It was 2006ish, and I was on a mission to Be More Outgoing. I’d been reading about how extraverts are social creatures who like groups. And my preference was sitting in mostly deserted bars, alone, with a novel. So…I decided to spend more time in group situations.
This particular Personal Initiative (as I call my self-improvement projects) was going seriously well. I’d joined a dodgeball team as an “indie” player and met some seriously professional extraverts…befriended a coworker who had a large friend circle…And started “grabbing coffee” with acquaintances who worked on my same floor. It was genius.
I felt super accomplished…until I made a few Observations:
- Observation #1 – Group situations are often loud.
- Observation #2 – When you’re in a loud group situation with people you don’t know very well, there is a lot of introducing yourself.
- Observation #3 – Introducing yourself in loud group situations by repeating your name four times (in an attempt to get your new acquaintance to pronounce it correctly) doesn’t help them pronounce it correctly.
Once the Observations hit me, I started to notice other things. Like how my name on my Starbucks cup would change from the time I ordered it to the time the barista announced it (and how my latte would always get grabbed by someone named “Jenny”).
Oh! And the best part: the only surefire way to get guys to remember my name was to associate it with the cartoon.
Soooo…to combat all the confusion and continue to succeed at Personal Initiative: Be More Outgoing (PI:BMO)…I got in the habit of introducing myself as “Sofie” when I was in loud spaces.
Worked like a charm. Sofie is a very easy name to understand. Guys understood it on the first try. And since it wasn’t my real name, I didn’t care if it was misspelled on my Starbucks cup.
Win, win, win.
When Eric heard me use my “Bar Name” for the first time, his eyes lit up.
He’s called me Sofie ever since. And we started dating less than two months after that night.
Fast forward to our Big Idea 2012: opening The Wicked Hair…I decided resurrecting some facets of PI:BMO would be a fantastic idea, given that we were moving to a new town and knew about three people.
Sofie seemed like the right name to use in a new town…for all the reasons it works in loud group situations…AND because no one would ever question whether a dude was going to be giving them a Brazilian.
And to be honest, it’s been a great eight-ish years. As Sofie, I’ve gotten more confident, outgoing, and friendly. I’m more comfortable in my own skin…mostly through helping people become more confident in theirs.
But here’s the crazy bit: With confidence has come better enunciation in social situations. And with better enunciation along with said confidence…people aren’t misunderstanding me when I say “Jeri” (not as often, anyway).
So I’ve made the decision to reclaim my identity. From now on, I’ll own my name as it was given to me: Jeri.
And no, Jeri is not short for anything.
I’ll slip up and call myself Sofie for a while. I know Eric will always call me Sofie. And for those of you who’ve only known me as Sofie, please don’t get worried. I still answer to it. I really love the name and all the great memories that have accompanied it.
Whew! That was a long story! Thanks for reading! If you’re in need of further explanation, or maybe just a stellar Brazilian, join me at the studio. I’d love to see you there.
Have a great day –
Jeri (F.K.A Sofie)