Having moved to another city/location where most people don't know you, what would be the proper way to tell people you prefer to be called by a nickname?

I guess one could usually just introduce himself by the nickname, and eventually reveal that your actual name is different. However this is not possible in situations where the legal name is required, like when enrolling for a course, for example.

[edit] I'd be specially interested in the scenario where you join an already existing class. Case in point: I'm joining a martial arts academy; the secretary already has my name on paper, instructors and other students do not.

In case it's important: I'm currently located in the South Region of Brazil. But general answers are welcome.


4 Answers 4


When I've taken classes (small class size only) I generally find the instructor goes around the room and gives the students a chance to say hi, introduce themselves and what they're called.

For example, I had a friend whose name was William Alexander but all of the men in his family are named "William _____" so they all go by their middle names. So when we were introducing ourselves, he said

I'm on the roster as "William" but I go by my middle name, "Alex".

This format works for most occasions, whether they know your name or not. Even if you're not able to introduce yourself to the class, if you're speaking with the teacher/professor after class and you want to be certain they know who you are on the roster, you can do the same thing.

Because you asked, if you're joining an existing class, how they introduce new students (if they even do) will vary widely based on the class. Some classes may not specifically welcome new students but you should still be able to greet the teacher by arriving early to the first class and introducing yourself with the above phrase or something similar. If they do have a "meet the new student" introduction, you can let them know at that time. If you really want them to know your preferred name before you get there, you could also let them know in advance either over the phone or by email.

If you're introducing yourself to someone who doesn't know your name already, you can just introduce yourself by what you prefer to be called. It's possible that this may cause some small amount of confusion at some point, but even if you introduce yourself with your actual name and your nickname, there's no guarantee that in a couple of months they'll remember the name you've never used.

I think the exception to this may be if your preferred name is not a "normal" name. It's one thing to go by "Alex" instead of "Alexander" but if your name's "Alexander" and you go by "Gooshie" you might want to go with the full explanation.

I didn't find out about Alex using his middle name until long after I'd met him. I'd assumed that was is first name, so when he explained it, I found it interesting (I also know his dad, "Mike") that they have this family tradition.

"Gooshie" is short for Dr. Gushman... or so says a couple of sources I've seen.

  • Thanks for answering. Concerning your first paragraph, does it usually also happen when you join an already existing class? In my specific scenario, I'll be soon joining a martial arts academy; they (the secretary, actually) already have my name on paper.
    – Marc.2377
    Sep 23, 2017 at 2:31
  • I've edited to explain that situation. As a note, if you have specific concerns like that they should be included in your question :D
    – Catija
    Sep 23, 2017 at 2:38
  • Sure thing! Edited.
    – Marc.2377
    Sep 23, 2017 at 4:37
  • 1
    My nickname is "noodles"(as you may guess). Everybody in my neighbourhood knows me as that. A lot don't even know my real name. My parent's even gave me a mug with the name etched into it one birthday. There's no real exciting story behind it though, as people expect. If I join a class I'm too embarrassed to say it, so I just wait for them to hear somebody call me it, then it spreads by itself. ;)
    – n00dles
    Sep 24, 2017 at 2:43

When you join the class, you probably will be asked to introduce yourself. If not, ask your secretary/instructor to allow you to introduce yourself. And then just say, for example

Hello everyone! (Hi/Hey) My name is 'Marcus' but you can call me 'Marc'

And that should get your message across. Also, if you get a chance to introduce yourself informally to your colleagues, just introduce yourself as 'Marc' from there on.

Enough people start calling you by that name and everyone will soon know you as 'Marc'


When I was younger most of my friends didn't use their given names, for um... reasons...

Most everyone had a name that was more or less assigned by the group. It wasn't necessarily a deliberate process, it was just sort of what people came to be called over time.

There were names like Nazi Rob, Other Rob, Crackhead, Scummy, and so on.

Usually these names took a firmer hold when these characters would be introduced to others using them. Obviously most of these names weren't flattering, but we were often particularly harsh in assigning new names to people who tried to invent or change their own names.

If you're simply trying to carry on an existing name to a new location just introduce yourself that way and hope it catches on before someone else assigns you a new one.

Hey, I'm SoAndSo, but people call me SuchAndSuch.

Or just:

Hey, I'm SuchAndSuch

I wouldn't necessarily expect an instructor to accept using your nickname, but there are advantages to having alternate name/s. It makes it really easy to sort where people know you from...

  • 2
    "Hey, I'm SoAndSo, but people call me SuchAndSuch."__ Really simple way to do it, @apaul34208. As I read this answer you have written 100+ answers and your reputation score reads 9996 so I am justifiably proud to (be the one to) upvote you past 10000, the first 10k+ reputation points member of IPS.SE! Sep 25, 2017 at 13:44

Introduce youself by the name you want to be called. If it ever comes up, or if there is confusion, you can say, "Yep my given name is X, but I go by Y."

I'm reminded of when I was a teenager. My little band, we went by "Ape", "Trape", "Rape", and "Stape". Or "Ope", "Trope", "Rope", and "Stope". Basically we cycled through the vowels... ;D

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