What is it like having a common or popular name? Please help me. I want to change my name.


I have a unique name.  i do not like it, and I am going to change it. I was wondering what it was like having a popular name?  What do you like or dislike about it?  Figure I would ask people with experience in these matters. Please help me. I am trying to pick a name like John or Paul or Drake or Adam or Parker.  I have lots to choose from.  i am confused.




January 29, 2013 8:22 PM

I'm sure you will get a wide range of responses here and I'm sure there are plenty of people with popular names who are very happy with them.

But I think it may be an instance of the grass is always greener...The first name I was given at birth is a very popular classic first name. It's always been in the top hundred and until very recently it was always in the fifty (according the Social Security name rankings.)

I hated that. I hated being one of at least three girls in my classroom with the same name, and having to write my first name and my last initial on all my work. I hated hearing my name called in a hallway and not knowing if someone was calling me or one of the many kids who shared my name. My birth name has a lot of nicknames, but they were all being used by someone else. I tried all of them and just gave up.

I started thinking about changing my first name as early as age six, and tried on lots of names over the years until I found one that stuck. I legally changed it when I was in my early twenties and I've never looked back.

My current first name hasn't been ranked in the top 1,000 baby names for many years and it gives off a pleasantly old-fashioned feeling. In my opinion of course, but others have said something similar.

I continue to meet tons and tons of women with my old first name and I like them just fine, but  I am glad not to have been the third person with that name in the workplace.

I don't know what problems you are experiencing relating to your unique name but I just thought I would share my troubles with having a common name.



By Tana
January 29, 2013 9:37 PM

My name was in the top 10 the year I was born, and in the middle of a popularity spike.  I've always been slightly dissatisfied with it, mostly because it feels very informal and young, and, although I like it well enough as a call-name, I'd have liked a more formal option (but not dissastisfied enough to ever legally change it). It likely feels young to me because I almost never run into or hear of anyone signifcantly older than me who has it. If you're choosing a new name, I'd think not only about current popularity, but also about history of use and how you feel about that.

I knew a handful of other girls with my same name as a kid and was FirstName Last Initial in a couple of classes, but it never bothered me. As an adult, I've only run into a few other women with my same first name. It continues not to bother me when I do. My last name is very unusual, so I don't have to worry about getting mixed up with anybody else in important situations. I don't think I'd like having both a common first name and a common last name.

Although I have the most traditional and most common spelling, there is a moderately common spelling variant, so I have to spell it in situations where that matters. Like sharing a name, this doesn't bother me that much.

One thing I do really like about having a common name is that I can use it on the Internet with fewer privacy concerns. I still usually avoid it, but I like that I feel like I have the option to use it if I want.

Mostly, I feel neutral about having a popular/common name.


January 30, 2013 11:13 PM

My name has always been popular, but not in the sense that anyone can tell my age just by knowing my name. I have always liked my full name and have gone by it most of my life (with a brief period of being Liz in college). Despite the fact that there were always other Elizabeths in school, I never had to go by my last initial, and never felt irritated by sharing my name with others. I like it that my name will never go out of style, that it doesn't cause people to do double takes, that it's easy to spell and pronounce (mostly due to everyone's familiarity with it), and that it's easy to hide online. Good luck with your choice!

January 30, 2013 4:07 PM

thanks for your replies it is very interesting to here these perspectives.

By nym
April 26, 2013 4:12 PM

I've never been a fan of having a popular first name, but it became really bad when I got married and also had a popular last name. Then I ran into issues of having the exact same first/last name combo. This caused me several problems. I got emails meant for another person and she got mine because of the standard email pattern at my work. I had to argue to get the right student ID at school because someone else had my same name and they tried to give me her card. If your last name is common I would avoid a common first name at all cost.

June 29, 2013 5:09 PM

My name, before birth, was going to be Ceilidh. My mother anglicized it and I was born Kayley. When I was growing up, there were no Kayleys anywhere. I always had to correct the Kayla, Haylee, Kerry I got called (and still do!).Spelling was even more of a nightmare due to the C/K interchanging and the many ways to create the vowel sounds. I hated it, I always felt embarassed by it, and longed for an Ashley or Jennifer name.

Now, in my late twenties, Kayley variants are much more popular. I am always saying "Yes?" to soccer moms in the mall who are actually calling after their 2-10 year old daughters.

I cannot tell you how sad I am to see the uniqueness of my name dissappear. I had resigned myself to my name in my late teens and I began to enjoy my name -- almost like a unique brand or trademark. If you choose a run-of-the-mill common name, my advice would be to choose one that is still unique in some way. Maybe a classic name that's not often heard these days. Or you could pick a unique name that is less "out there" than your current name. Your reaction to being just another Tom, Dick, or Harry might be less satisfying than you'd hoped for. 

