I have a firstname which I like, however I prefer to be called by a different firstname in my life (which isn't on my ID Card), is that possible ? is there a way to announce it nicely to other people without looking like a freak? I live in France.

  • Atleast you didn't get a terrible nickname from your boss who has trouble remembering actual names.. Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 17:06
  • In most countries/jurisdictions there is the possibility of changing your name. Some people simply don't like their name, which is why this option is available. Maybe in the long run this would be a simpler solution for you instead of the permanent confusion generated by a "double identity" . Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 7:56
  • There is a indian in my class who has a hard name to pronounce (for dutch people) so he always asks us to call him by a nickname which sounds allike
    – Stefto
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 11:27

4 Answers 4


It is not uncommon for people to go by a different name from what is on their badge. Whenever you introduce yourself, just tell them your preferred name. If there are people who know you by your official name, at some point tell them "I never did mention it, but I usually go by Axel, not Andrew." Don't sweat over it - it really isn't a big deal.

  • Exactly. The only freaky part would be if you insisted on explaining a long and freaky explanation. Whether not it's true, skip long and involved explanations of why and provide them only when asked at a particularly casual moment - otherwise the answer "it's a long story" is fine. Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 18:19
  • I'd say you should try to change what is written on your badge. If Andrew who wants to be called Axel has a name badge with "Axel" written on it, that makes things a lot easier.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 21:02
  • @gnasher729 If that's possible, yes, certainly. However, in many organizations (like my own) your legal name must be used for your badge, and sometimes for email address, directory lookup, and more.
    – David K
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 12:15

is there a way to announce it nicely to other people without looking like a freak?

In my part of the world, this isn't at all uncommon.

I have a common first name, and often find that several co-workers have the same name. So to avoid confusion, I invite others to call me by my nickname.

I just say (in a friendly, casual manner) "My friends call me X". And I sign all my emails with my nickname as well. People catch on very quickly.


I also use a firstname that is different from my legal firstname. I introduce myself with the name I prefer to be called and use it in my signature in all of my professional emails.

If people already know you by your less preferred name, you can mention it next time they use your name.

Hey Robert, how was your weekend?

Hi Joe, I usually go by Bob. My weekend went well, I...

  • This works the other way round too. I am never "Andy". Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 22:06

It's very common here for people born here but with a Chinese background to have a un-official western first name which they use exclusively. It was only when an airline couldn't find a colleagues reservation I discovered the actual name on their passport.

People with an Indian background tend to just shorten/simplify any complex first names.

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