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Wedding Woes

This is all weird.

Dear Prudence,

I have a co-worker who prefers to go by her nickname instead of her given one. She is very insistent about it and gets annoyed if people don’t comply. The problem is that it’s pretty unprofessional and a little demeaning. Think “Dumplin’.” There are quite a few people in our office who refuse to use the nickname, including the manager. In almost any other circumstance I would just use whichever name someone preferred and think nothing of it, but it makes me deeply uncomfortable to call a grown woman Dumplin’, especially one who’s older than me and a colleague. I have had my own issues in this industry with people calling me “sweetheart” and “darling,” which is probably connected. Is it wrong for me to call her by her given name at work? If so, how do I get around my own discomfort when using her nickname?

—A Bridge Too Far

Re: This is all weird.

  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I’ve got nothing. Agreed. This is weird. 


    image
  • What about engaging in a conversation?  Talk to the coworker and say you truly understand that people generally deserve to be called their preferred name.   In this instance your hesitancy is more about a concern for office dynamics and possible ways that the name can be construed when heard by colleagues or business associates that do not work for the company.    You'd love any feedback she is offering and insight she can provide regarding why this particular name is so important to her.  
    MissKittyDanger
  • I agree that it's weird, but do you really want to be in conflict with a coworker over this? Doesn't seem worth it to me.
    image
    STARMOON44
  • It’s weird, but you don’t get to decide if it’s demeaning, she does. I think if using her given name upsets her, you shouldn’t use it. Who knows why she has the nickname she does, but I always think you should call people what the want to be called. 
    I have always agreed with this too until I thought of the concept that using the name goes against social norms or is inappropriate for the workplace. 


  • banana468 said:
    It’s weird, but you don’t get to decide if it’s demeaning, she does. I think if using her given name upsets her, you shouldn’t use it. Who knows why she has the nickname she does, but I always think you should call people what the want to be called. 
    I have always agreed with this too until I thought of the concept that using the name goes against social norms or is inappropriate for the workplace. 


    Fair enough, but I’m this case I don’t see it as inappropriate or over the line. Weird? Sure. But if that’s what she likes, and it’s not obviously offensive I err on the side of respecting what a person wants to be called. 
  • STARMOON44STARMOON44 member
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited October 3
    mrsconn23 said:

    Dear Prudence,

    I have a co-worker who prefers to go by her nickname instead of her given one. She is very insistent about it and gets annoyed if people don’t comply. The problem is that it’s pretty unprofessional and a little demeaning. Think “Dumplin’.” There are quite a few people in our office who refuse to use the nickname, including the manager. In almost any other circumstance I would just use whichever name someone preferred and think nothing of it, but it makes me deeply uncomfortable to call a grown woman Dumplin’, especially one who’s older than me and a colleague. I have had my own issues in this industry with people calling me “sweetheart” and “darling,” which is probably connected. Is it wrong for me to call her by her given name at work? If so, how do I get around my own discomfort when using her nickname?

    —A Bridge Too Far

    I think this question is a smoke screen to poke a hole in calling people who are trans by their chosen names. Unless your coworker has a nickname that is offensive, yes, you call them by their chosen name. Same as anyone else. Prudie fell into the trap and I think got this wrong. 

    I have a colleague at the moment who is a 50 year old man who goes by the nickname Woody. I find this absurd, but I call him by the name he asks me to use because that is the polite thing to do. 
  • mrsconn23 said:

    Dear Prudence,

    I have a co-worker who prefers to go by her nickname instead of her given one. She is very insistent about it and gets annoyed if people don’t comply. The problem is that it’s pretty unprofessional and a little demeaning. Think “Dumplin’.” There are quite a few people in our office who refuse to use the nickname, including the manager. In almost any other circumstance I would just use whichever name someone preferred and think nothing of it, but it makes me deeply uncomfortable to call a grown woman Dumplin’, especially one who’s older than me and a colleague. I have had my own issues in this industry with people calling me “sweetheart” and “darling,” which is probably connected. Is it wrong for me to call her by her given name at work? If so, how do I get around my own discomfort when using her nickname?

    —A Bridge Too Far

    I think this question is a smoke screen to poke a hole in calling people who are trans by their chosen names. Unless your coworker has a nickname that is offensive, yes, you call them by their chosen name. Same as anyone else. Prudie fell into the trap and I think got this wrong. 

