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When is it ok to use a nickname?

I was doing the dishes the other day (a job my husband usually does, bless him) when he pretty loudly said, “Adrienne!” from across the room. His tone was accusatory and I knew the sentiment behind his words was something like “Why are you doing the dishes when you already made dinner? That is my job!” He meant it in a loving way, but the fact that he used my first name startled me.

My husband almost always calls me by one of my nicknames – Adri, A, Mc – to name just a few.

Because it is so rare, anytime he says my full first name, I get nervous. He usually only says it when he is really serious about something, or upset. I literally brace myself when I hear him say it. It kind of strikes me the same way a phone call from my parents at 1:00AM would – it is out of the ordinary, and it makes me worry something is wrong.

I find it so unsettling that I’ve recently asked him not to call me “Adrienne” unless he wants to talk about something serious since I mentally prepare myself for something like that whenever he does it anyway. I’m kind of afraid what this might mean about me, that it makes me uncomfortable when my husband calls me by my first name. LOL.

In contrast, at work I go by my full first name. So when anyone uses a nickname or a variation of “Adrienne” it surprises me and I get a little bit uncomfortable, depending on how well I know the person. It is funny because I can tell when people at work or church or other places have read my blog because they start calling me by one of my nicknames due to my blog’s intro about friends and family calling me “Adri” or “A.” (Anyone who is already calling me by a nickname, don’t assume I’m talking about you! I’m even comfortable with some of my bloggy friends calling me by these names because I feel like we know each other’s story’s so well.)

I always introduce myself to strangers as “Adrienne.” And then when people start hanging around me with my family and friends, they naturally pick up the nicknames over time. It feels more comfortable than giving them a personal nickname right away.

When meeting other people, I never use someone’s nickname, unless specifically invited to do so. This could just be because I’m an awkward person and have a hard time getting comfortable with new people and making friends in general. Nicknames step over some sort of intimacy line that I think people need to be invited to cross.

What do you think? Do you just go for it? When is it ok for someone to call you by your nickname?



  1. I have to say I agree with you 100%. I am the exact same way and thought I was the only one. You’ve calmed my anxiety over it! 🙂 I think nicknames needs to start organically as you build a relationship with someone. It creates a bond that says “hey we’ve connected and we aren’t just acquaintances.” I don’t know that’s just where I am with it. My husband always called me dear or honey, or bunny (don’t ask, I know it’s cheesy) so if he calls me Erin my heart drops and I pretty much lose it. I think it’s hilarious that we then have an argument where I’m saying “DON’T CALL ME ERIN!” *sigh* Men should just get it 😉

    • AdriMS AdriMS

      Glad I’m not the only one!!

      And regarding “bunny” as one of your nicknames – I only listed the ones I thought were the least embarrassing. Haha. My husband calls me some really funny/sappy ones, too!

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