When You're Called by
the Wrong Name

Women Talking

Has someone addressed you by the wrong name?  It's frustrating, and may be a little embarrassing if you're unsure how to handle the situation.

Perhaps he didn't hear your name correctly.  Or heard it and immediately forgot it, substituting a similar sounding name.  Our brains have to work very hard to muddle through the noise and distractions that constantly surround us.  If someone thinks he knows who you are when you meet, or you remind him of someone else, you just might be called by the wrong name.

It happens.  And it will likely happen many times in your life.  So it's important to remember that mistakes people make with your name are unintentional and never meant to offend.

It's also important to remember that it's up to you to turn the situation around.  This isn't about etiquette - it's about propriety.  You deserve to be addressed by the name you wish to be called.  After all, if your name is Diana, you could never be a Dianne.

The Sooner the Better

Even the easiest of names gets switched up at times.  If you're going to set things straight, and claim that most basic of property rights - your name - it's better to speak up immediately.

Remain friendly and upbeat, there's no need to get defensive.  Make eye contact with the person as you say your name, articulating it clearly.  And if you need to repeat the process a few times to help her get your name right, stay with it.  Keeping this light and as fun as you can will also help your new acquaintance remember your correct name forever.

There is no need to apologize for correcting someone or to thank them for getting your name corrected.  You are actually doing someone a favor.  Continuing to address you incorrectly will only lead to more embarrassing repercussions later, so it's important to get it right as quickly as possible.

Present Yourself with Confidence

If people are often mispronouncing your name or addressing you incorrectly, it may help to check how you are presenting yourself. 

A confident approach with consistent eye contact, a strong voice, and good posture automatically makes people take notice.  And they are much more likely to remember you, as well as your name.

However, if you approach someone in an introduction with your head lowered, shoulders slumped, and your voice at a lower volume than the environment you're in, you aren't making a memorable impression.

This doesn't mean you should burst onto the scene in a manner that puts all eyes on you.  But you should absolutely present yourself as a positive, self-assured person who is interesting because she is interested in the people she meets.

Are You Listening?

Just as you want people to know your name and address you correctly, know that others feel the same way. 

When you meet someone, listen carefully to his or her name and repeat it immediately in your conversation.

"Prudence, this is Ashwarganda."

"Hello, Ashwarganda.  Nice to meet you."

Of course, not everyone you meet will have a four-syllable name.  Nevertheless, your listening skills will serve you well during any introduction.

And if you do happen to misunderstand or mispronounce someone's name?  Offer a swift, sincere apology and continue your conversation making sure to remember the correct name from that point on.

When the Wrong Name is the Right Name

When a relationship is meant to be, even the use of a wrong name can't interfere.  It's not a common practice, but every so often a special person gets your name wrong so many times that it’s endearing.

I once had a 101 year old friend who, for some reason, started calling me Cadence when she was in her 90’s.  I actually started to like the name.  Now, I’d give a lot to hear her speak it again.

You may also enjoy reading . . .