Bfth's Pet Peeve: I'm Not Elizabeth

I'm BETH.  That's the name that my family has called me since I was born.   Sometimes I've been called by Bethie (a nickname started by my brother) or Bethers (a nickname that started in college), but I've always been Beth.  I've never been Liz (although I have tried it; just didn't fit).  I've never been Eliza, Betty or Betsy.  Plain and simple, I'm Beth.

This blog says that I'm BFTH, a name I gave myself when many years ago I in a group that was making name bracelets with beads.  We ran out of Es so I used an F (hey it's pretty close).  Hence, I became BFTH.  I thought it was pretty cute, so when I started this blog, I used it.  (Sadly, I no longer have the bracelet.)

Plain and simple, if you are referring to me, you should call me Beth, or a variation of that if we are close friends.  (Very few people have the honor of referring to me as Bethers.)

I've nothing against the name Elizabeth.  It's on my birth certificate and other official documents.  Legally, that's what I use.  But if you're meeting me, I will introduce myself to you as Beth.  Even if my email address has Elizabeth as part of it, I will sign my name as Beth.  My voicemail says Beth.  If I leave you a message I will leave my name as Beth.

It's obvious when I receive mail (electronic or postal) that is addressed to Elizabeth it's either spam or something "official." (Jury Duty time again?)  But when it's not; it really gets under my skin.  If we've met more than once, you should know that I'm Beth.  If we've corresponded or spoken on the phone, you should call me Beth.  PLEASE call me Beth.

I once worked for a very small (teeny tiny) company that already had a Beth working there and she had worked there for over a decade.  I can recall saying when I was offered the position that I hoped they could handle having two Beths on staff.  They couldn't.  The head of the business insisted on calling me Elizabeth.  (Even worse, he was in an office across the hall from me and would shout out from his desk whenever he wanted something.  Worse than nails on a blackboard; I would cringe every time.)  While that is not the reason why I left, it certainly didn't make me feel warm and welcome.

When I started my current job, I made sure I was introduced as Beth.  A co-worker was introduced to me as Kathy, but later I heard others calling her Kathleen.  A day or two later, I asked her what she preferred.  It was Kathleen.  I NEVER called her Kathy again.  (Although a few times I've called out "Hey Kath" but that's a term of endearment.)  Every once in a while, I will receive email from co-workers that say Elizabeth.  I cringe, but realize that my business email address uses Elizabeth and since most of my co-workers are off site and we have not met face to face, I try to let it go.  But I know when we meet face to face and I introduce myself, I will emphasize BETH.

As Dale Carnegie once said:  “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language” Call me Beth and I'll know that you care about me as a person.  Call me Elizabeth and I'm just another meaningless face in the crowd.   Please, call me Beth. Or Bfth; that will guarantee a smile.


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