Some people totally embrace their names. Michael, a female Tumblr user who goes by the handle "teenagequeenmichael" sees nothing wrong with hers. "I love how people try to insult me by telling me my name is a boy's name just because I'm a girl named Michael," she wrote on her blog. "Like stop you're just embarrassing yourself [sic]."
However, multiple studies have suggested that names may affect their owners -- for better or worse. And who gets blamed? Mom and Dad. A lot. When we asked friends and colleagues about their names, we got gripes ranging from annoying cultural associations to confusing spellings and more.
The good news is that when we put those together and mined a number of Reddit threads on the subject, some loose guidelines for parents-to-be emerged. Here are 12 things to keep in mind when naming a baby.
First off, no matter what you pick, other kids will put a creative spin on it. Where there's a will, there's a way.
"I was always called 'Joemama' by everyone, young and old alike. Eventually someone else called me 'Joemosexual,' which was honestly refreshing."
-- Joe (Reddit user graciousfatdude)
"I like my name, but that didn't stop the kids in first grade from calling me 'Dino the dinosaur.' To this day, I'm not a fan of dinosaurs."
-- Dino, Buffalo, N.Y.
"My name isn't a rare name, but the amount of immature friends I have who get my attention with the following absolutely makes my blood boil: 'Hey. Hey, Peter (pause) phile.' 'Oh, hey guys.' 'HE ACTUALLY LOOKED HE'S A PETERPHILE.'"
-- Peter (Reddit user 31iw00d)
So if you make it easy for kids to laugh at your child's name, they definitely will.
"My name was actually meant to be Nicholas, but my mum was so drugged up in the birthing room that she listened to my dad when he suggested naming me after him. Now I'm the third Alexis in my family. Try growing up as a male with the name Alexis."
-- Alexis, Queens, N.Y.
"My Korean name ... sounds like 'you suck.'"
-- Yoo Seok (Reddit user alexx3064)
Give an extra thought to initials.
"My initials are ACB. Whenever someone sees me writing them out, they're like, 'Andy, it's ABC. Idiot.'"
-- Andy (Reddit user argole)
"I have a vivid memory of my second grade teacher writing our initials on the pair of scissors we each brought to class. She laughed when she saw mine, and then the entire class started laughing. Granted, everything seems worse when you're younger, so maybe it wasn't as bad as I remember. But to this day it has prevented me from ever getting anything monogrammed. If only I was given a middle name..."
-- Preetal (Patel), Okemos, Mich.
And consider potential nicknames, too.
"I'm always mistaken for a dude. It sucks."
-- Alexandra ("Alex"), West Bloomfield, Mich.
"It bothers me a little that my name is un-nick-nameable. Shortening to 'Far' still sounds like Farah."
-- Farah, Brooklyn, N.Y.
"I go by Whit. I'm always Wilt, Walt, or Will. Teachers always think my first name is my last."
-- Whitesides (Reddit user Operate_)
Sometimes, pop culture will work unexpectedly in your favor.
"#MeanGirls will always be a fave because it taught people how to correctly say my name #CadynotCaddy"
-- Cady (@CadyCo520)
Other times, cultural references will be troublesome.
"My first name and middle name are Disney characters. I was bullied relentlessly at the tender age of five."
-- Aurora Ursula, London, England
"Sweet Caroline, BUH BUH BUH. Ok, ok. I do live in New England, so I guess I had it coming."
-- Caroline (Reddit user AuDBallBag)
"The number of times I have been asked to 'beam' something up is not even fun anymore."
-- Scott (Reddit user UnhiDEER)
"I hear this constantly. I can see it coming whenever I am introduced to someone. You see the recognition cross their face, their lips curl up in a nauseating smile while they tell you the same, stupid joke again. Houston, we have a problem? Yes. It's you. You're an asshole."
-- Houston (Reddit user Niflhe)
Just remember, you can't predict the future.
"I'm from South Africa so the W is pronounced like a V. When the Harry Potter movies came out, I was simply known as Voldemort, up to the point where some people thought that was my real name."
-- Waldemar (Reddit user pinkbelly)
"I was in junior high around the time Forrest Gump came out. Needless to say, in gym class I got a lot of 'run, Forrest, run!' It was worse whenever I was hanging out with anyone named Jenny. ('Like peas and carrots.') I go by my middle name, but not because of the movie; I just always have."
-- Forest (Reddit user sanildefanso)
"Largely the only problem I have with [my name] is I can't pronounce it right. My parents could not have predicted my rhotacism."
-- Beorn (Reddit user AHundred)
Consider that we live in an ever-evolving digital world.
"When you type my name on mobile devices, it gets autocorrected to LAN (local area network), and it looks like people are shouting my name."
-- Lan, Brooklyn, N.Y.
"(1) My name is Austin Beer; (2) Impossible to Google; (3) 'Beer?! No, it isn't'; (4) When I hear 'autism,' I think they're talking about me."
-- Austin (@kimchi4breakfst)
And that the more creative you get, the more explaining your child might have to do.
"Old people don't get how to say my name... Michael? Mike? Michel?"
-- Micah (@MikeyMosay)
"Charades life. It's Hiab. Like 'hi' (accompanied by the motion of 'hi') and 'ab' (cue hand on abs)."
-- Hiab, Windham, Conn.
Also, middle names matter.
"My first name is Jill, middle name Lynne. When said together, sounds like Jillian. My husband thinks my mom should have combined them instead of wasting the middle name."
-- Jill, Chicago, Ill.
In the end, though, chances are your child will always have a few problems with his or her name.
"Some people pronounce it 'Reh-KNEE.' This is a common name. What's wrong with you?"
-- Renee, Boca Raton, Fla.
"I've had to shorten my name to 'Brie' (my full name is 'Brieanne') because people couldn't accept that my name was not 'Brianna' or 'Brini' -- basically everything except my actual name."
-- Brie, West Long Branch, N.J.
"People call me 'Carolyn' even though I clearly say Caroline. They must just really love the name Carolyn."
-- Caroline, Lausanne, Switzerland
"I already went to the effort to shorten my hard-to-understand Elisheva to Ellie... then everyone goes and calls me Allie. Whatever. Call me Allie. I give up."
-- Ellie, Voorhees, N.J.
Just tell them their problems build character.
If I had a dollar for every time someone spelled my name wrong pic.twitter.com/oEN12ZDkCo
— That Awkward Moment (@awkwardposts) May 5, 2014
Tell us what you love (or don't!) about your name in the comments!
All babies via Getty.