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Don't ask for my name

I will give it to you when I am ready

By E. J. StrangePublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 4 min read

Call me mental, but I loath when people ask for my name right off the bat. I get this sour knot at the pit of my stomach and I recoil at the person inwardly. I instantly don’t trust them, and I perceive them as controlling and manipulative. It is a violently negative reaction that I don’t share with anyone. Afterall it is the social norm to start pleasantries with names. To me, though, there is nothing pleasant about such an exchange.

I feel the instant, “that’s weird and your wrong,” flags flying in everyone’s minds. I get it, we are taught in elementary school that you give a firm handshake and say my name is “so and so”. Like wise I am a salesperson, so I am supposed to be giving my name right away. I don’t, though, and if the person doesn’t ask sometimes, I will never give them my name. Why you might ask. Well, there is a slew of reasons, but mostly a name holds power and I don’t like giving that power to strangers unless I have to.

The biggest level of power is that a name is an identifier of yourself. If I don’t know your name it’s a lot harder for me to report you to the police. It’s a lot harder for me to slander you. It is a lot harder for me to gossip about you. Are you getting the picture? With my name you can identify me, you can accuse me, you can harm me, just as I can do the same to you if I have your name. I don’t trust people and I am very guarded. How am I to know you want my name for good? Typically, people asking for names are not kind natured and have an ulterior motive.

Going along with that identifier idea you can get my attention with my name. It is my name after all and when I hear it I naturally look for who called it. When you know someone’s name you can conjure them out of a crowd or bring them deeper into your conversation just by saying their name. That’s powerful and harbors the ability for miss uses. I have often times noticed that customers who ask for my name right away will often employ it in conversations when they are being manipulative or controlling. “Elizabeth you didn’t do what I asked.” I like someone not knowing my name because they could scream anything and even though I can feel their eyes boring into the back of my head I can still walk away. I can still escape because that kind of controlling feels abusive to me.

When I don’t ask your name, I am not being rude or neglectful. I am doing it on purpose. I am allowing you the courtesy of anonymity. If you can’t tell I am a prickly person and I might not like you. However, instead of ruining your night and possibly gossiping about you later, which is something I would do. What can I say I am a terrible person. I don’t know your name and your washed up in the sea of endless faces, so even if I do end up talking about how you might have peeved me or picked a wedge next to a punch bowl I have less to identify you with. You will be the wedge beverage guy from that point forward and only I will remember your face, because when I say wedge guy that could be any dude and you are safe from embarrassment. Well at least till I see you again of course and by the time I know your name hopefully we will be friends and your secret will be safe. Otherwise, you will know we are enemies and have time to dispense counter gossip. You see how nicely that situation turned out? You had time to make friends or thwart enemies.

On the flip side of asking for names, people who start with their name, “hi, I am so and so,” scare me in a different way. Those people are either bold or powerful, especially when they don’t say their title. Those people are daring you to google their name. Those people are saying I have the ability to erase or over come your caprice and bury you in your own words, so when someone says their name without asking for mine I get real quiet. My secrets are mine and they have my respect.

Anyways call me crazy, but I think it is polite and kind to let people have their names. It allows us our privacy and gives us reprieve from our imperfections. I will attest I am a bad person and I think everyone is also a bad person, so save use both! Let us part ways strangers till we have a reason to know eachothers names.


About the Creator

E. J. Strange

I am new to the writing community but hope to publish a novel one day. I am simple minded and sucker for romance.

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