Thoughtful Thursday: Stickler

October 30, 2009

Thoughtful ThursdayBy nature I am a detail-oriented person, and I take a lot of care with every kind of detail. I am well aware that not everyone else is so concerned with precision. When other people make an error, sometimes I can be quite a stickler, and sometimes I let things go. Strangely, the issues that get to me the most aren’t necessarily the ones that matter the most. Here are some examples.

Perpetual stickler:

  • My name. My real name is impossible to spell and pronounce, and I have spent far too much of my life correcting people. The only times I let people use the wrong name are when I’m about to never see them again, as when my order is ready at Starbucks. Otherwise, I just can’t let it go. When I first met DH, he mangled my name, and I was so intent on correcting him that he thought I couldn’t stand him, and our relationship almost never got off the ground. Good thing we worked that out.
  • Misinformation. Especially as it pertains to my profession, there are issues that I just can’t let slide when I hear someone say something horribly wrong. I try not to be bossy and know-it-all, really I do, but sometimes I can’t help myself.


  • In the hospital both pre- and postnatally, the babies’ conception came up frequently. Quite a few times, a health care worker stated that the babies were conceived through IVF rather than IUI. Sometimes I was careful to correct them, when it seemed like the misinformation might make its way into the chart or otherwise stick around. Other times, especially when it was one practitioner talking to another rather than to me, I bit my tongue.
  • Also on the topic of fertility, sometimes I hear people say outlandish things about infertility problems and treatments. Sometimes I feel the need to educate them, and sometimes I shrug and move on.
  • The name of this blog. There is no “the” in the name. As I explained when I first started blogging, the blog name is a line in a Radiohead song. I realize that it doesn’t look quite right unless you know the song. I’ve seen lots of people add a “the” in their blogrolls, links to my blog on their blogs, etc. Occasionally I send someone an email with a friendly correction, but usually I don’t say anything because I don’t want to go around the blogosphere bossing people around. (But, if you have the name written wrong somewhere on your blog and now you would like to correct it, that would be lovely.)
  • “Are these your first?” As in, “Is this your first pregnancy?” or, other times, “Are these your first children?” To health care workers, I carefully explain my two miscarriages. To everyone else, I evade the pregnancy part of the question and simply say that these are my first children.


  • Tamale’s name. Burrito’s name, like the word burrito itself, is rarely mispronounced or misspelled. Tamale’s name, like the word tamale, has a few potential proper pronunciations (such as ta-MAH-lay and ta-MOLLY…) and many more mispronunciations (TA-muh-lay, TA-mail, ta-MAIL…). When I chose her actual name long ago, I had no idea that people would consider it as exotic as they do, and I had no idea that anyone would think to pronounce it any way other than the “right” way. Already in her short life, I have heard an incredible number of guesses as to the pronunciation. So far, I have been saying it properly to each person once, and then letting any subsequent mispronunciations go. As she grows up, I don’t want her to have the same visceral reaction to hearing her name misspoken that I do for my name, and I don’t want her to have to waste so much effort making people get it right. So what if a restaurant hostess or substitute teacher doesn’t say it right? I certainly don’t want her to be such a stickler about her name that she risks shooing away her future husband like I almost did. Some things are more important than the details being exactly right.

When are you a stickler? When do you let things go?

15 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Stickler”

  1. I’m pretty laid back but I can’t stand when someone says Peecan instead of Puhcaun. I’m Southern, sue me. LOL.

  2. My name. All my life it’s been my name. Before I was married, my first and my last name. I have to constantly correct people even after I say it to them. I’ve often asked people, am I saying it wrong? I’ve come to the conclusion, that people hear what they want to . I mean, my name isn’t exotic or anything, just…..different. Anf my maiden name they just always wanted to change it to a better known version of it. And don’t even get me started on my married name……

  3. Dorothy Dortin Says:

    How hard is it to spell DOROTHY! Most people leave out the second O. I have given up correcting people. When I see DORTHY I just let it go. And it does seen to be a generational thing. The younger you are the less likely you are to spell it correctly. I let some things slide at work, BUT if a co-worker is sloppy, lazy or messy I have to speak up. I hate, hate, hate cleaning up after people.

    And speaking of slobs…I work in retail. When you leave a knee deep pile of clothes in the fitting room we REMEMBER you. And yes, people leave more than clothes on the floor. It’s NOT a bathroom.

  4. I’m definitely a stickler when it comes to my name. Dutch people usually have no problem with it, but it’s a real challenge for the French (and also for the Americans, when we lived in the US). I don’t mind that they don’t know how to pronounce it when they have first seen my name in writing, but when I spell it for them, and then get mail and they still have it wrong, that drives me nuts.

    I can also be pretty bad when overhearing a conversation – when people talk about something that is factually wrong, I usually cannot help myself and have to interfere to correct them…

    When it comes to IF – I will say something if I hear people talk about IVF in the ‘octo mom’ way (i.e. that we’re all freaks). And I will hit someone on the head who talks about ‘taking’ instead of ‘having’ children, as if you can buy them in the supermarket (I know, this is not so often used in English, but in Dutch people say it a lot).

