Your 'Uncommon' Baby Name Is Everywhere

Filed under: Baby Names

A number of friends have told me that they've selected "uncommon" and/or "old -fashioned" names for their babies -- and then they proceed to say that the baby will be called Ava, Olivia, Isabella, Aiden, etc. They are all perfectly good choices, and there is nothing wrong with selecting a popular name -- but they honestly believe that these names are uncommon. They apparently don't follow baby-naming trends whatsoever. When this happens, should I tell them that the name they chose isn't as unusual as they think it is? Or smile and nod and then secretly giggle when their child is "Ava C." or "Aiden #4" in their kindergarten classroom?

- Common Conundrum

My dear, there's a name for people like you. (Don't worry, it's a polite name.) You're a Name Enthusiast. Like us, you carry special knowledge, and see things in baby names that others don't. The challenge for you, Ms. Enthusiast, is to spread the name knowledge around without coming off like a bore, or boor, as the case may be.

First rule: If the baby is already born, the only proper response to her name is "how lovely!" But if the name is still just a plan, I believe you can do a good deed by correcting parents' misperceptions. After all, a mom who chooses Ava to be "unique" is setting herself up for a whopping case of namer's remorse.

You don't have to tell the parents that they're wrong. Instead, lend them a little of your own name knowledge and help them discover the truth for themselves. Try this on a mom who says she likes the unusual: "Oh, aren't name popularity trends fascinating? Have you looked at this great website that shows you what's popular?" Then, send her to the NameVoyager at She'll thank you!

The prospective Ava parents will surely type in that name and see its soaring popularity graph. That will either scare them off the name, or make them realize that they love Ava so much that it's worth risking "Ava C." status. Either way, they should end up happier with the name they choose.

Have you tried to give baby name advice? Share your experiences! And if you have your own question to Ask the Name Lady, drop her a line!

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.