By Heather Keenan

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Right?  I mean, that is what they say, isn’t it?  While this saying may be true for some things in life, let me assure you, it is not true when it comes to The Name Game.  It is not cool to steal someone else’s baby name.  There are a few exceptions to this rule, so let us go over when, and when not, it is acceptable to rob someone of their originality.

Scenario One:
You have been neighbors for a few years, you move away.  Due to the wonders of social media you are able to keep in touch and have many mutual friends.  This amazing ex-neighbor of yours has an amazing daughter with an amazing, unique name which is spelled in a unique way.  You email said neighbor during your latest pregnancy and tell her you are thinking of stealing her daughter’s name.  You get no response because your ex-neighbor thinks that is it borderline insane that you are emailing her about this in the first place.  DO NOT USE THE NAME.  And if you do, do not be shocked when you are no longer “friends” with the ex-neighbor.

Scenario Two:
You have a friend of a friend of a friend on social media who named her son the same name you have had in your head for your almost-here son.  You have never actually had a conversation with this person, other than the one time that you both had too many glasses of bubbly at a New Year’s party, and that was years ago.  Go on, take the name.  Delete her on social media and if you do bump into her and the conversation forces you, tell her your son’s name and just act surprised when she says “Oh wow!  That is my son’s name, too!”  THIS NAME IS FAIR GAME.

Scenario Three:
If you are thinking of honing in on someone else’s name, and you have the same name as the mother, just don’t.  You are going to look like a lunatic.  Just keep flipping through that name book, you will find something, and you will appear sane. PICK ANOTHER NAME.

Scenario Four:
As far as I am concerned middle names are up for grabs.  If the person loved their kid’s middle name so much, it would be their kid’s first name.  No need to ask, or avoid, go for it, USE THE NAME!

Maybe The Name Game is a pet peeve of mine.  I’m sure there are folks out there who could not care less if someone uses their kid’s name.  Bravo for them, they are definitely not me.  Names are incredibly personal.  They are picked for various reasons.  I know I spent countless hours picking the perfect name and spellings for my bundles of joy.  It was absolutely a slap in the face to have someone feel entitled to come along and snag it.  Lucky for me, Facebook has a wonderful delete and block option … use it people!!

So how about you?  Are you protective of your names?