  5. Ana Says:

    Hmmm, good one! I am very detail-oriented in my own personal life & hold myself to a stricter code than I do others. I’ve realized that being laid back makes for more family harmony, so I’ve learned to be more relaxed & realized that letting things go sometimes is OK.In public, I think my general introvertedness & shyness comes into play & I seldom jump in to correct people, but I’m trying to actually do MORE of that, especially at work, when everyone should know better!

    Funny about the name, my real name is a nightmare for people. I think I got so used to the mispronounciations in early childhood that I take it in stride (mostly) now; though someone I see daily will get occasional reminders so that it doesn’t go on TOO LONG. What bothers me is when people (that I see more than in passing) don’t even TRY. People have tried to just say “hey you” or call me by my last name (which is easy, but they still misprounounce!!) then I will correct them repeatedly until they say something resembling my real name! So you’re right, if you let it go now, Tamale may be OK with all the variations on her name in the future.

  6. Kristin Says:

    Luckily, I was never a stickler for the spelling of my name because almost everyone initially misspells it. The oddest variation of my name was actually on a school certificate – Krystyn instead of Kristin.

    I am a grammar Nazi. It drives me insane to here or see blatant abuses.

    Like you, I feel the need to correct things when blatant misinformation is being passed on.

  7. Lavender Luz Says:

    I think I may be one of the people who has misspoken your name. But I try to say it right. I try!

    And, I cursed both Tessa and Reed with “huh?” names. Which I am a stickler about. Hopefully it won’t cost them a spouse someday.

    And I’m with you on misinformation.

  8. Elana Kahn Says:

    It’s funny…I’m also a stickler about my name. I’ve gotten every pronunciation under the sun and no one seems to realize that an E should sound like an E (eeeee, not uhhh or ahhh or ihhh) and an A should sound like an A (ahhh not eyyy). I’ll correct anyone that says it wrong…I even had to correct my dad once. lol

  9. Shinejil Says:

    Right now, I’m letting it ALL go…

  10. Julie Says:

    Both my maiden name and hubby’s name get butchered so while it bothers me (in terms of the grammar / how people come to a certain pronunciation) I’ll let it go.

    I’m a stickler for certain grammar rules (Misuse of well and good would be the biggest) The rule has to make sense though and certain ones annoy me far more than others.

    The girls’ names – they aren’t that unusual but still people will mess them up or spell them wrong.

    I tend to have an all or nothing viewpoint which doesn’t lend itself very well sometimes so I’m working on that (if I start cleaning the house a casual clean up usually turns into a major event)

  11. Mel Says:

    I feel like I’d describe myself as a stickler, but after saying that, I can’t come up with examples of places where I correct people. But I also can’t think of ways that I’m laidback. So what does that mean?

  12. Photogrl Says:

    My maiden name was always butchered. I was glad to marry into a “common” name.

    As for being a stickler, I’m really bad at work. It’s my way or the high way! 😉

    Home is different, I’m much more likely to let something slide….

  13. staciet Says:

    I’ve lost a lot of the sticklerness (a new word?) I had when I was younger. I used to go wild over the spelling and prenunciation–my first name is always spelled wrong and my last name is always pronounced incorrectly. Now, I don’t even think about it.

    I suppose I am a stickler at work, but only because that is the nature of what I do and not because I feel the urge!

  14. ^WiseGuy^ Says:

    Well, any late references I have made to you is by BabySmiling, and I am so glad!!!! But I have to browse through old entries to check if I made the same error as adding the ‘the’.

    When are you a stickler? When do you let things go?

    I am a non-stickler, when I feel it is okay for the other person to not know much. for e.g. when a person recently thought that me and hubby were still not all set to begin a family, I let her wrong impression be.

    Also, once upon a time, incorrect spellings used to ‘piss’ me off. But after browsing through pages and pages of sh*tty spellings and wrong grammar, I have let go that stickler gene for the sake of my sanity. But I do tend to correct pronounciations whenever possible.

    I am very conscious of my actual age, and I can’t stand being quoted older than I actually am. Recently, DH got me written as 32 on a train ticket, and I told him to not do that to me till December arrives.

    But I am also a stickler for details, when I am talking to my inner circle (of the docs that I now tend to visit)…tiny details, medications and all, they can’t say any less or more than the exact.

  15. I would LOVE to be a stickler about so many things but can’t seem to get up the will power. As it is, most of my stickler things are related to my mental health. For example, I don’t allow people to yell at me under any circumstance whatsoever. Yelling means relationship over. I’ve learned to just be a sort of stickler for “You did good” as opposed to “You did well.” It annoys me, and I certainly won’t allow Betty to say it, but you have to draw the line at correcting other adults’ grammar. I’m not a stickler about my name or Betty’s gender. Unless people go out of their way to pronounce my name right or ask me directly if Betty is a boy or a girl, I don’t bother correcting them. Too little time to correct folks while mama’s out and about.

    Re: Your other post, can I just say that the Burrito is super-duper cute. That nose!

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