Who doesn't use their first name at all?

Most people use either their full first name or a diminutive in everyday life. Who out there uses their middle name, a nickname not related to their first name, or something more unusual? (I’m excluding people who have changed their name legally). When and why did you do it, or did your family/friends do it for you? How much of a hassle do you have with licenses and such if you never use your legal first name?
I used to be in this club. I was a “Junior” to my dad, who deserted my family when I was really young. So when I got an unrelated nickname from the neighborhood kids, my family and friends very quickly adopted it. Indeed, I used the nickname so much even my high school transcripts use it. That caused a lot of problems with college apps so I started using a shortened version of my real name in college and have stuck with it ever since?

I use my middle name as do most of the males in my family. It is a family tradition and it starts at birth. Our first name is given according to historical or honorary traditions but isn’t meant to actually be used in daily. The middle name is the one that everyone knows us by.

It isn’t too much of a hassle for me. I have to make a special effort when I start a new job or join something so that people know to list me under my middle name. I did have one problem last month on a return flight for a business trip. The plane ticket was under my middle name because work made the reservations for me. TSA wouldn’t let me into the security line until I went back to the airline and made them update the name on the ticket. I have no idea why it was an issue that one time and not the others.

There are some benefits to going by your middle name as well. For example, if I answer the phone and someone refers to me by my first name or, even worse, a variation of it that I have never used, it is a safe bet that it isn’t someone that I need to talk to so I can just hang the phone up right then.

I am named after my two grandmothers. The two names just roll off the tongue better in this order. I had a cousin on the one grandmother’s side who was also named after her, and my parents didn’t want there to be two of us with the same name at all the same parties, etc., so I have always gone by my middle name.

It can be a pain filling out paperwork. Sometimes there is a whole field for the first name and just space for an initial for the middle name. I tend to write initial, middle name, last name and hope they can work it out… On all of my banking and legal paperwork I have both of my names listed, so it doesn’t matter which one I use to sign with. I still get greeted by my first name on the screen when I go to the ATM, though. Those machines never learn… :0)

Often when I start out in a new place (classes, HR Departments, etc.) I have to correct the first person I come across when they address me by my first name, but it’s not an issue after that. It hasn’t really been a big deal in my daily life and most people are surprised when they find out because it’s just normal now…

99% of the people I know use my middle name.
It’s somewhat unusual though and frankly I get tired of explaining it to people I will not develop personal relationships with so with business associates I use my first name which is a common one.

Yeah…I don’t even know why my parents gave me the first name they did, because they never, ever used it. Used a diminutive of my middle name and my “official” name was the non-diminutive.

The first name did have to appear on my driver’s license so for 40 years the only time I heard it, it meant I was about to get a ticket. Oh, some hilarity ensued when a friend and I were hitchhiking across the country. We stuck out our thumbs at the wrong place and got hassled by the cops, who made us show ID. My friend went by Duck and I of course went by my middle name. So the cops are saying, “Well, Carol…” and she says, “Your name’s Carol?” So when they called her Denise I said, “Your name’s Denise?” And of course then they thought we’d stolen the IDs.

Due to the residue of the 9/11 unpleasantness things have changed. When I bought my house in 2008 I had to use my first name–for the first time (this is my fourth house). When I renewed my driver’s license in 2013 it turned out that the driver’s license name and the name on the social security card has to match, so I had to go and change that at the SS office, which was extremely weird because everyone else my age who was in the office that day was getting questions answered about their retirement benefits.

My papa. I’m changing names to protect the guilty, but if he was formally named “Whack Doodle Poinsettia,” he always asked people to call him “Doodle.” That’s because he was named after his uncle, Whack, who was a really shitten puke-wad of a wife-beating drunkard, and my pop didn’t care to be a living memorial for that monster.

I used to use A. Middle Barbarian as a nom de guerre (the writing war, that is). Although I’ve long since dropped that, it’s left me with an endless fascination for people who drop their first name or use a first initial. I need to collate my large mess of notes into a consistent list of famous and well-known people who have done so.

There are at least two Presidents, Thomas W. Wilson and Stephen G. Cleveland, as well as the odd case of David Dwight Eisenhower.

…and I almost forgot Hiram U. Grant and John C. Coolidge. And there’s Leslie Lynch King, William J. Blythe and that Truman fella. I’d forgotten how many oddities there were…

Emily is actually my middle name. It’s what everyone calls me. But when I was registered for elementary and high school, I was registered under my full name, and so teachers always called me by my first name at first. And sometimes I got letters addressed to my first name, and ID cards issued in my first name. I hated it so much that when I registered myself for junior college and university, I said “screw it” and just registered under the name Emily and my last name, leaving my first name out altogether. Didn’t seem to cause any problems.

Fun fact: My initials spell K.E.G.

I am named after my father, so my parents called me by my middle name to avoid confusion. I’ve stuck with that all my life, and most of my friends aren’t aware that what they think is my first name is actually my middle name.

