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Ask Brian: My best friend has stolen my baby name - what should I do?


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Our no-nonsense agony uncle gets straight to the point of your most pressing issues.

Dear Brian,

My best friend and I have been pals since secondary school. We're really close and lived together in college, we even went to Melbourne together for a few years, which was the best time of my life.

My friend got married to a really lovely guy she met in Australia a few years ago and is expecting her first baby in May. We have always seemed to do things together and it seems babies are no different as I recently found out I'm also expecting a baby in September with my boyfriend.

I was very close to my grandfather before he died when I was ten and I have always thought I would choose this name if I have a son. As you do, I've had those light-hearted conversations about what we would call our babies so many times with my friend and I know I have told her of my wish to honour my granddad before. However, during a brunch with our partners, my friend and her husband told us they're giving their son my baby name. I told her that that was the name I had picked for many years, but she said she saw the name in a baby book randomly. I've told her how much it means to me but she's disregarded my feelings completely and it's caused a huge rift. We're not speaking at the moment for the first time in more than 18 years.

My boyfriend thinks I'm crazy to let this upset me so much as I don't even know if I'm having a boy. Do you think I should just try my best to let this go or just move on from the friendship and give my baby my name anyway?

Brian replies

I think your boyfriend has hit the nail on the head with this one.

While I understand your sense of frustration that your friend has chosen a name so close to your heart, nobody owns a name.

It's obviously not coincidental that your friend has chosen this name for her son, but hey - you don't even know if you're having a boy or a girl yet. Maybe you'll have a girl and this will all have been for nothing.

Moreover than that, even if you do have a boy there's absolutely no reason you can't call him after your grandfather, even if it is the same name as your friend's son.

There's nothing to be gained from falling out over this, unless this is a pattern of selfish behaviour on her part - but you probably wouldn't be friends this long if that was the case.

You can be annoyed at her being disingenuous when she claims she first saw the name in baby book. She didn't. She knew it was your grandad's name and is just covering her borrowing it.

Look, in an ideal world she wouldn't have picked the same name that you're planning on using, but the world's not ideal.

This isn't worth losing a friend over - you've made many important memories together and will no doubt make more with both of you having babies so close in age.

Get over it. It's done. And between now and then she might change her mind anyways.

Plenty of families have relatives with the same names, so it might have been a concept you'd have had to get over sooner or later.

If anything take the positive - you've succeeded in having two babies named after your grandfather, not one.

You're completely over complicating this issue - reestablish contact with your friend and get on with things.

Do you have a problem you'd like some advice on? Email askbrian@independent.ieĀ  to submit in confidence.

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