How Do I Correct Someone Who Mispronounces My Name?

Real Simple’s Modern Manners columnist answers a reader question.

  • Julie Rottenberg

Q. For months, an acquaintance has mispronounced my name. It drives me crazy, but I’m afraid I’ve waited too long to say anything. How do I correct him without causing embarrassment? 
Dara Newman
Boston

A. First of all, it’s not too late. As mortified as he may be once he realizes he’s been calling you Dawr-uh (as opposed to Dare-ah) for months, this is nothing compared with how he’ll feel if you let him do it for years. One approach: If you have a mutual friend, ask her to say your name correctly in front of him. If he doesn’t notice, the next time he mangles your name, go ahead and point out the discrepancy—and be sure to note that it happens to you all the time. For example: “Please don’t give this a second thought; everyone calls me Alissa instead of Alisa.” If he admits he’s been struggling with your name, offer him an easy trick to getting it right: “Kali rhymes with daily.” If he has a sense of humor, this episode will become something the two of you can laugh about down the road.

 

—Julie Rottenberg