As an adult I use the first initial/middle name construction, and have experienced the predictable logistical headaches. Most forms (whether paper or on a computer) are set up as First Name, Middle Initial, Last Name. Usually I can work around this. The real annoyance is when people try to “fix” my name by moving the first initial to the middle position. I’ve had people (usually minor bureaucratic types) do this right in front of me, sometimes even emitting an exasperated sigh as they get a bottle of whiteout from a desk drawer. Then there are the problems with people who say “I can’t locate your file,” “you aren’t in our system,” etc.

One odd thing I’ve noticed is that people became much more tolerant of my middle-name thing once I was an adult. When I was in school, I was occasionally hassled by teachers, administrators, and secretaries who insisted that my first name was my “real” name and I should just accept that, no matter how much I hated it. And, of course, once other kids hear that you don’t like your “real name,” they’ll taunt you with it endlessly.

Although I enjoy the literary flair of having an “F. Scott Fitzgerald”-style name, I do recommend that parents give their kids first names that they actually intend to use.

Concur. Our kids all have perfectly respectable first names and unusual to very unusual middle names they can hide, use on stage or drop at marriage. :smiley:

My son is called almost exclusively by his middle name… I’m sure many of his acquaintances are not even aware that it is not his given first name. His first name is the same as my father, who we wanted to honor. We considered making my fathers name his middle name, but it seemed to sound better to us to list my fathers name first, then our selected name as a middle name. From the start we (and everyone else) called him by his middle name. My sister ultimately married a man with the same first name as our father, so its just as well to limit confusion.

It is occasionally confusing when we have to deal with something official (doctors office, for example) that know him by his first name.

The strangest case that I am familiar with is my youngest brother. My parents knew he was going to be the last child but they still had a list of people that they wanted to honor that was longer than regular names allow so he ended up with first name that he has never used and doesn’t even relate to, a middle name to honor our grandfather and a designated nickname to honor another relative. He has gone by the designated nickname since birth.

He is in the military now and does not like the fact that they refuse to use his designated nickname for anything and insist on using his first name which might as well belong to someone else because he has never identified with it at all. He is considering getting a legal name change to replace his first name with his designated nickname.

This is such an American thing. I was befuddled when I moved to Florida from Australia, and, for my job, started meeting lots of kids and enrolling them in a recreation program. I’d ask the parents what the kid’s name was, and they’d say, “William Henry Harper Charles Jackson, only he goes by Charlie.”

Bizarre, never came across anything like it in Aust or Europe. If you want to call your kid Charlie, name them Charlie, or Charles if you must.

A lot of the people in the Society for Creative Anachronism are known only by their SCA name to family, friends & co-workers; it’s a name that they chose for themselves and identify with strongly.

A story similar to Hilarity’s above:

Four local SCA people (Minnesota) were heading up to an SCA event in Winnepeg. One of them, a woman, had taken some allergy medication which knocked her out. When they got to the border, the border guard asks for their names. “Dave.” “Ben.” “Charles. Oh, and that’s Ann, sleeping in the back.”

Border guard points out that he needs to speak with Ann, to make sure she knows where she is and who she’s traveling with, so they wake her up and ask her:

“I’m Patrice, and they’re Owen, Thorbjorn, and Ulric.”

Detention and questioning ensued.

My father’s given name was W. H. It’s a Southern thing. And his family called him “Dub”, short for W. But the Army refused to recognize W. H. as a name, so he told them his name was William Haade (sort of a callback to his grandfather’s name). So all of his military and work records from that time on had him as William H. and after that, with co-workers, he was “Bill”. But he was still “Dub” to his family.

I’ve been Rick all of my life (well, Ricky when I was little), but I had a third grade teacher who refused to believe in nicknames, so my entire time with her, I was Richard. My cousin had had her the year before. My cousin is Nicky, though her real name is Naomi Claire, so this teacher called her Naomi her entire year, even though it’s never a name she has used.

Another Southern girl here - I have always gone by a nickname of my middle name. Makes it interesting in doctor’s offices when I see a new one - I don’t actually notice people calling my first name.

It is very handy in an information age. If I get emails, calls, or letters addressed to my first name, i know there’s nothing I need to care about inside.

It’s also handy because my nickname is a predominantly male nickname : think Bobby or Harry. So a lot of people who I work with over email or via text think that I’m male, which helps me be taken more seriously. By the time I meet them in person, they already know me, and know that I’m competent.

I’ve been pretty happy with it so far, and plan to do the same for my kids if I have them.

My full legal name is Larry Douglas Montgomery. But my Dad’s first name was Harry and my older brother’s is Gary; so my parents always called me by my middle name. So does everyone else. Besides, I didn’t want personal identification with Larry of the Three Stooges.

I knew someone in high school who always went by his last name. Sometimes you’d meet the odd person who called him by his first (and I’m sure his family did), but he was almost exclusively called by his last name.

One would assume he had no siblings.