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My partner is 39 weeks pregnant and we still haven't chosen a name for our boy. There is a name we both really like and fits all our criteria, except that it is very similar to mine.

My name is Jonathan, but everybody I know calls me Jo, John or by my last name. I'd like to name my son Nathan, but I'm worried that it might lead to confusion or that people will think that I like my name so much that I named my son with almost the same name (just short of being Junior).

The thing is, I don't really identify as Jonathan too much and I really like the name Nathan. Am I overthinking this? Is anybody in the same situation? (For example, being called Mary-Jane and naming a daughter Jane). I'd like to know if I can expect judgment, criticsm, being ridiculed, etc.

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    You may want to reword your question a little bit to make it fit better here. StackExchange sites are Q&A sites (where there should be a clear question that can be answered) unlike more traditional forums (like redit). Your question, as it stands, feels like it is asking others to just share their experiences or give a very opinion based answer (neither of which work here). Maybe changing the question to something like "What potential pitfalls / problems can I expect to face by naming my child similar to me? How can I mitigate those problems?".
    – Becuzz
    Sep 6 '18 at 20:50
  • I'm the third of my name (Grandpa and father have the same name). My father and I share the same full name (First, Middle, Last). I never grew up with people thinking my father was conceited.
    – Ron Beyer
    Sep 10 '18 at 15:31
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I wouldn't worry about that. Much the same way it doesn't seem to confuse people when they name their sons the exact same name as them. Plus, people tend to shorten names. By their own will or just because everyone refers to them as such. Be ready for people to call him Nate, which is nothing like your name.

I'd only worry if the name you chose happened to be something like Richard, which can be shortened to... you know. But in your case I don't really see how Nathan could be jokingly contorted to something obscene or easily ridiculed in school. Seems to me you're in the clear here.

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    Especially the Head family should think twice about naming a child “Richard”. <cough>
    – Stephie
    Sep 7 '18 at 10:26
  • I interviewed once a guy whose name was Richard Short. I can't imagine the ridicule he must have endured in school.
    – user
    Sep 7 '18 at 10:56
  • @user: The singer Fish' real name is Derek William Dick, or in practice three times the same word. Fish has been quoted: "With a real name of Derek William Dick, it became very necessary to find a nickname as quickly as possible."
    – Remco
    Sep 7 '18 at 11:11
  • @user I know a guy (older, might even be dead now), Dick Burns. OK, I'm sure it was Richard, but that is how everyone called him. For his generation, not a big deal. For me, I chuckle every time I hear or say it.
    – user20343
    Sep 7 '18 at 18:28
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One of the first lessons you will learn as a new parent is that there will always be someone who feels the urge to - erm - comment on whatever choice you make. Often without having the faintest idea on the details of your specific situation. Breastfeeding or formula? Pacifier or not, co-sleeping or separate bedroom, nap routines and diapering methods are just a few of the charming topics in the first year or so.

I suggest you consider every comment on your child’s name in the same way you hopefully will the other examples listed above, probably even more so because unlike some of the others (where there is scientific research and official guidelines) a name is really only opinion-based (apart from maybe avoiding creating awkward name combinations that invite teasing and bullying).

That said, there are so many versions of family-internal naming conventions1 that I guess nobody would raise as much as an eyebrow about your choice, especially as your name and the one in question are phonetically quite different and you aren’t using yours anyway.


1 Long line of firstborns with the same name? All children with the same initial? Or in alphabetical order? Multiple girls being called Mary-[name]? Or naming them after flowers? Just to name a few...

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  • Alternatively, you could just forget about how anyone else feels about it at all. As geeks, my wife and I named our daughter Daenerys. This was met with confusion, mispronunciations, and bewilderment. We don't let it bother us. The only thing that really bothers me is that she will have some trouble with it herself early on (she's only 3). For now, we have nicknames (Dee, Dani, DeeDee, etc).
    – user20343
    Sep 7 '18 at 18:33
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My name is my father's name with "-son" at the end. When most people realize that, it's met with mild amusement. That's about it.

Alternatively, you could just name him Jonathan, Jr./Jonathan II like you briefly mentioned and call him Nathan.

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  • That's kinda interesting, actually. Not unlike, say, someone like Topher Grace whose given first name is Christopher.
    – user20343
    Sep 7 '18 at 18:29
  • Or a family that I knew where the son was named Frederick William ____, VII, and the fathers and sons just alternated every generation between going by Fred and going by Will.
    – John Doe
    Sep 7 '18 at 18:32
  • Looking back at my family tree, this seems to be the way a lot of them went. I have a lot of Johns and Williams :)
    – user20343
    Sep 7 '18 at 18:35

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