It’s Michael, not “Mike”

Michael had just placed our order at a juice bar. Moments later a girl appears holding our drinks. She calls out “Mike?” – and I shoot a scowl her way. Mike? I know he didn’t give her that name because his name is MICHAEL.

I get why the name change happens at the juice bar. But I don’t get why this happens socially. Michael clearly introduces himself as Michael only to later be called “Mike” – in both professional and social settings. And he despises being called Mike.

When someone introduces themselves, they generally give you the name they want to be called. Calling them something different is like calling them an entirely different name. When you call Michael “Mike”, he doesn’t hear “Mike”, he hears, “Elmer”. And it makes him cringe.

Michael has been written up as “Mike Brown” in newspapers and professional publications distributed to huge audiences. Mike Brown was named as UCI’s newest board member. Mike Brown received plaques of honor that Michael doesn’t display. Mike Brown has done awesome stuff that Michael wanted memorialized under a name he actually uses.

Please don’t assume the standard nicknames are okay (i.e., Becky instead of Rebecca). We don’t give someone a cutesy nickname before we get to know them, because that would be weird…. So don’t do it to Rebecca,  Robert or Elizabeth. The nickname can feel distinctly different and foreign to the person; which might be why they don’t use it.

This is Social Skills 101. Calling someone a different name tells them that you don’t listen or care. Some may not mind, but I know many who feel slighted or disrespected from the very start. I know some who long to be rid of a childhood nickname because it represents them being a child and not an adult. Some nicknames are reserved for one’s “inner circle” of closest friends or family.

“There is no sweeter sound to any person’s ear than the sound of their own name…” – Dale Carnegie

Think these people are over-reacting? Our name is the most important word to us. Nothing is worse than being called a name you hate. How would you feel if people kept calling you Mort or Gertrude after you introduced yourself as Grace or Tyler? For some people, that’s what it feels like.

Some people love the elegance and sophistication of their name exactly as it is… Jonathan, Alexander, Jacqueline, Remington are beautiful names! Charles and Chuck just don’t have the same vibe… so don’t use them interchangeably.

And when you feel close enough to someone to want to call them something else… whether it is Mike or Spunkmeister – please just ask. Ensure someone is ok with whatever name you call them. Which is why I need to remind “Mike” to stop calling me “Bunny Nut Cheerios”.

Michael loves his name. And it means a lot when others love his name exactly the way it is.

103016231

Don’t call her Lizzie.

 

About Epiphany

epiphanies on life and spiritual living as I chase wisdom - one insight at a time.

Posted on April 26, 2016, in Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Karen,

    That is so funny. Last year I met this man (who I adored). He introduced himself as Mike, but later referred to himself as Michael. I asked him which he preferred and he said he really didn’t care but thought Michael sounded less harsh, his God daughter calls him Michael and his mother used to call him Michael. I asked him if he minded if I called him Michael and he didn’t, so Michael it was for me. I love that name.🙂

    I was fortunate not to have a name people could easily shorten, but having an odd, and often mispronounced, name made me very sensitive to properly calling someone’s name. That was a great article.

    Cheers, Pier Stith

    >

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: