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How to Name a Baby | Wait But Why


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The first time a friend of mine had a child, it was intensely jarring.

I’d be living my normal day, and then the thought would hit me—”Matt has a son”—and my whole world would get turned upside down.

Three years and six friend babies later, I’m 32 and have numbed to the whole thing considerably. It’s still weird. But not jarring.

This new phenomenon in my life has introduced several new experiences—things like “having your feelings hurt and losing self-confidence because your friend’s toddler doesn’t like you” and “learning that talking about the baby as a ‘toy’ or a ‘pod’ and commenting on ‘it not having a brain yet’ is less funny to the baby’s parents than it is to you.” But perhaps the most frequent new experience is finding myself in discussions about baby names, both in the form of talking to the impending parents and pressuring them to reveal the candidates, and talking to other friends about the eventual name choices behind the new parents’ back.

(Note: definitely best to keep the name candidates a secret until after the baby’s born—no name will please everyone and other peoples’ opinions really shouldn’t be part of the process for something so personal. And when you announce the name after the baby is born, everyone has to pretend they like it to your face no matter what they think, so you’ll end up feeling like everyone likes it.)

I've never had a problem with anyone's baby names. If the parents like it, that's good enough for me.

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