Friday, April 4, 2008

Say my name, say my name

It's a well known fact that putting emphasis on different words can change the meaning of the entire sentence.

She hit the pole. - Implies that she did. A specific she.

She hit the pole. - Stresses that she hit it, not simply walked up and said hello.

She hit the pole. - A specific, probably important pole.

She hit the pole. - Not the cone, or the curb, but the pole.

The way to up the ante even more is to add someone's name. For me, my name is huge and personal and very much a part of who I am. I love my name. I love hearing it (when it's being used politely).

"You're beautiful" means more to me when it's said "You're beautiful, Amanda." Even when it's my nickname, Stretch, I love hearing it. I'm still getting used to some of my friends calling me by my last name, because that was always what my brother was called in high school.

No matter what's being said, adding one's name to a statement, beyond simply getting their attention, makes it more personal.

This is particularly true of something you don't intend to be personal, but becomes such when adding the other person's name.

Recently, I , was involved in a high stress situation. We were all exhausted, confused, and mostly helpless about what was going on. I made one simple suggestion, just trying to help someone who was even more stressed than I, and another party quickly snapped:

"We can't, Amanda."

I know they didn't mean to snap at me, and it was just the stress of situation, but since they used my name it was hard to convince myself of that. Hearing my name in that tone of voice gave it an extra punch I'd prefer didn't exist. A few minutes later, it happened again, where the offending party said something in response to the situation and threw my name in the middle of it. Trying to tell them that it hurt when they said my name like that didn't work, and I resolved to just stay quiet and avoid this person for the rest of the evening.

I still like hearing my name, just don't wear it out.


Giggles said...

I know what you mean. Using someone's name really adds to what you are saying, be it good or bad, even meaningful nicknames. Whispering my name softly can be extremely powerful in certain situations with certain people. Other people, it can grate on me when they use my name.

Knowing how I feel about names, I try to think about it when I use the names of others as well, and would I appreciate my name being used the way I am using theirs.

Names have a definite power to them.

My brother still goes by our last name. I'd almost bet that he has some friends now who aren't really sure what his first name is.

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