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Short Name

 

Techniques > Conversation techniques > Their name > Short Name

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Whilst people have given, first names, they are often referred to by a shortened version of the name.

It is often polite to ask a person what they like to be called. Even if other people call a person 'Tom', you might demonstrate respect by asking them if you can call them 'Tom' too.

Bottom line: When a person has a name that can be shortened, check which version they prefer.

Example

Anthony: Ant, Tony
Richard: Rich, Richie
Joseph: Joe
Elizabeth: Bet, Beth, Betty, Liz, Liza, Eliza
Amanda: Mandy
Samantha: Sam

Discussion

The short name is also called the 'diminutive' and may be used by adults to name a child. In this case, having been called this from early life, the person may adopt and accept the contraction.

Children often rebel, however, and the diminutive form may make them feel they are being treated as a child and, as an adult, prefer their full name.

Sometimes parents use the child's full name only when they are admonishing them ('Alexander, come here at once!'). In this case the person may continue to prefer the shortened name into adulthood.

Sometimes the preferred shortened name is something that the person selects themself, perhaps as an act of asserting control and establishing a separate identity.

Use of the short name can be a sign of intimacy and thus may also be associated only with friends. If a stranger uses the short name they may be considered as being too familiar.

See also

Identity, Reactance Theory

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