Ranty Friday — Name Shortening

Have I ever introduced myself to you as Tan?  Have you EVER heard me call myself that?  Has anybody around me ever called me that?


Somebody did once but it was the last thing she said for a while.

My name is not Tan.   I hate it.   My real name, if you must use it, is Tanya.     I would prefer you use “T”.  I sign off all emails T.  I introduce myself now as T.   I have even been known in some circles to introduce myself as “Mummy”,  I have not, and will not, ever use Tan.

So what possessed somebody on Monday morning to email me and introduce himself to me with the line “Hi Tan, I wonder if you could …. “.

Who told him my name was Tan?  Nobody.   So why did he do it?  What sort of person shortens another person’s name without knowing if they like it or not.

I know an Edward who has always been an Edward.  He has never been Ed, or Ted, Teddy or Eddie.  Nobody ever calls him anything other than Edward.   Same with a guy I worked with in the nineties called Charles.  Always Charles, never Charlie (and he was married to a Diana (not those two) who was never Di, always Diana).

My eldest is called Caity.  Funny spelling.  But short for Caitlin.   I wanted her to be called Katy but knew if we made it short for Catherine she would be called Cathy and we wanted Katy.   Going for Caitlin ensured she would never be Cathy, and always Caity.   But nobody calls her Cait.   Cabface, yes, Cait no.

My preferred breakfast DJ is called Christian, he is not Chris.

I have friends called Emma and Deborah and it would never occur to me to call them Em or Debbie until I had them use those names, or sign off their emails that way.

Shortening somebody else’s name to something they might not like is downright bloody rude.

So if you do it.  Please stop.   The person hearing it is likely planning your untimely demise in their head.


Ranty Friday, a weekly linky to link up with a rant or even just a mild grumble.   Do visit the other blogs and comment.

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  • Hahahahaha. Most people call me ‘Mel’, Bronnie used to call me ‘Melinda’. Someone tried to shorten my name to ‘Linda’ once. Not good. Nothing wrong with the name Linda, it’s just not my name!

    Excellent rant. HMSx

  • God yes.
    Only people I truly like can shorten my name without me minding.
    My name is Rebecca, I refer to myself as Becca, because Rebecca always makes me feel as though I’m being told off.
    My family call me Becky, which I dislike, because I am not a 9 year old girl with pigtails wearing dungarees. But they’re family so they get a free pass.
    My closest friends call me me Bex.
    Recently someone at work emailed me with “hi Becks” an I had to stop myself from sending an all caps email back saying “do I look like I am a beer?”
    My daughter is Emma, only I call her Em, on occasion. If you call her em, then I WILL correct you.
    My SIL picked names for her children that can’t even be shorted because she hates it so.
    Agreed T, it’s rude.

  • Absolutely! Well said that woman! My name can’t be shortened…or so you’d think, but people try and the last person to do so got both barrels! I think it’s the assumption of the shortening that ticks me off, firstly don’t assume someone does and secondly don’t assume that their shortened name is the common version you’d expect! And just because the have a pet name or shortened name doesn’t mean you know them well enough to use it!

  • I’m Rachel and will introduce myself as that… Until I know you then you are welcome to call me Rach.

    My eldest 2 have names you cannot shorten. However, some people will LENGTHEN my eldest child’s name. He is Jake. He is NOT and never will be a JACOB – yet he has been called this (my staff at his school!!) and he had to correct them.

    My youngest 2 are Abigail and Zachary but mostly get called Abi and Zac – but I wanted them to have a name which can be used in full or short depending on a situation.

    Great post xx

  • It’s drives mad when my kids names get shortened! I named my eldest Abigail to we could shorten her name to Abbey but people call her Ab or Abs.
    I understand when I get emails saying Hi chelsea, they’ve not bothered to check my blog bio but I’ve started getting to hello Mrs…….. And then blank????
    I just don’t get it!

  • My mum calls me Son, and occasionally other people shorten it to Son. I never use it in print, cos you know, it’s confusing because I am not a son I am a daughter called Sonya. I never shorten it, and if someone else who isn’t very close to me calls me Son I find it overly intimate, as that is only used by my family. With my kids, I have one who can’t be shortened (Max), one that hates her name being shortened (Betsy), and one that has his name shortened by everyone 99% of the time (Sydney).

    I think you hit the nub of the issue when you talk about what you introduce yourself as. I generally think people tell you the name they wish you to use, so to then shorten Tanya to Tan, is as bad as calling you Dave.

  • I am not a fan of Rach. My siblings are the only ones who get away with calling me it. Or rather, they are the only ones I don’t get annoyed at calling me Rach, after all they have done it their whole lives. My youngest sister is particularly but then she didn’t grow up with me and I moved out of home before she started talking.

