When they ask, ‘Do you have a baby name picked out yet?’ do you have to answer?

Shhh neon sigh - be quiet

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Often, we find our family and friends involved in “helping” us to choose names — and it can get downright messy.

If you do not want input on a child’s name, how, then can you avoid discussing it… and potentially getting criticism? Here are some tips!

“Do you have a baby name picked out yet?”

When you’re expecting a baby, whether through your own pregnancy or by adoption, one of the first things people will ask is: “Do you have a name picked out yet?”

Even though it might get on your nerves after you have been asked that 50 times, remember, the person asking is trying to be nice. It’s a logical question that both plays to natural human curiosity, and also serves as small talk when standing around the office water cooler.

But answering this question can get complicated, because no matter what you say, there’s bound to be someone within earshot who won’t like it, or will have to weigh in with some random thoughts about the name. 

If the name is traditional, they’ll say it’s old-fashioned or boring. If it’s modern, they might say it’s weird or overused. If it’s a popular name, they’ll remind you that there will be five other kids in your child’s class with the same name. And if it’s really unusual and original, they will say you should probably stick with something more traditional.

No matter what, short of them nodding, turning around and walking away (which would probably feel kind of dismissive), you’re going to get some reaction. So be prepared, and think ahead about how you want to deal with it.

MORE: 100 boy baby names that are becoming unpopular

Everyone asks, 'Do you have a baby name picked out yet' So should you answer?

One option: Don’t tell anyone the baby name you have in mind

You may decide to take a lesson from the 1980s movie War Games: The only winning move is not to play. Well, at least not until you’re past the point of no return.

Do that by not to announcing the name until after the child is born. Once the name is on the birth certificate, people are less likely to offer alternative names. Also, they will probably so excited to see the baby, they will hopefully be less fixated on the name at that point.

Seriously — who wants to argue about a name, when they can argue about whose ears or nose or fingers or toes the newborn has?

But still, they keep asking about your baby name

So how do you get out of telling people who keep asking?

If you are questioned about the baby’s name before birth, you don’t need to hedge — you can simply say you don’t want to tell anyone, or that you plan to announce it after the baby has arrived. 

Don’t want to be quite so on-the-nose? Here are a couple options:

  • You can just say that you are still thinking of baby names.
  • You can say that you’re not going to be sure until it’s on the birth certificate. 
  • You could say you want to see the baby before finalizing a name.

You could say you do not want to name the baby in utero — and, if you like, add that spiritual feelings or superstitions do not allow this.

ALSO SEE: 100 one-syllable girl baby names

What about just telling people the name?

Once the baby’s here, you’re pretty much going to have to tell people the name, unless you want to go to great lengths to keep it a celebrity-level secret.

So don’t forget: No matter when you reveal the baby’s name, people are going to have opinions — and there will also be plenty of people who love the name! (Don’t waste your time trying to read between the lines if you’re not sure how enthusiastic someone is… or not.)

For some friends, family and coworkers, it might be funny (or possibly just annoying) to find out how good or bad they are about concealing any negative feelings.

From someone who doesn’t like it, you might see a small smile and an “Oh!” Someone else might grimace, but say it’s a nice name. Other people may actually say they don’t like it, and try to persuade you to reconsider. 

Bottom line: Don’t let it get to you. Obviously, if you’re committed to a name, you have probably already thought about many different options, and have decided on this one in particular. You have made a conscious choice, and it’s totally your call.

Sorry not sorry

If you get “comments,” whether salty or silly, you can just smile and say “Well, we like it” or “We think it will suit him/her.”

You don’t need to explain, or apologize, or even discuss it any further. After all, it is your baby, and you’re not going to be parenting by committee. (Besides, they’re not the ones who will be typing it on forms and repeating it thousands of times over the next several decades, so why should they care so much?)

And if it’s not the perfect name in someone else’s mind, so what? Maybe it will grow on them… or maybe not. It doesn’t matter.

Choosing your baby’s name is a perk of parenthood — the first of many — and this one is yours.