Help In Deciding Whether To Change My Name? If So What Kind Of Name Should I Pick? Ideas? Comments? Experiences?

Hello everyone I am thinking about changing my first name. At the moment my first name is Laura. I have no middle name/names. My parents didn't give me one. I am in my early twenties so have the option if I want to. My main language is English but can speak some French.

The reason I want to change my first name is because I have never felt like a Laura if you get what I mean? It is very popular where I live and growing up I was always Laura A. I was always one of many Laura's in my class. No nicknames were given to me. My parents never liked nicknames and so they didn't allow people to call me anything other than Laura unless of course it was a term of endearment (which was reserved for family only). The name Laura I feel does not reflect who I am on the inside. Also even if this may sound crazy but I feel a name gives people confidence. I don't feel the name Laura gives me confidence. I guess you could say I want a name that gives me confidence in myself and gives me self respect. I know a new name won't cure my confidence issues completely but I feel it will help.

The problem I have is I have no idea what to change my name to if I do decide to change my name. I have many names that I like but not sure if I would actually use the name for myself or even my future children if I am lucky to have some.

So people of this great community I wonder if you can answer some of these questions for me.

Q) How did you or someone you know whom have change their name experience their name change? Did they after a time still feel free happy with their decision or did they regret it?

Q) Did your your/their family support them when either you or when they changed their name? Did they call you or them by your/their new name or did call you/them by their old name?

Q) What do you think in general in someone changing their first name? Do you think they should if they want to or should they just stick with the name their parents gave them?

What I would want in a name is something that is unique enough so there won't be people named this everywhere I go. However I don't want a made up kind of name so people won't know how to pronounce it or spell it. Very popular names are out for me even if I do adore some of these names as they are to common. I have nothing against common or popular names as they are very pretty but I want my name to stand out as well as help me stand out from he crowd. I want my name to catch peoples attention and not put me in another crowd of Laura's for example.

If after you have read all of that (if you can read that far from my rambling) what kind of names do you think I should be looking at?

Any experiences and comments are welcome. Any help appreciated.

Thanks for reading.


August 14, 2013 1:24 PM

1) My husband went by a nickname that had nothing to do with his first name online in high school and when he went off to college just introduced himself as that nickname. When we married, the state we're in allows one free name change. He contemplated adopting it permanently, but chose to make it a second middle name and now goes by first initial nickname turned middle name that he goes by. He's never regretted it, although his family refuses to call him by that name.

2) His family did not. Although after 20 years, they now do not make faces when I call him the new name. They still call him by the old name. This accounts for a total of 8 people.

3) I think there should be a good reason for the change, and the person should be fully committed to the decision or there could be regret. In my husband's case it was a breaking with his family and a new identity that wasn't tied in with some very difficult things from his childhood. In addition, it was a name bestowed upon him by his peers that he embraced. We had both names on the wedding invite as friends and colleagues from college on would have had no clue who it was by his original name while friends and family from before would have had no clue if we had just used the new name.

In your case, I would think it would be a good compromise to adopt a new name and keep Laura as a middle name (or vice versa and just go by the new middle name) since you don't have one currently. 

Have you thoughts on any names you are drawn to? Is there a meaning that you are looking for? A family name you have always admired?

August 14, 2013 4:58 PM

My husband changed his name when he went to college. He never liked his first name and says he felt that it didn't fit him well. He chose to go by his grandfather's name. His family mostly now calls him by his new name (it's been 25 years at least) but will revert to his original name upon occasion, especially when talking about him in childhood (which makes sense as that was his name then). His mom is the lone holdout. She doesn't make an issue of it, but just stubbornly calls him by the name she gave him. He has never regretted the change and feels that his new name represents him and is a nice tribute to his grandfather, with whom he was very close.

My husband didn't change his name legally, but no one calls him by his given name (except telemarketers) and most people have no idea that it's not his legal name.

August 14, 2013 6:48 PM

Well names I like but not sure if I would use. Maybe as a middle name for either myself or my daughters, (not yet born). I have listed all names I like even of they are popular. That way you can get a feel for names I like and then will find it easier to suggest names that are similar but that popular.

