Proper Nouns

How are you supposed to act when someone compliments your name?

I certainly wasn’t consulted when it was chosen. “Thank you” seems as if I am taking credit for something I didn’t do. “Talk to my mom” feels rude. There is no good way to react to a seemingly innocuous compliment.

This is a unique name problem. Sarah’s don’t have this dilemma.

Equally as awkward as the compliment for the name itself is when the spelling of the name is complimented. I am not spelling it this way to be hip. I legally have to spell it like this. I have a birth certificate and a Social Security card that require me to spell my name this way.

Being named Kaileigh means that I’ve heard about every other Kaileigh (including all spellings) in the entire world. It’s a strange reaction people have to tell you about other people they know with your name as if we’re all cosmically linked. Everyone has to tell me about their sister’s boyfriend’s cousin’s neighbor’s dog’s uncle who is also named Kaileigh. But, the catch for me is that it is always spelled differently. I don’t tell every John I meet about all the other Johns (and Jons) that I know.

So, I ask you humbly – what is the best way for me to respond? A smile and nod and accept this odd courtesy? Do I dare get into the nitty-gritty about who I am?

Because, at the end of the day, human interactions can be really tough and it must be hard to try and think of anything to say.


9 thoughts on “Proper Nouns

  1. Fun read! I either get compliments or quizzical looks and always have to pronounce my name several times, tell it’s meaning, why my parents named me that and tell ppl where I’m from. A little frustrating…can we just move on? LOL!


  2. Oh my gosh. Thank you so much for writing this. My name is Kuleigh but it’s pronounced Culley which makes sense once I explain it but is impossible to pronounce correctly by just reading. It’s so hard for me not to come back with the talk to my parents response haha I struggle with this same issue daily as an adult. It’s just a name! I don’t understand why people care so much. I often get asked if it’s a nickname (for what???) or I get no response… no that’s cool, nothing! Good luck out there. We’ll band together.


  3. I changed my name many years ago. So when someone compliments my name, I say, “Thank you I chose it”. But then many times they want to know the name I was born with, which I am sick of telling people because I cringe when I hear it! So I decided to just not tell them the name I was born with anymore.


  4. I think it’s important to know that people are just trying to connect with you – it’s less about the name and more about trying to make conversation. On the end – they are just chatting. I get this a lot too – my name is Catia – and it’s kind of hard to pronounce in you’re not Latin 🙂 I’m sorry that it’s so annoying!!


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