July 2, 2013 4:45 PM

My name is Megan. Growing up in school, I HATED my name because I was always one of multiple Megans. For most of my school years, I was "Megan W." which was just the most obnoxious thing ever to me. I did, when I was 14-16 years of age, seriously consider changing my name. (Although, the name I would have chosen wasn't that unique; I wanted to change it to Samantha). 

Now that I'm out of school, I actually LIKE my name. I think that everyone goes through a period of not liking their name and that most people either find a nickname to use or find the beauty in their name. I never really longed for a "unique" name, although I did long for something LESS popular. I think if you are REALLY unhappy with your name and have been for years and years and years, then you should go through the hassle of legally changing it (the requirements for doing so depend on where you live, but I know where I live to legally change a name without a marriage or divorce, you have to physically go to court and explain WHY you want to change your name). Maybe try using a nickname or your middle name and see how you feel about that first?

July 3, 2013 8:48 AM

Re: Explaining to the judge why you want to change your name - Simply not liking your name is a good enough reason in most cases. What the courts want to do is make sure you're not trying to change your name for fraudulent reasons (e.g. avoiding debt or trying to cover up a criminal past, so unless you have factors like those against you there shouldn't be a problem changing your name because you don't like it.).

July 30, 2013 4:57 PM

My name was the 3rd most popular name the year I was born and it seemed to have an upsurge again about 10 years later because I run into it everywhere. It sucks. I'm currently 1 of 4 in my office and people are always mixing us up. We gave our daughter a unique but recognizable name so she wouldn't have the same problem. Cherish your unique name.

August 6, 2013 3:41 PM

I have thought about this topic often. My name, Arizbe, isn't common at all. I was named by my grandmother and grew up hearing about how much my mom regretted letting her choose my name. All through out school I dreaded the new year and having to explain to all of my teachers I did not go by my first name. I hated when we had substitute teachers and being referred to as "A-riz-bee" and sometimes even "Frisbee" by some of my peers. It was annoying and at sometimes very humiliating, but as like which most things, as time passed kids grew up and there was less name calling.

Even though I went by my middle name most of my life, when I started my first job at age 16, I just decided to shorten my first name instead of all the explaining. I went by Ari and often got compliments on my name. I think most of the time we just over think things instead of owning up to them.

Now, I have come to love my name. It's me, plain and simple, would I have liked to change it a million times growing up? Yes, but I'm glad I didn't. 

January 11, 2014 12:23 AM

I have a very uncommon first name (I have never met anyone with it) but it isn't made up or too foreign, and I really like it. It meets what I consider the ideal naming requirements, uncommon but not weird, like Eleanor or Damien. The only problem I've ever had with my name is that there's another spelling and pronunciation that are both more common than mine. I do have to correct people all the time (and I have the exact same problem with my last name, of a very similar and much more common variant)  but I don't mind it. I can't tell you what it's like to have a popular name, but I can tell you what I would do if I was going to change my name:

1. Really think about your name. Do you really hate it so much? Why do you dislike it? Is it just the trouble of people who don't pronounce or spell it right that you don't like? Can you use a nickname or your middle name instead? When you've seriously considered these questions, you can decide whether to go to the next step. Continue to think about these questions throughout the entire process

2. Brainstorm names that you like. Forget popularity for the moment. Just think of names you like.

3. Imagine yourself as having the name. If you can't see yourself with it, take it off the list. You want the name to fit you.

4. Now go through your list and figure out which ones have the level of popularity you like. I think a name most people are familiar with, but not many people have would be best. That way, you avoid the trouble of spelling and pronunciation errors, and you don't have to deal with other people having the same name as you.

5. Take your list, and pick your favorite name from it. Start introducing yourself by this name whenever you meet new people, especially people you're not likely to run into again. That way you can test the name without binding yourself to it if you change your mind. You can do this step as many times as you need to.

6. Reconsider the questions in #1, being brutally honest with yourself. Why do you like the new name better? Do you really like it better? Does it feel like you?

7. Start introducing the new name to family and friends. See how they react. Use the name a little longer without actually changing it. You don't ever have to actually change your name to go by a new one, but most people do.

8. When you're finally sure, no qualms at all about the change (or at least very very few) it's time to go through with it.  Good luck!

I hope I haven't overloaded you with this post. By no means to you have to follow my plan, it's just how I would do it. Best of luck in deciding on the name that's right for you!

February 27, 2014 7:36 AM

You have in all probability already thought of some specific names; however it is very vital to stay associate open mind. You must not focus solely on selecting among the list you have already got; however rather attempt to expand this list with new concepts. Its worthy asking friends and family for concepts, as this could generate a full new tangent. It is also doable to change a reputation you wish by adding some letters, dropping others or perhaps making a hybrid of 2 names you wish, perhaps 2 grandparents.