How to Rename Your Sweetheart: A Naming Guide


We hope our piece on pet names through the ages has brought new inspiration and some old-fashioned class back to your pillow talk. But what if you’re just not satisfied with your significant other’s first name? Companies rename and rebrand themselves all the time. Using similar techniques, we’re confident you can do the same for that special someone.

Note: It’s best not to tell your partner at first about your renaming plans. The new name has to develop organically if it’s going to stick. Best to keep things quiet as you follow the steps below. Before you know it, you and your partner will be enjoying a newer, cooler personal identity.

Brainstorm Candidate Names
Just like in renaming a company, the first step in renaming your sweetheart is to brainstorm name ideas. There are lots of fruitful areas to explore. Make a list of all of the common nicknames for their first name as well as their middle name. Play with possibilities of initials, using combinations of first, middle and last name. Talk to old friends and family members about nicknames your significant other might have used as a child or in college.

Remember, the brainstorming part is just that — brainstorming. Put down everything in this master list that comes to mind. Think about your sweetheart’s qualities and put down nicknames relating to those too. Play with foreign names. If your boyfriend is named plain-old “Arthur,” wouldn’t it be fun to transform him into a suave “Arturo”? Girl-next-door “Jennifer” can become sophisticated “Geneviève”. Do your research and take your time to make a killer list of possible names.

Focus Group and Test Market Your Top Names
For the next step, you need confederates. Go through the master list of names with a few friends and/or family and pick a few short list candidates. These should be names you can imagine using day in and day out. Check to make sure they sound good combined with your SO’s last name too.

Assign one name to each person, and encourage them to start using it casually in conversation. Hearing a name actually used is the best way to see how well-suited it is. Some names will sound odd or comical and will be immediately be rejected, but one of them may start to stick. Over time, you’ll be able to settle on the one, perfect name.

Make It Stick with Positive and Negative Reinforcement
Once you’ve decided on a name, encourage other people to start using it. You should start using it too, of course, but only in positive contexts. When you are having fun together, call your sweetie by the new name. However, never use it when you are angry. Use the old name for any arguments or negative discussions. That will reinforce the new name as something positive and the old one as something to be avoided.

Be careful with this positive reinforcement not to turn this into a private, pet name. Make the new name a part of your life, using it whenever you are in public. Redo your answering machine message including the new name. Use the new name on social media too; that’s a great way to spread the new name to friends you don’t get to see regularly.

Enjoying the New Name Together
Whether you involve your partner in the renaming from the beginning or work completely behind the scenes, we hope you will both enjoy the new improved name.

Now that your personal naming needs are met, check out our free naming guide which will help you avoid the most common pitfalls in naming and branding products and companies.


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