Baby Name Stories Can Help You Choose a Name

Down to a handful of good baby names, but having trouble deciding between them? Instead of focusing on the names themselves, try focusing on the stories behind the names for a fresh perspective.

Here’s how:

Grab a piece of paper. Fold the left side of the paper inward, so that the left edge hits the center of the page (approximately). Now unfold. The crease should divide the page into a narrow column (left) and a wide column (right).

In the narrow column, list your baby name finalists. Space them out a bit.

In the wide column, you’ll be writing the stories behind the names. The page will end up looking like this:

But before you write the stories, here’s some advice.

Write the stories from your child’s perspective.
Your child is the one who will inherit the story, so phrase each story as if your child were telling it to a stranger. If one of the names was inspired by your late uncle, you could write “it was the name of my mom’s favorite uncle.”

Write stories, not facts.
Don’t write impersonal facts like “the name was ranked 862nd last year,” or “it was Einstein’s first name.” Write personal stories like “my dad liked that the name was relatively unpopular,” or “my mom is a physicist, so she named me after Einstein.”

Be honest.
If you like a name simply because it sounds nice to you, that’s the story. No need to embellish.

Write just one story per name.
Often a baby name will have several stories. If that’s the case for any of your names, don’t write every story. Just the most compelling one.

Use the same format for each story.
This will make it easier to compare and contrast stories later on. I’d recommend writing no more than a single sentence and starting each one the same way (i.e. “This name is…”). Whatever you decide, keep it consistent.

Ready to write the stories now? Go ahead! I’ll wait.

Done? Ok, now for the fun part. Re-fold that left flap, but fold it backwards this time, so that all you can see are the stories. Paperclip the flap in that position.

Study the stories for a few days. Try your best to forget which story goes with which name. In fact, try to forget the names altogether. Just focus on the stories. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Which stories are the most memorable?
  • Which are the funniest?
  • Which would make my child the proudest?

Once you’re done forming opinions about each of the stories, bring the baby names back. How do you feel about each name now? Do you like certain names more/less than before, now that you’ve been considering only their stories?

Hopefully this experiment will allow you to see the names in a new light and help you come to a decision a bit faster.

Try it and let me know how well it works for you!

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