    I don’t understand it. I would never shorten any one’s name without being prompted to.

  • My son is called Dominic as you know. It gets shortened to Dom. It’s fine. What does get in my nerves though is when he comes home from school and has a certificate with ‘Dom’ written on it. That’s a bit lazy and sloppy on his teacher.

  • Hi – my name is Diana and my pet hate -not quite name shortening – which makes me have murder in my heart(!)is when people, having been told my name, immediately start to call me Diane. Can they not hear the end of my name or are they too lazy to listen? I even have it when I send emails… which clearly spell my name.. but no, I then get a reply of “Dear Diane”. I don’t like the name Diane, to me it sounds totally different from Diana. . My daughter is Joanna. You know what is coming next. How many people have I had to say its not Joanne but Joanna. Again , two completely different names in my book, and again I have actually said to various people over the years ” if you really can’t remember her name, then call her Jo” but it really is giving in. I find I begin to judge people on whether they can call me or my daughter by the right name!! And what I hate, is when I have the temerity to correct the person who is calling me by the WRONG name, they look all offended. Maybe its my gritted teeth delivery. My husband is David, never Dave, but guess what, need I say more?!

  • Yes! Totally agreed. I get called “Vix” all the time and I can’t stand it. Isn’t Vicky short enough?
    The worst one is my daughter – her name is Samaire (su-mare-uh). Within 24 hours of her birth, my sister had decided to call her Sammy.
    Until I shouted at her, that is.

  • I remember one day being at A&E with my daughter after a bad tackle at football and the nurse came out and called my daughter using a shortened version of her name, I politely told her its not Chels its Chelsea she was only about 7 and no-one called her that then, now as a teen everyone does 🙁 I hate my full name and always sign off with Angie, only a handful of people call me Ange and no one calls me Angela

  • I’m right with you on this one. I have never introduced myself as anything other than Lucy. My very close friends call me Lu or LuLu and they get away with it because it’s them. I have no idea where they got the idea to do it from though.
    It really bugs me when strangers and colleagues do it. My name is Lucy. It’s only 4 letters. Surely you can find time in your busy life for all of them!
    Samuel is Samuel. D calls him Sam and I hate it. I hate that D’s parents therefore call him Sam. It’s not that I mind the name Sam. It’s just not the name we picked for him. If he decides to be called Sam when he’s old enough to chose, that’s fine. But until then, he’s Samuel!
    Great ranty post!!

  • I find it really odd when people you don’t know shorten your name! I don’t mind being called Shell – but that is generally confined to my friends and family. The one that really grates on me is Mich – I am not Mich, or Meesh *shudders*

    The only time I would shorten someone’s name when speaking to them is if they’ve told me they don’t mind, e.,g a friend of mine is Sam, she introduced herself as that and I’ve never called her Samantha!

  • Oh dear! This is something quite close to my heart. I am Caroline, not Carol, not Carrie, and definitely not Caro. Always Caroline. I don’t mind sweetheart, darling, love, pet, but to be called Carol by a removal guy once, I could’ve slapped him… No offence to any Carols, out there, but I am just NOT anything other than Caroline. I am happy for the french pronunciation Caroleen or the German Carolina but anything else. Sorry no! But I am happy to be referred to as the Lunchbox Lady. Now that’s ok! x

  • Totally! My sister and brother call me Kath. I always, ALWAYS sign anything off, birthday, Christmas cards etc, emails, with Kathryn. So why do they call me Kath? Some of my friends call me Kath too and I DONT LIKE IT! My ex-husband and his wife (whom I’m good friends with) call me Kath. His name is David. I call him David, always have for all the 30 years I’ve known him. But he calls himself Dave on Facebook, and perhaps his wife calls him Dave too, but he was christened David – that is his name, it was on our marriage certificate, our divorce papers, and I will always call him David!

    My now-husband is called James and folk call him Jimmy. Why? His bloody name is James! I gave Amy her name because you can’t shorten it. Then only the other week, my best friend called her Aims. Arrrrgggghhhhh!

  • I am SO with you on this T, allright once the door is open but until it is, absolutely NOT! x

  • Totally, totally agree! Although I’m on the flipside, where I shudder at my full name being used. My name was made to be shortened because it’s so long and pretentious, my family have NEVER called me Cassandra, only doctors! I could never call someone something I don’t know they’re comfortable with in the first place or that I haven’t heard them refer to themselves as. Brilliant as always 🙂

  • Heh heh I have lengthen my name as it’s actually just ANN which makes me sound about 40. Oh…

  • Hilarious! I had this exact same rant last night. One of the other class reps at school keeps calling me V it’s driving me insane!

