7 Ways Your Baby's Name Determines Her Fate

baby name boardAs if parents didn't already feel enough pressure to find the perfect baby name that suits the child but also perhaps pays tribute to a loved one and, of course, sends the right "message" to the world, now comes proof that the name you choose carries serious weight. In a recent article, The Atlantic writer Cody C. Delistraty posits that your name is actually a major dealmaker or dealbreaker in all different facets of life.

Here, 7 ways your child's name could shape their fate.

  1. It could determine who they score a date with. Delistraty recalls an incident wherein he met a "cute French girl" a few years back, and upon asking him what his name was, she struggled to get it right, and this spells a death sentence for relationships. That's because the ability to pronounce someone's name is directly related to how close you feel to that person. We think that if it's difficult to understand, it must be risky, so we steer clear.
  2. It could land them their a dream job -- or place you squarely in the rejects pile. People with easier to pronounce names are judged more positively and tend to be hired and promoted more often than people who have more obscure names.
  3. If you have a daughter, how feminine her name is might make her more or less successful. Blame the Portia Hypothesis (named for the heroine in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, who disguises herself as a lawyer's apprentice and uses the name Balthazar to save the merchant). Research found that female lawyers with more masculine names (like Barney, Dale, Leslie, Jan, and Rudell) had better chances of winning judgeships than their more effeminately named female peers. All else being equal, if a candidate went from Sue to Cameron, they tripled their likelihood of becoming a judge. If they went from Sue to Bruce, they had four times the chance. Yes, sexism is alive and well, ladies and gents!
  4. It will shape others' first impression of your child. Because most decisions are made in about three to four seconds of meeting a person, most of us draw conclusions about a person based on their name. A first name could imply race, age, socioeconomic status, and sometimes religion.
  5. It may determine what school they get into. Research has shown that where a child's name falls in the alphabet could influence their shot at gaining admission to a top school.
  6. It could influence where they end up living. Since we’re attracted to places that share similarities to our names, it wouldn't be totally crazy to think that a girl named Delilah would find herself in Delaware, or a boy named Pete might choose Pennsylvania.
  7. Your child's middle name -- and usage of it -- could determine whether or not people think they're smart. Inclusion of a middle initial in formal correspondence is a strong identifier of intelligence, so not only will a person who uses it be considered a smartypants, but it may also give them a leg-up in the job market.

How have you seen a name shape your own or your child's fate?

Image via iStock/marekuliasz

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