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My friends pick bizarre baby names – should I say something?

The dilemma: Your friend wants to give her soon-to-be born baby a really strange, dumb or simply terrible name. Are you obliged to stop her before the name goes on the birth certificate and gets monogrammed onto little baby blankets? New York etiquette expert Melissa Leonard has some thoughts.


Your question:

A friend of mine is having a baby, and she’s planning on naming her Castle. Like the place where the king and queen live. (She thinks it sounds “dreamy.”) Am I allowed to tell her that this is a bad idea, and the kid will resent her for life for giving her a stupid name?

The etiquette expert answers:

I actually read your question three times because it just made me laugh each time I read it. I then got curious and decided to visit the land of Google to see if Castle is a real name — and lo and behold, I did findeth thy name Castle. Who would have thought?

Before we address whether or not you can tell her that her name is a bad idea, here is what I found:

Name: Castel
Meaning: To the Castle
Gender: E
Origin: Spanish

Name: Castle
Meaning: Castle
Gender: M
Origin: Latin

I think in this case, we have to respect the ‘to each his own’ motto. If your friend was a celebrity, the media would be ohhing and ahhing over her unique choice of names. And just think: Castle is not nearly as bizarre as come celeb baby names like Audio Science, Pilot Inspektor, Banjo or Speck!

When a mom-to-be has her mind set on a name, there is usually nothing that can be said to sway the decision. No matter how close you are with this woman, I think it is best to leave things alone. If you do speak your mind and let her know that you think her child will resent her for bestowing such a “stupid” name on her, she will remember your words forever. There is no reason to destroy (or, at the least, cause a rift in) your friendship just because of your opinion.

If she asks you, “What do you think?” or “Don’t you love the name?” you don’t have to lie, but be discreet. Tell her that it is quite unique and praise her for her creativity.

As for her child resenting her in the future, there are worse things that can happen. I would much rather have a well-behaved child with a unique name than a naughty child with a plain name.

Hey, you never know, perhaps ‘Castle’ will be on the Top 10 list in a few years. Stranger things have happened.

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