  • Ooh I agree, my name is Kirsty, at school my best friend was Helen. We got abbreviated to Cursed and Hell. nice.

    Strangely though I have one group of friends who always call me Kirst and it doesn’t bother me, everyone else GRRRRRRR

  • Likewise, I’m not Pippa or Pip. I am called Phil by my husband. In fact, when we first met all his work colleagues thought he was gay as he never referred to me by my full name.

  • I grew up with a name that apparently no one can remember or say or spell right. My name is Carly Have been called Carla, kylie, Kirsty and once to my school friends’ amusement we were sent home from a trip with certificates to find mine said Candy! I called my daughter Gracie which is an old fashioned name that I have always loved yet people call her Grace ALL the time she is only 2 so doesn’t even recognise to answer to Grace she gets so confused and I know she’s got it all to come! Whereas my son is Zachary and everyone calls him Zach so I don’t mind that, we very rarely call him by his full name although I chose that name so I could shorten it

  • Oh my goodness my name is Hannah and when people call me ‘Han’ I want to rip their voicebox out!! I’m not even kidding. My Dad calls my son Alfie ‘Alf’ and I could very nearly do the same to him! Just don’t. Do. It!!

  • I am SO with you. My name, really can’t be nicely shortened, and I am glad. There are two people in the world, allowed to call me the one shortened version “Kaz”, my brother, who has always called me that, for as long as I can remember, and one good friend. Even my husband doesn’t use it. Shortening or using a nickname when you are unfamiliar with a person, or don’t know if it is ok, is just plain rude!! Did you comment on the e-mail to the person who called you “Tan” ?

  • My name can’t really be shortened – and I am glad of that. Close family & friends call me ‘Moo’ (as in Misty-Moo.. Don’t ask!) so if I allow you to call me that, it’s an honour! Same with my daughter, she is called Scarlett. My sister calls her “Scar’ and I’ve told her to stop. I don’t want my daughter referred to as a nasty brother killing lion.. It’s wrong!

    If someone refered to me as “Mist!” I’d probably donkey punch them. My real name is bad enough, thanks.

  • I suffer from the Katherine, Kathy thing. I hate it, it’s mostly older people that go for Kathy, my age tend to go for Kat. I’m not keen on shortening my name, Katherine is the name I was given. There are only a few people that I will accept Kate, or Kat, or Katty from – if I’m not happy I’ll tell you. Rah!!

  • Hiya, gosh I agree with you. My name is Carolynne, an unusual spelling which people ALWAYS get wrong. Not their fault though. Caroline is obviously the most common mistake, people who have known me ages call me Caroline and it’s so annoying, I don’t want to be called that – it’s not my name. I feel it’s lazy as people can’t be bothered to correct themselves either! I’ve had Carol and Lynne as two separate names. My worst ones though are Caz – I absolutely despise that, and even Cazzy or Cazzor !!!. In fact one girl who still calls me Caz is in fact called Tanya but likes to be called Tan haha 😉

  • Ooh a bugbear in our family too. I just think it’s plain rude and/or lazy. People just say what they fancy without thinking.

    I’m a double barrelled Emma-Louise, but noone calls me that (I hate it). I’m always Emma, occasionally emmy-lou by a couple of school/uni friends (bit of a joke), sometimes Ems (sports at school) and Em. Happy with most depending on the situation, and will sign work emails to people I know well as Em. Would expect them to call me Emma verbally, but Em is fine for emails (or E if we’re used to that between us for speed!).

    My brother is an Andrew, never Andy. There was always one old man when he was a child who insisted on calling him Andy even though my mum and brother would ignore him if he said it. Although his friends call him by his surname, but I think businesses I’ve worked in, people generally ask in interview stage or on induction what is your preferred name for calling and for email/signature etc. Much better (although people obviously still get it wrong from externally).

    I wanted a long name for Nathaniel, but able to be shortened, and specified the shortened form would be Nate. I personally think of Nat as a female name so wasn’t keen. But one person calls him Nat, his dad calls him Nate, but is rubbish at spelling so spells it on the rare occasion he writes at Nat. I can live with that even though I mostly call him his full name. What riles me is people who call him Nathan. I hate the name, would never have chosen it, and have already introduced him as the correct name so why get it incorrect because you can’t be bothered to listen.

    Great post – there’s a lot of people being useless with names.

  • Just love this post. My name is Rachel and I am happy to be called Rach, but why do people call me Ray – that is a man’s name and makes me think of side-burns (I don’t know why). My children are Gabriel and Oliver and I often call them Gabe and Ollie, but never Gab or Ol as that is just sounds and not names. I was not made about this until I read this brilliant rant, but now I want to be mad about it too 🙂 Thank you for making me smile at the worlds most boring place to work 🙂