Naomi - meaning pleaseantness. 

Athena - meaning wisdom.

Clara - meaning bright or clear.

Lilia - meaning lily.

Liliana - means lily.

Renee - meaning reborn.

Seren - meaning star.

Ayla - meaning moon or oak tree.

Elowen - meaning elm tree.

Chloe - meaning green shoot.

Phoebe - meaning bright or pure.

Aurora - meaning dawn.

Selene/Selena - meaning moon.

Esme - meaning love.

Odette - meaning wealth.

Bryony - meaning vine.

Amabel - meaning loveable, amiable

Serena - meaning serene.

Charlotte - meaning free man or warrior.

Eleanor - meaning noble.

Adele - meaning noble.

Amelie - meaning hardworking.

Luna - meaning moon.

Noelle - meaning life.

Elena - meaning light.

Aurelie - meaning golden.

Melody - meaning song.

Names that I can not use for multiple reasons eg. family members names etc. (Please note I may like some of these names as some I do not. This list is just for reference only and I can not use these names or any variants as first names).



























August 15, 2013 3:22 PM

While I don't know anyone personally who has changed their name, I do have some general name-changing advice that's come up many times over.

If the stats are available in your country, find the list of the top names of the year you were born. If you're American, the SSA has a zip file you can download for free that has all the names given to 5 or more babies from 1880 to 2012. This is a great place to start, because while you want a name that is different enough to separate you from the crowd you've been lumped into, you still want to have a name that makes sense for someone your age. You especially want to avoid names that are really trendy for babies and children now, because that's just going to put you in a different giant lump of people (Oh, that's my niece's/cousin's/best friend's daughter's name, etc.)

Once you've made a list of names that make sense for your generation and aren't popular in the current naming landscape, try them out. When the barista at Starbucks asks your name, try out one of the new names. There are so many little opportunities where you'll need to tell someone your name that you'll never see again, so take advantage of them. Practice in front of a mirror, saying "Hi, I'm _____, nice to meet you" with various names. Give some names a trial period, where for a few days or a week, ask your friends to only call you that name, so you get used to hearing other people say it. Write your new signatures over and over. The ones you feel the most comfortable saying, writing, and hearing will start to make themselves known to you.

Good luck, and I hope you find a name that feels more like you.

March 20, 2014 1:44 PM

People should be free to name themselves whatever they wish. I never liked my original name (which was very popular in both Britain and America at the time I was born) so I renamed myself after a person in the public eye I greatly admire.

By mk
August 16, 2013 2:33 AM

I've known two people who have changed their first names. Both actually had the same name, Jennifer, but wanted something less common. One of the Jennifers changed her last name as well, to her mother's maiden name. They still have some people forget and call them Jennifer, which sometimes causes confusion when they are also with people who met them post-Jennifer, but people can adjust.

I think people have every right to change their own names. I say choose a name you like, and don't worry too much about generation-fit or popularity. Though you may want to stay away from names that would not have been around at all when you were born (like Madison) to avoid having many questions.


August 17, 2013 1:26 PM

 I have been doing some more research into the name Laura and I have come up some more unusal variants if the name. Please let me know what you think of these names and the names above. Thanks






Laureen - pronounced Law ree n

August 19, 2013 8:36 AM

My favorite is Laurel. Do any of these names speak to you? If so, it seems like it would be a much easier transition!

October 6, 2013 3:14 PM

I love the name Laurel as in Laurel Oak Trees.  It's an earthy, nature, hippy name...  similar, yet very different to the name you currently have.

March 28, 2014 1:23 PM

Oh my goodness! I'm going through the same things you are! Just this past four months I have changed what I call myself from "Bethany" to "Gwen". I'm doing it for similar reasons. This might seem strange to you but when I am called "Bethany" I feel like a powerless child, but I feel so happy when I am called "Gwen".

