The 21 Struggles Of Having An Impossible Name

“Oh, I’m not even going to TRY to pronounce this!”

1. Ah, the dreaded first day of school. What will the teacher do?

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2. Do the thing where they linger on that first syllable quizzically, waiting for you to finish it?

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3. Or power through with a mispronunciation?

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4. Or will they just give up and say, “I’m not even going to try this! I’ll just butcher it!”

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5. At least you’re good for the rest of the school year — of course, until you have a substitute:

Courtesy of James Marshall / Houghton Mifflin

Viola Swamp will NOT pronounce your name correctly.

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6. People always ask you what your name means.


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7. People with normal last names are always thinking up horrible ill-advised baby names because they don’t understand The Struggle.

It’s bad enough for those of us with just difficult last names, a tough first name is way more annoying — you have to explain it EVERY time.

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8. Quelle horreur! Someone misspelled Tabitha. Must be so hard for you, TABITHA. Why don’t you go blog about it.

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9. Those personalized tourist tchotchkes never have your name.

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10. You’ve definitely used a fake easy version of your name for making restaurant reservations at least once.

Sometimes it’s just TOO MUCH to deal with.

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11. On the plus side, you know IMMEDIATELY it’s a telemarketer by the half-second hesitation before saying your name.

Comedy Central
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12. People make up nicknames for you so they don’t have to say your full name.

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13. If it’s an ethnic-sounding name, people always ask you if you speak the language and have relatives in that country, as if immigration to the United States hasn’t been happening for 300 years.

Not to mention that a last name only denotes your father’s side; apparently people have been “mixing” in this country for quite some time now.

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14. Your entire identity has to be about telling people how to pronounce your name.

BuzzFeed UK’s Ailbhe also has to include a pronunciation guide to her name in her email signature.

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15. There’s the awkward situation of correcting someone who’s gotten your name wrong for a while.

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16. When filling out a form, you realize halfway through your first name…

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17. Seriously, never fits on ANYTHING.

Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images
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18. Even your best friends still spell your name wrong.

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At your closest friends’ weddings, you will never receive a save-the-date, invitation, and seating card with consistent spellings across all three.

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19. You’ve perfected a standard way of explaining the pronunciation by using more normal words.

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20. At least you don’t have to worry that someone with the same name as you is squatting it on social media.

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21. But because no one has your name, there’s no hiding your embarrassing internet trail on on Google.

Thanks to impossibly named BuzzFeeders Sapna Maheshwari, Adrian Carrasquillo, Andrew Kaczynski, Emily Fleischaker, Doree Shafrir, Dan Oshinsky, Erik Malinowski, Tasneem Nashrulla, Tanner Ringerud, Lauren Yapalater, Matt Bellassai, Krutika Mallikarjuna, Ailbhe Malone, and Regis Courtemanche for input.

Please read that out loud three times fast if you want some fun.

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