December 13, 2018


Hi Nikki,

I struggle with something that shouldn’t bother me, and everyone I talk to isn’t very helpful. But here it is: I HATE my name! It’s extremely popular where I come from, and that makes me feel like I’m not unique or special. Plus I just don’t like the sound of it. I have other similar-sounding options to change it to, but I’m afraid my parents won’t like it if I do. Please help!

I Need A Nicer Name

Hi I Need A Nicer Name,

I’m sorry to hear that people haven’t been very helpful when you ask them about changing your name! I’ll try to give you the very best advice I can.

It seems like people who hate their name usually have a SUPER unusual one, or a SUPER common one.

People with unusual names might get made fun of for their name, or constantly deal with people mispronouncing or misspelling it. It might make them feel like they’re different, when sometimes they just want to blend in.

But on the other hand, you’ve got a name that blends in just fine. It’s super common, but that makes you feel like you’re not unique. Of course that’s not true! Your name is only a small part of who you are. Your personality, talents, interests, thoughts and dreams are what make you unique and special!

But a name is so…on the surface, I guess? People may not know everything about you, but at least they might now your name.

It really depends on your parents, but I think there’s a good chance they won’t be offended if you want to try out something different for a while. Don’t tell them you HATE the BORING name they gave you. Just say you’d like to change it and see how it goes. If you have a common name like, for example, “Emma,” it might help if you can truthfully say there are three Emmas in your class or in your group of friends.

It also might help if you choose something that’s not wildly different from your given name – from Emma to Samantha, for example. Instead, choose something similar to the name you have, like Em, Emmie, or Emily. Or you could try going by your middle name, if you have one.

FUN FACT: Nikki Russell, illustrator of Dork Diaries, goes by her middle name instead of her first name! Plus we both have the SAME exact name! Pretty cool, right? 🙂

So anyway, if your parents don’t mind, then just go for it! Remember, however, that it might be tricky getting everyone on board with a new name at first, or even getting used to it yourself.

But, if your parents aren’t cool with you changing your name OR what you try just doesn’t feel right, try to focus on the things that truly make you unique and put your energy into developing those instead!

Do you have a super unique name or a super common one? Have you ever tried to change your name to something else? How did it go? Tell us in the comments!