There are two points to this story that are relevant to you. First, finding one small but meaningful commonality with someone can lead you to a treasure trove of other wonderful connections. Second, people who make fun of your name are doing the right thing.
My new friend’s name is Sunday. Yes, Sunday is her real name. Yes, she was born on a Sunday. No, she doesn’t have a sibling named Saturday. These are the top three questions people ask when a person declares she has a name like “Sunday.” How do I know? Because it’s my name too.
Fact: The name jokes will not end until the day I die. Although I don’t always love it and yes, it does get old, I recognize that people who don’t joke about my name are more likely to forget it. In my experience, when people do not immediately comment on the uniqueness of the name “Sunday,” they are unable to get it right the second time around. And if they are too shy to ask me to repeat it, things get a little awkward.
Here are some names I’ve been called within 10 minutes after meeting people, and not in a joking way. They each guessed, and they guessed wrong.
Being called by the wrong name after you’ve properly introduced yourself chips away at whatever good impression you might have held of someone. And that’s why it’s so critical that you find out a person’s name, repeat it, repeat it several times, ask them to repeat it, and use appropriately during your conversation.
By the way, did you know that it’s perfectly good etiquette to ask someone to repeat her name? You may even improve the impression you are making because you care enough to ask. Are you insulted when a new acquaintance asks you to repeat your name? Probably not. I’ve been standing next to a friend of many years and been at a loss for her name for a moment. It happens. And yes, I do ask, “What’s your name again?” or “Who are you?” We all get a kick out of it.
A persons name is the sweetest word of their language. Use it often. Clarify if needed. But don’t grate on that person’s nerves by calling them the wrong name over and over, or skipping their name in the parts of the conversation where they would normally appear.
My new friend and I are lucky – we won’t forget our name(s). Bonding over something so simple was easy. Outside of our mutual name, Sunday and I discovered we have a lot more in common. She is an alumna of a Panhellenic sorority too and has also served as an advisor to a college chapter. We grew up in the same town and are about the same age. We’ve had similar experiences with relationships, both with romance and friendship, we are dog lovers, professionals, and we even have similar tastes in music – the list goes on and on.
It’s interesting that we sought each other out for one reason: we saw that we both had the same mutual friend on Facebook, and the same unusual name. It started there and grew into a friendship. Can the same thing happen during sorority recruitment? Can it happen THAT fast? Would Sunday and I have connected if we hadn’t both been sorority women who were familiar with the protocol of quick friend-making? Did our sorority training in conversation help us to become friends?
One thing is certain: Our friendship would never have happened if I couldn’t get her name straight.
SUNDAY TOLLEFSON is an author, professional speaker, coach, and a leading authority on sorority recruitment preparation for prospective sorority members. She is the author of RUSH RIGHT: Reveal Your Best YOU During Sorority Recruitment.
Copyright 2009-2010 Sunday Tollefson, SureSister.com