Q1: so far I am happy! I really love the name Gwen, I love the way it looks, sounds, and makes me feel empowered. The only time I doubt myself is when my parents attempt to guilt trip me and say things like "I don't know who you are anymore! Why are you being so stubborn! Every Gwen I've met has been an awful person!" And even then, the doubt never lasts for long. I know who I am.

Q2:Nope my parents are not supportive. At all. Well to be fair my Dad seems neutral but is pressuring me because my Mom is upset. I told my family they can call me by my old name to make it easier on them but my Mom won't accept that. She says she won't call me anything. Oh well.

Q3: I think that name change is fine as long as the person gives it thought and choses their new name carefully. I spent months agonizing over what name to choose before I settled on one that I like. I think that when choosing a new name the person should ask themselves if the name will age well with them, if it suits them, how important things like ease of spelling and pronounciation are, if the name is suitable in different contexts. For instance, maybe if someone wanted to change their name to Princess they might realize that that name might not age very well with them specifically, or maybe they wouldn't like having a name like that if they were the CEO of a large company.

Here are a few names I like:


-Analeise (maybe too popular?)






Update on what you end up choosing! I'm super curious!

April 1, 2014 10:21 AM

My name is Jennifer. I am in my mid twenties and really didn't know many Jennifers growing up. It is more common in the generation older than me, so it was even worse feeling like I had a "mom" name. I have never liked my name and it doesn't feel like me at all, but it is what it is and I would never change it. My parents chose it out of all other names becuase they loved it. Everyone I love knows me as Jennifer. My husband loves my name. I have confidence in myself but it does not stem from my name, it stems from knowing my capabilities. I think you should do some real soul searching and figure out what a name means to you and what is really holding you back - it is not your name.

If you really want to change your name, it is doable but be aware that it is not as easy as it sounds. You will still have to put your old name on pretty much all legal documents as it will ask for an alias. Or when doing business with any company you have done business with - they will look up your account and you will have to explain you have a new name. Be ready for some odd looks if you change your name completely. 

My husband always went by his middle name. His first name was his dad's name, who left him as a young boy and was not around. He hated his first name. At 18 he legally changed his name so that the name he has always gone by is his first name, and he took his grandfather's name as his middle name. His family was very supportive (grandpa cried!) and he has never regretted it. It is pretty common though that he has to explain to someone that he has a new name - doctor's office, bank, etc. but he doesn't get very strange looks because he just explains that he always went by his middle name so it is easier that way. I would imagine things would be much more complicated if he completely changed his name.

One thing you should consider is who you expect to use your new name. Of course anyone you meet from now on will only know you by the new name and that will be fine, but it will be a strange transition for those who know you as Laura. Can you imagine it from your parent's perspective? They named you Laura and now 20 something years later you want to be called something else? It will feel strange and they may not call you the new name. 

My advice, if you choose to change your name, would be to just add a middle name and start going by it with new people you meet. So, let's say you want to be Amelia... then change your name legally to Laura Amelia LastName and introduce yourself as Amelia. On paper you will still be Laura and it won't be weird when you bring a fiance home and mom and dad call you Laura, but you get a new name that you love. As far as what name to choose - I have no idea what your tastes are based on what you said. I will say that some names that are popular today would not be popular in your age group. For example, I never knew anyone named Emma, Ella, Stella, or Isabella growing up but those are very popular now. 

Good luck in whatever you choose! For the record, I happen to think Laura is a lovely name. :)

April 1, 2014 10:42 AM

I just read your list of names. Laura is actually very similar to these when you really think about it, but it seems you have assigned baggage to the name. I think you could learn to love the sound of Laura. It is light and feminine. 

If not, the name choice depends on how you want it to "feel" and what the name means to you. Each of these names will be perceived differently by every person including yourself based on personal experience. I feel like you are hung up on the assigned meanings - those pretty much don't mean anything and are assigned after the name was already in use, or are just assumed becuase the name sounds similar to a word of that language. 

I agree with others that you should choose something that makes sense for your age group and does not stick out too much. I like Charlotte, Renee, and Naomi from your list and think they would work well as middle names with Laura. I think Laura Charlotte and going by Charlotte would be lovely. :)