    I have a colleague at the moment who is a 50 year old man who goes by the nickname Woody. I find this absurd, but I call him by the name he asks me to use because that is the polite thing to do. 
    That's an interesting thought.

    And I agree that it would have to be a really out there nickname like, "Sweet cheeks" to get me to bring it up. 
  • Hm.  This reminds me of former BIL now xW.  Her name was X and she introduced herself as, "Hi, my name is X, but I go by Pixie."  I'm not making up Pixie, that's what it was.  She was in her 30s.  I used Pixie, but I didn't hide my eyeroll at it.  I saw her FB profile some time ago and she's not using it anymore.

    I'd compromise and use it when it was just inner office things, but if we were dealing with or in front of our clients, I would not.
  • mrsconn23 said:

    Dear Prudence,

    I have a co-worker who prefers to go by her nickname instead of her given one. She is very insistent about it and gets annoyed if people don’t comply. The problem is that it’s pretty unprofessional and a little demeaning. Think “Dumplin’.” There are quite a few people in our office who refuse to use the nickname, including the manager. In almost any other circumstance I would just use whichever name someone preferred and think nothing of it, but it makes me deeply uncomfortable to call a grown woman Dumplin’, especially one who’s older than me and a colleague. I have had my own issues in this industry with people calling me “sweetheart” and “darling,” which is probably connected. Is it wrong for me to call her by her given name at work? If so, how do I get around my own discomfort when using her nickname?

    —A Bridge Too Far

    I think this question is a smoke screen to poke a hole in calling people who are trans by their chosen names. Unless your coworker has a nickname that is offensive, yes, you call them by their chosen name. Same as anyone else. Prudie fell into the trap and I think got this wrong. 

    I have a colleague at the moment who is a 50 year old man who goes by the nickname Woody. I find this absurd, but I call him by the name he asks me to use because that is the polite thing to do. 
    LOL!  This is the name of one of my BFF's bosses.  She works for a small law firm, a dad, son, and daughter (she's the only non-family employee).  The son has the same name as the dad, so he goes by Woody.  IDK how he got the nickname, but it is what it is. 
  • Nicknames are so personal and in a job profession, you have to be so careful.
    One coworker we have a nickname for - more a joke nickname we call him - but it's always outside of a professional matter. Not on phone calls and only if it's a personal email.

    But requesting them? Nope. General nope.
    So weird.
  • kvrunskvruns member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    mrsconn23 said:
    mrsconn23 said:

    Dear Prudence,

    I have a co-worker who prefers to go by her nickname instead of her given one. She is very insistent about it and gets annoyed if people don’t comply. The problem is that it’s pretty unprofessional and a little demeaning. Think “Dumplin’.” There are quite a few people in our office who refuse to use the nickname, including the manager. In almost any other circumstance I would just use whichever name someone preferred and think nothing of it, but it makes me deeply uncomfortable to call a grown woman Dumplin’, especially one who’s older than me and a colleague. I have had my own issues in this industry with people calling me “sweetheart” and “darling,” which is probably connected. Is it wrong for me to call her by her given name at work? If so, how do I get around my own discomfort when using her nickname?

    —A Bridge Too Far

    I think this question is a smoke screen to poke a hole in calling people who are trans by their chosen names. Unless your coworker has a nickname that is offensive, yes, you call them by their chosen name. Same as anyone else. Prudie fell into the trap and I think got this wrong. 

    I have a colleague at the moment who is a 50 year old man who goes by the nickname Woody. I find this absurd, but I call him by the name he asks me to use because that is the polite thing to do. 
    LOL!  This is the name of one of my BFF's bosses.  She works for a small law firm, a dad, son, and daughter (she's the only non-family employee).  The son has the same name as the dad, so he goes by Woody.  IDK how he got the nickname, but it is what it is. 
    like Woody Burton, in the IN house of reps 
    mrsconn23
  • I wish the LW had just told us the real nickname, lol!  Because my answer might depend on what it is.

    In the office, I would probably call them whatever they wanted to be called.  Though I do find it striking that many coworkers, including the manager, are uncomfortable with it.

    But if I was introducing them to a client or something like that.  I would probably be okay with a name like "Dumpling"...just because that is not a common term of endearment.  But would be more uncomfortable if the nickname was "Sweetheart" or "Darling".  Enough that, if that was the case, I might have a conversation with her like, "I know you prefer the name Sweetheart but, because that is normally a term of endearment, I'm not comfortable introducing you to a client that way.  What is a good compromise for you?"
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    MissKittyDanger
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