Her Baby Name Sounds Like a Bad Joke

Filed under: Baby Names

An acquaintance who's due in two months just announced her choice for her baby's name. I immediately noticed the potential for a pun in the name, but I don't think she realizes it's there. Should we tell her, so at least she is aware and makes her choice with all the information, or should we just let it go since she has already fallen for the name?

- Trying to Avoid Ben Dover

A creative schoolyard bully can make a teasing nickname out of almost anything. Some names, though, are like giant bullseyes for taunts. It takes a strong kid to live with a name like "Benjamin Dover" or "Candace Barr."
If you noticed the pun in this baby name so immediately, there's a good chance that other friends and family members have already made your point for you. The mom may have decided that her love for the name outweighs any teasing drawbacks. Still, there's a chance that "Mrs. Dover" is both clueless and pun-averse, and it would be a kindness to warn her -- tactfully -- of the likelihood of "bend over" jokes in her family's future.

What you need is an "elevator button" speech. You know that pressing an elevator button more than once does nothing to make it arrive faster, right? Giving advice often works the same way ... and unlike elevators, people get annoyed when you keep pressing them. So plan to make your point once, wait for it to have an effect, and never, ever bring it up again.

Based on your knowledge of the mom's personality, decide on the best way to broach this subject: off-hand, like you just realized the pun; jokingly, like you think the connotation is humorous, but not necessarily undesirable; or frankly, acknowledging that you've been considering this for some time. Whichever strategy you choose, make sure to compliment her name choice and assure her that you think it's fine and lovely.

Then stand back and wait to see if the elevator arrives. If it doesn't -- if she sticks to her puns (ahem) in spite of all your wisdom -- you'll have spoken your mind and preserved your relationship, which ought to give you comfort as you struggle not to giggle at the birth announcement.

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