Baby Names & the Parable of the Orange

orangeAt an impasse in your baby name negotiations?

Stop arguing, start collaborating.

How?

Stop talking about names, start talking about characteristics of names.

Check out the parable of the orange:

Two parties each want an orange and agree finally to split it in half. But it turns out that one side simply wanted the juice, and the other side wanted the rind. If only they had worked together to solve the problem, each side could have gotten what it wanted.

Instead of settling for some unsatisfactory take-turns endpoint — “I’ll choose the first name, you choose the middle name,” “I’ll name this baby, you name the next one” — try this:

  1. Each partner identifies the characteristic or two he/she most wants in a name.
  2. Each partner agrees to let go of his/her current favorites. (Sacrificing for the sake of compromise!)
  3. Both partners work together to find a new name with all of the characteristics from step 1.

For example, let’s say a couple is expecting a baby girl. Partner #1 wants to name her Anne, but partner #2 wants to name her Mackenzie.

What does partner #1 like best about Anne? That it’s short & simple.

And what does partner #2 like best about Mackenzie? That it’s spunky & trendy.

Now that they have these descriptions, they let go of Anne and Mackenzie and aim for a new name that’s both short/simple and spunky/trendy. Dozens of names fit the bill — Zoe, Maya, Ava, Gia, Piper, Josie, etc.

Using this method, you may not end up with a name you both love. But you’ll end up with a name that you both like, and had input on. You’ll also ensure that neither partner ends up sacrificing disproportionately to appease the other, as both partners will be sacrificing the same amount.

Source: Walker, Rob. “Take It Or Leave It: The Only Guide to Negotiating You Will Ever Need.” Inc. 1 Aug. 2003.

One Response to Baby Names & the Parable of the Orange

  1. Just heard a version of the parable of the orange on the NPR show Planet Money: Episode 425: An FBI Hostage Negotiator Buys A Car.

    It’s the middle example of the audio, and it has to do with pumpkins — one party needing the shells (for pie), the other needing the seeds (for planting).

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