When a nickname comes between a family, who is the one at fault? That’s what Redditor itsonlybee is asking, after her family got into a big argument over hers.
The original poster (OP) decided to ask the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit about her situation.
Her family relationships are strained so she asked:
“AITA for causing a family argument over my nickname?”
What is it about her nickname?
“I, (30F) have been ‘Bee’ since I was born, and still go by that nickname with my friends and family as an adult. My aunt started using the same nickname for her eldest granddaughter when she was born in 2008, for the purposes of this we’ll just call her granddaughter ‘LB’.”
“I really didn’t care, as it’s just a name, and I had been ‘Bee’ for seventeen years at that point.”
“Six years ago I was working at a zoo when my mum asked if I would send some exotic feathers to LB, as one of her hobbies was collecting feathers. I agreed, and posted her some I had found around the zoo with a little note briefly explaining the species, names and personality traits of the birds they belonged to.”
“A week later I was out at dinner with my sister and BIL when I noticed I had several missed calls from my aunt. We’ve never really had direct contact, so this seemed odd to me.”
“I checked my voicemail to find she had left me a message demanding that I call her back immediately in an angry tone.”
“I was still trying to decide if I wanted to return her calls or not when I received a text from my mother warning me that my aunt was angry I had signed the note to LB ‘with love from Bee’, as it had apparently upset LB, who was eight at the time, that I had stolen her name.”
“I don’t enjoy melodrama, so I opted out and went about my evening with my phone on silent.”
OP’s choice to ignore her aunt would lead to more issues.
“I saw my mum the next day, and she told me that she’d had a falling out with my aunt over my nickname, as my aunt was demanding that I stop calling myself ‘Bee’ because it was unfair and confusing for LB. She suggested that if I were desperate I could be called ‘Bigger Bee’, but that it would be better if I just changed it altogether.”
“We both laughed about it and I confirmed that what she had told my aunt the previous evening was correct. I wouldn’t change my nickname, and I didn’t expect LB to change hers, as far as I was concerned we could both be ‘Bee’ without causing harm.”
“In the end I didn’t answer any of my aunts calls, and my mum stopped taking them too. Later that morning I received a text from her saying that I was a b**** for what I was doing to LB, and for causing an argument between her and my mother, to which I never responded.”
“I chose not to have further contact with her side of the family, and have happily carried on going by ‘Bee’ in the intervening years, I assume that LB did too, although I’ve never asked. My mother resumed contact with my aunt after a few months, but things were always strained after that, and they were never close again.”
Not a great outcome, but not the worst either. Where’s the issue?
“Recently someone mentioned that I had caused an ‘ugly rift’ in the family by refusing to change my nickname for LB or take my aunts calls. They feel that I should have spoken to my aunt when she called and agreed to change my name to avoid hurting LB.”
“I feel I was right to stand my ground over both my nickname, and my choice not to engage in the argument or have any subsequent contact with my aunt, but their comment has planted a small seed of doubt. AITA?”
On Reddit, the users of the board judged OP’s refusal to change her nickname by including one of the following in their response:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
The board agreed that OP didn’t do anything wrong. Her nickname is hers, and while it’s fine if someone else has that nickname, she doesn’t have to change.
The final vote was NTA.
“You can’t just stop being Bee after 17+ years of being Bee.
Your aunt could have chosen another nickname for her kid.” – Primary-Criticism929
“Imagine when aunt realises there are other people with the same legal name as her grandkid too, she’s going to have to stomp round the school shaking kids until they repent their unimaginable crime and choose another name.” – Cookyy2k
“NTA, you aunt is the only a**hole in the entire situation. It was your name first for years.”
“She can’t be pissed that you don’t want to change it now to accommodate her not having to explain to her kid why someone else has the same name.” – Mkd7998
“NTA. I keep picturing the Spider-Man meme where they’re all pointing fingers at one another.”
“It’s been your name since forever though, and little bee sounds super cute. I don’t see what ur aunts problem is but you didn’t do anything wrong op” – Ojosdelsolsi
“NTA. Your aunt sounds weird, tbh. And with someone reacting like that you can be sure she would have found other reasons to cause a rift – because it’s her who did that.”
“Squash that seed of doubt. Your name is your name (even if it’s a nickname) and no one can demand you change it.” – unconscious_tomato
Other commenters questioned if there was more going on with the aunt than anyone considered.
“OP, you did nothing to stop them from using the nickname. Also, why couldn’t aunt just tell the kid at the time that sometimes people share nicknames and make it more special that way instead of selfishly insisting THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE.”
“Something tells me this runs deeper and isn’t actually about the nickname. I bet Aunt wants a similar status for her side or is competitive with OP’s Mom.”
“Hell, most of my cousins are named for older family members. We have two Colleens, 2 Pauls, 2 Pamelas, 2 Moses, 2 Christines, and the list goes on. No one is pissed about sharing a name or nickname.” – arahzel
“You may be right. My aunt is my mothers younger sister, and as far as I am aware has always been weirdly competitive about it.”
“She has gone as far as seeking contact with my mothers old friends (who were never part of her own social group) and claiming them as her own with the apparent intent of excluding my mother.”
“Mum is a lot like me and generally doesn’t engage with her one sided campaign for conflict, neither of us care for drama, I think she only got involved in this one because my aunt was going after me, and the nickname my mother had given me.”
“After reading your comment I realise there is a possibility my aunt had been waiting to have this argument for years, and I believe it may be likely she chose ‘Bee’ as a nickname for LB with that intent as it would be consistent with her pattern of behaviour.” – itsonlybee (OP)
“INFO – in the years between when you were 17 (when your aunt’s granddaughter was born) and 24 (when the incident happened) how was the whole ‘Bee’ situation in those years?”
“Seems odd that all of a sudden after 8 years, the ‘girl’ has a problem with your nickname? What about your aunt’s son or daughter, LB’s parent, did THEY embellish the issue? Like ‘oh your (what are you to her, aunt?) is using YOUR name how dare she?)”
“I just don’t understand how after her being alive and in your family, suddenly has a problem.” – tinny36
“As far as I am aware it was never an issue. I never had a lot to do with my aunt or cousin as we have little in common and they live thousands of kilometres away.”
“On the two occasions I met LB as an infant I was referred to as ‘Bee’ and she was referred to by her first name. I assume my aunt called me ‘Bee’ at the time, because it would have been odd for her to call me anything else and I surely would have noticed.”
“I expect I must have been told she was also ‘Bee’ at some point early on, but as I had nothing to do with them it didn’t really matter to me.”
“When it became an issue in 2016 it didn’t bother me at all that she was known by the same nickname, as I had been known as ‘Bee’ for seventeen years before she was born and it was unlikely LB and I would ever have much to do with one another so potential confusion wasn’t really an issue.”
“My cousin did get involved in the argument between my mother and aunt at some point, if I recall correctly she called my mum and apologised for ‘throwing her under the bus’ over it, but as I didn’t engage with the argument, I’m not certain what that was in reference to.” – itsonlybee (OP)
OP can feel confident knowing that her nickname is safely hers, no worries about needing to change it.