Name bias?

Okay internet friends, need your help. We have a little family debate going on here.

So the other night, something came up about signing Christmas cards and the order in which we refer to pairs of people that we know. (Could be husband/wife, or even like pairs of siblings.)

If you think about it for a minute, you’ll likely find that for every “pair” of people that you know, you have a certain order in which you always say their names. Is it Sally and John? Or John and Sally? Andrew and Katie? Or Katie and Andrew? etc.

I find this to be 100% true. I always say “Ethan and Asher”, for example; “Asher and Ethan” sounds kind of funny to me. My sister and I are always referred to within the family her name first, then mine.

So here’s the debate part: What determines the order in which you say the names???

I first started to argue that certain names just “sound better” when said in a particular succession. As in, for whatever reason, it just flows better to me to say “Katie and Andrew” instead of “Andrew and Katie”.

BUT, upon closer inspection, we realized something! For every pair we could think of within our extended family, we found that we always put the direct relative’s name first (or, the oldest child’s name).

I never, ever realized that we do this! But it seems to be true. Now, I’m sure there could be some exceptions, but running through lists of all my aunts/ uncles, cousins + their spouses, etc… we do it for them all!

So in my mom’s family, she has 1 brother and 1 sister. We have always referred to them as Brother + Wife (their names, obviously), but in the case of her sister, it’s Sister + husband!

I even find it to be true when I think about friend’s and their partner’s names. I think of them as my immediate friend first, then her husband. “Kelly and Colin”, for example.

My Dad even pointed out that in their families, my mom’s family would always write “S+B” on the cards….. whereas my dad’s family would list the opposite! “B+S”, putting my dad first.

Anyway, it was just a funny discovery. One of those unconscious biases, I guess!

Think about it and let me know- do you find this is true for you, too??

Happy day before Thanksgiving! I just got out of the grocery store (needed a few last minute things- 5:30 a.m. was definitely the time to go! Not busy at all, but still way busier than usual for that time of day.) Now I’m waiting for Asher to get out of swim practice any minute now….

Oh! I am also doing another 24 hour gratitude challenge today. I did this last year and it was very fun. Just jot down one thing every hour that you’re grateful for! I’ll share mine tomorrow. I’m going to list from 6 a.m today through 6 a.m. tomorrow.

Daily Gratitude:

I’m grateful to have avoided the grocery store rush later today!

9 thoughts on “Name bias?”

  1. Oh yes, I noticed then I was working on my Christmas card list (put my cards in the mail yesterday!!). I set up the excel spreadsheet with addresses and the order of the names is based on who I/we know best. So Courtney and Luke are our best friends – Luke is Phil’s best friend and was one of his best men. But I got to know Courtney, his wife, and consider her one of my best friends, so their card is addresses Courtney and Luke. But for all other friends of Phil’s, it’s the guys’ name first then the partner! And that is the case for cousins that I send cards to as well. And I refer to our boys as Paul and Will/Taco (Taco is his nickname – see yesterday’s post for more of an explanation). I never say Will/Taco & Paul.

    I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’m thankful that I have gotten to know you through blogging. I think if we lived closed to each other, we’d be real life friends. 🙂


  2. Totally biased. When it’s a couple friend I always name my friend first and then her or his significant other. It’s natural that the closest person to me comes to my mind first. It’s not gender, but closeness.


  3. The name thing is so interesting! That reminds me of something I learned in a linguistics class- basically for those “fad sayings” (I can’t think of a better word to describe them) there is always a rule it follows. E.g. when you add “freakin” to a word (“fan-freaking-tastic”, “Ken-freakin-tucky”) it’s always right before the stresses syllable in the word.


  4. Ooooh this is such an interesting question! And I don’t KNOW the answer! I think in many cases it’s the direct relative first thing… but then when it comes to friends, maybe the primary friend? So if I am friends with Sue and my husband is friends with Joe, I would say “Sue and Joe” but he would say “Joe and Sue”???? I don’t know! For my parents though, it’s FLOW. My dad has a one-syllable name and my mom’s is two syllables. But I will be thinking about this!


  5. It’s true for me too! I always put the direct relative first, or if it’s a couple and the woman is my friend, her name first. My parents’ friends, the ones I send cards to, almost always have the man’s name first for some reason. I don’t know why!


  6. Hmm…this is mostly true for us, but if there is a couple where the number of syllables in the names isn’t the same, the longer name goes last (so we say Mike & Katie, even though Katie is the blood relative because it sounds better, I think). I don’t know if we’re particularly consistent, though!


  7. I never thought about but yes, in a conversation I use the name of the closer relation first. Same goes for friends -whoever was in my life first comes first. When addressing cards I usually write the woman’s name first though.


  8. Ditto everything above. The blood relative or person I know best usually comes first (or blood order, for siblings)…but then there are a few wild cards where I switch things up because of the cadence when saying it.
    It’s funny how we get used to a certain order, too, and how that changes between individuals.


  9. I think you hit the nail on the head – I think it’s the person’s name that I know better first in most cases (can’t even think of an exception, but there might be one LOL)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s