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.