Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The Perks and Problems with Having a Unique Name

It’s the beginning of a new semester. You sit in your first tutorial, waiting for your TA to start the attendance call. You wait nervously as the TA calls five John’s, four Emily’s and three Michael’s. Suddenly, they pause. You recognize their look of confusion. You hear sounds that vaguely resemble your name, so you awkwardly raise your hand and restate your name with the correct pronunciation.


Fast-forward to Week 10 and they are still saying it incorrectly. Whether in or out of the classroom, here are some pros and cons that people with unique names experience:


Problem: It’s often mispronounced.

Shown by the scenario above, introductions are not always as simple as they should be. If someone is reading your name out loud for the first time, you often need to correct them afterwards. This is not only true for teachers but also baristas, employers, and even new acquaintances. You often have to repeat your name with its correct pronunciation, saying each syllable clearly and carefully.


Problem: It’s often misspelled.

Hard to pronounce means even harder to spell. A misspelled version of your name has become a part of every Starbucks trip. When the barista asks for my name, my inner monologue goes like this: Is it worth spelling out every letter? How much time would that take? There’s a huge line up and they would totally judge me for taking too long. Should I use a fake name? Decisions, decisions. For the sake of efficiency, baristas know me as Michelle or Cindy.

Problem: You’ll never find your name in a gift shop.

You have yet to see your name on a keychain, fridge magnet, and other souvenirs. It is no longer a big deal but as a little kid, not finding your name on a single item was a little disappointing. Adult you may have already accepted this fate but every now and then, you still find yourself looking out of curiosity. Perhaps one day there will be a Coke bottle with your name on it, sitting proudly on the supermarket shelf.


Perk: There are more usernames available.

Gift shops may not serve you, but the odds are in your favour when creating online accounts. A unique name provides more options for usernames, emails, and web domains. You can often use our first and last name without adding extra characters. You feel triumphant when you can sign up as @firstnamelastname instead of @firssstnaaamelastnamee1234. Having a username that is close to (if not exactly) your real name makes you quicker to find and recognize on social media. You can also grab the same the username across different accounts, allowing more consistency.


Perk: The meaning of your name can be a conversation starter.

Upon meeting someone, exchanging names is among the first things we do. People often comment on its uniqueness and origin. Being asked how your name is spelled and where it came from is a way to break the ice, especially if you are struggling to come up with topics for conversation. Plus, all of this discussion about your name can help the person remember it.


Perk: It’s more rewarding when others get it right.

When your name is often mistaken, it feels more rewarding when said or written correctly on the first try. Bonus points if they remember and continue to do so. This rare event is equal parts surprising and satisfying. It is a relief when you do not have to correct or explain your name to someone. Learn to appreciate these moments; not every person experiences this delight!


Having an uncommon name is a both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you appreciate its uniqueness and sense of distinction. However, it’s hard to establish this identity when people struggle to write or say it. Worry not because while your name may be unique, your problems with it are not. Someone out there can relate.