a strong vowel, 2 syllables ending in N.  It has a lot of the elements of boys names that are popular right now.  

As for getting your MIL to stop talking about names-I can't help you there.  Sounds like she may have some NE tendancies and it's hard to get us to stop thinking/talking about names.  Next time she mentions Byron maybe you should throw out that you kind of like it.  It could make her a little more sensitive about being so vocal regarding her dislike for certain names and at the very least you might have a chance to find out more about why she doesn't care for Byron.

June 4, 2012 12:10 PM

Ha! I suppose you could even tell her that hearing her talk about the name so much, you've been surprised to find it growing on you. One possible outcome, sure, is that you maybe end up discussing what qualities you like in names, etc. - and perhaps even bonding as fellow Name Enthusiasts. Another is that she decides she'd better shut up about the names she hates in case you start liking them. :-)

How you approach this, I think, depends on your personalities and your relationship. I'd seriously consider saying something to her, in a relaxed but thoughtful tone, along the lines of, "I guess you have some strong opinions about names. I'm finding that I'm really reluctant to discuss the names I'm considering because I don't want the possibility that other people's negative reactions will intrude on this gift I'm looking forward to giving my baby. I know you'll love your grandkids whatever they end up being called - but in the meantime, I'd feel more comfortable hearing comments about names you like rather than names you dislike [or, not discussing names]." She probably doesn't want to make you anxious and likely has no idea her comments have that effect, so just pointing it out gently and non-judgmentally or asking her to stop, as a little favor to you, might be effective.

If you don't want to make it about you, I'd probably toss out a comment the next time she says something, like, "It's so interesting what a variety of influences and priorities families have in naming kids. I think it's pretty neat that my kids are going to grow up amidst the greatest diversity in names there's ever been." That should telegraph that you're not interested in being judgmental and that your own perspective and eventual naming taste may be different from hers.

Good luck!

June 4, 2012 4:42 PM

I can't help you in the MIL department but I do know that the more I hear a name the more I like it.  And FWIW, I've always found Byron super handsome and can't imagine someone snickering at it.  It seems like a pretty "safe" name to me.

June 4, 2012 7:39 PM

your mil will most likely bring up 'byron' again, since it has happened several times already. i would tell her, 'you know, i didn't expect to like that name so much, but each time you tell the story, it just grows on me."

June 4, 2012 8:08 PM

I have found the more I hear/talk about some names the more I like them. Ursula is a good example. Talking about it on this board over the last couple of years has made me like it a lot when I was so-so  on it to start with.

I also find if I hear of lots of little kids with a name I go off it. 

Re the MIL, tough one there but you could always ask her what kind of names she likes, just to get a take on her opinions. YOu might have some cross-over. If her taste is right off then try to avoid mentioning any names you like!

June 27, 2012 11:18 AM

I think that the more encounters someone has with a name, the more familiar it becomes, and thus, the better name it is. Even someone saying, "Byron. That's a bad name. Byron. Imagine a little boy named Byron. Terrible. Terrible name, Byron," will make us more familiar with the name, and thus more acceptable.

Here's an example. Consider the name Gax. No, it's not a real name, and in fact, Dr. Wattenberg herself said not to use it.

Now read a short story I wrote (scroll down to comment #20).

After reading the story, tell me: what is your opinion on the name Gax?

By Guest (not verified)
June 27, 2012 2:09 PM

I think there is no logical reason why your mother in law should stop talking about names, though she does sound annoying. I wish my mother in law would stop talking, period. But, alas. 

By hwar
June 29, 2012 10:38 PM

I've learned that it's never a good idea to talk baby names with relatives until we've actually chosen one for our actual baby. That's what we did with our first, and we were able to say, "This is what we ARE naming our baby." Nobody made a peep although I did find out later from my sister that my mom had been kind of taken aback by our choice. Well, she got used to it and I think she likes it now that it is part of the identity of her grandchild.  This time around, I made the mistake of asking her opinion on a few names (some of our favorites) and she HATED one of them...and now it's looking like the one we are going to pick. I know she'll get over it but it has made it hard for me to choose the name, even though I like it. So lesson learned: even tactful, nice relatives screw up in this department if you give them the opportunity.

The whole thing has also taught me to be more neutral on names when they are presented for MY opinion. If I really hate it, I say, "Who cares what I think! It's your child and your opinion is the most important. I don't want to influence your choice of the perfect name."  Otherwise I might say, "It's a great name. For me personally, it [doesn't really fit my naming style, makes me think of a kid I knew, reminds me of a book character, is hard to pronounce, etc], but I love hearing the name on other people's babies." Or something to that effect, where I can be honest while still respecting the fact that they might choose the name.

I think some of the above posters called it on the MIL situation. My MIL is pretty sensitive so I'd probably say something like, "That's an unusual choice! I can see why they picked it; it has a nice sound to it and fits in with modern baby names." That way I'd be acknowledging why she was mentioning it (it's unusual!) while not participating in the negative gossip angle. Another tactic would be to ask her why she finds that remarkable, so it can become about HER personal naming style and not about yours. Then you could turn the discussion to more of a NE/sociology angle rather than just a nosy co-worker big mouth situation.