The Disgruntled Kat (kat144) wrote in etiquetteworld,
The Disgruntled Kat
kat144
etiquetteworld

Name-correcting etiquette?

I don't think I have posted about this here before...

Anyway, I'm wondering about the etiquette of correcting people on use of my name and what's the best way to go about it without sounding like a jerk.

Backstory: the name given to me at birth was Katie. I have not allowed anyone to call me Katie since second grade when I started going by Kate (and later to friends, I picked up Kat as well). That is how long I have hated being called Katie. I don't mind it as a name on other people, but hearing it used in reference to me is like nails on a chalkboard to me. No, I don't know why. In part I guess I associate it with being a little kid, or being a little kid's name (even though I've known of countless older Katies) and I guess in part when I hear it it makes me feel like I'm being addressed as a four-year-old. Anyway, reasons aside: I cannot stand it.

After wanting to for years and not being able to for various reasons, I finally went to court and got it legally changed a few months ago, to Katharine (so you can see how much I truly hated Katie if I was willing to spend a couple hundred bucks and jump through hoops of changing my name with work, vendors, banks, etc. all over the place just to make a marginal change to my name). I wanted to do it legally for a few reasons...I didn't want to just USE Katharine because I could not do so legally as it wasn't technically my name and as soon as people found that out they'd probably refuse to use it, and because I always found that while I could tell people my name was Kate until I was blue in the face, as soon as they saw any of my legal paperwork where I had to use my full legal name (work documents, driver's license, credit cards, etc.) I often immediately became Katie (I finally got the people at work to change my display name for my email to come up as Kate instead of Katie because despite the fact that my email signature and stuff said Kate, they'd still write back and call me Katie because it was on my email). It is hard to shake (probably because people always had a hard time grasping that Katie wasn't SHORT for anything but was my full name, so they probably assumed it was a name I chose as a nickname rather than was stuck with as a legal name). I mean, we're talking, people who never were introduced to me as Katie (like coworkers who never saw my legal paperwork) would call me Katie sometimes and I don't know where they got it, people would call me Kate for months or years and then suddenly they'd start calling me Katie...it came out of the woodwork sometimes.

(I am still allowing people to call me Kate and they had the choice of switching to Katharine if they wanted to); that doesn't bug me

I've struggled for years with correcting people to not call me Katie, as I've never known how to do it without sounding snappish or like I'm making a big deal out of nothing (I have a feeling most people would say, "Katharine, Kate, Katie, Kat, it's all the same name, what's the big deal?").

How do I do this without coming across as a jerk? Especially in passing, if someone says "oh, hi Katie" or "so I was telling Katie the other day that..." or if someone emails me and uses the wrong name? The other day I did it by email and I felt like a jerk and a freak the whole time I was correcting this person--it was someone I don't even know (a coworker of mine is on a temporary assignment out of the country so our group wanted to send her a care package for Christmas, and I asked her partner over there for help in figuring out what we should send her, and when he wrote me back, he addressed me as Katie). I just said something like "please call me Katharine or Kate; I really hate the name Katie," but I have a feeling he got it both from his secretary (who I'd emailed before and in another email she called me Katie for some reason) and from my coworker (who recently sent me postcards addressed to Katie and again, I have no idea why). I mean, if someone's just walking by, or it's the middle of a conversation, should I really pipe up and say, "actually, it's Katharine or Kate"? I feel like "please call me X" is one of those lines for when you're just meeting someone, not something you should interrupt a conversation for?

I am stumped on this, but I'm even more determined not to be called Katie now that I have no legal ties to that name. I know it's stupid to get so worked up just about a name, but honestly it really does set my teeth on edge every time I hear it, and I don't know how to get that across to people without also coming across as a weirdo with a hangup...

(Granted, I know name weirdness must be common--I got an email from someone in another office today addressing me as Kathy, which is TOTALLY out of left field because I have never been called Kathy in any way, shape, or form EVER--in fact, I got stuck with Katie rather than Catherine BECAUSE my mom despises the nickname Cathy/Kathy and wanted to make sure I never got called that, lol.)
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