How to Cope When People Can't Pronounce Your Name Correctly

March 14, 2024 Mahevash Shaikh

Do you feel frustrated when people can't pronounce your name correctly? I can relate because my name is unique, and most people mispronounce it. Worse, instead of learning the correct pronunciation, they conveniently shorten or change it without my consent. If people can't pronounce your name correctly, read on to know how you can cope with the consequent distress.

What It Feels Like When No One Can Pronounce Your Name Correctly

Picture this scenario: you walk into a room full of strangers and personally introduce yourself to every individual. Most people struggle to get your name right the first time, and they ask you to repeat it a few times. You have no problem doing so because you get it: your name is hard to pronounce. What bothers you is when people throw up their hands, declare they give up, and decide that they are going to give you an "easier" name. 

The above scenario is something that happens to me frequently, and if you have a rare or ethnic name, chances are high that it happens to you as well. More than a lack of effort, the blatant disregard for my identity gets to me. Our names are a vital part of our identity, and someone not even trying to get them right signals that they don't respect us. As a result, I get annoyed when people can't pronounce my name correctly after I have corrected them multiple times. And I get angry with anyone entitled enough to give me a new name simply because they can't be bothered to learn my real name. 

Coping When People Can't Pronounce Your Name Correctly

It has and will keep happening, so we might as well learn to cope with people not being able to pronounce our names. Why, we should use it to our advantage. For example, as a form of self-respect and boundary setting, I filter out people who don't say my name right, even after multiple corrections. When I distance myself from individuals who don't bother to pronounce my name correctly, I prioritize those who value and respect me for who I am. 

Also, I often correct people who can't pronounce my name correctly, even when they haven't asked me to do so. By holding people accountable for saying my name correctly, I help promote cultural appreciation and sensitivity. After all, a name marks one's cultural identity and must be respected, no matter how unusual it sounds. It is hard to be assertive, especially in this regard, but it gets a little easier each time I do it. And if I, a shy introvert, can stand up for myself, so can you. 

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2024, March 14). How to Cope When People Can't Pronounce Your Name Correctly, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture, and society. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

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