This is probably something about 99.999% of people do not experience and probably will never understand, but it’s something I constantly experience and can even meddle with my life. That is, I am afraid to call people’s names, as in, I find ti difficult to call someone by their name. I would rather walk up to them and say what I need, rather than “NAME, come here!”

For years, I was unable to say “Mum” or “Dad” to my parents. Yes, can you imagine? It’s difficult even to call family members by their title.

Often, people misunderstood my inability to call people’s names as I didn’t like them or didn’t consider them as such, such as “not calling my parents Mum or Dad meant I didn’t consider them that”. In fact, that’s very wrong. My root feeling is embarrassment. Why? Possibly because I didn’t grow up doing it, I wasn’t really taught to call names, so I’ve lived my entire life not really calling people by their names. To suddenly do that is extremely difficult and I usually feel awkward doing it, perhaps even stupid. Another one of my difficulties is I am particularly embarrassed if I feel that I didn’t do something well. For example, if I didn’t pronounce a name right, I would also feel extremely embarrassed.

However, let me tell you that YOU CAN GET OVER THIS! Here are 5 steps:

Understand why you are doing this

Before you even attempt to change, you have to think about why you want to do this. Is it to make someone else happy? Does it mean a lot to them that you’d try and call them by their name? I know some people don’t care about it much but others may feel that their dream is to hear you call them something. You have to really think about where your motivation comes from. Is it to make them happy? Is it so that you wouldn’t have regrets about this, ever? Sometimes, the desire to make someone else happy is enough for you to make a big change, no matter how difficult it is.

Get them to hide their initial Reaction

This works so well for me! It seems to be more embarrassing for me if I see a huge reaction when I’m first starting to learn. I don’t know why, but it’s just difficult. What really works is asking them to make a huge reaction not in front of me, or later when I’m used to it, but hide it at the beginning.

Get them to Teach You

Learning to call people’s names is almost like a skill. As a baby, you aren’t expected to be able to do something right away. It takes teaching and practise, so this should be the same! The first thing you need to do is get someone you trust, who won’t judge you, perhaps the person you are calling, to teach you HOW to do it. Yes, you do know how to call but to actually say it out aloud is different and if you’re like me, you may find that very difficult at first. So, what you need is for the other person to slowly teach you, to say it first, so that you can hear and see how it’s done.

You will need them to teach you under what circumstances is the best to call people by their names (or titles).

Practise with Help

Now, get them to help you practise calling their name. So for example, they say it first, and you repeat after them. Kind of like a child imitating an adult on learning a new skill. This is truly important because without the learning and practicing stage, you will find it very hard.

At this stage, you may feel awkward and silly, because you’re not used to it, but hang in there. If you keep practicing, it WILL get easier!

Start with just repeating after them, then slowly start doing it more yourself or let them give you hints.

Start to Practise on your Own

Now that you’ve been taught and you’ve practiced, it’s time to start braving the new world and trying to flap your wings for the first time. (In this case, I mean call people’s names). You may fall, you may stumble, but it’s alright. Nobody is going to be perfect, but just try your best.

Learn from what they’ve taught you about what circumstances you’d call people by their names, and do it!

At this point, there isn’t a need to feel embarrassed because the people who’s teaching you are expecting you to do it, so it’s not a surprise. For me, I get ultra embarrassed when I do things like this spontaneously, whereas it’s so much easier if the person knows what I’m doing.

Important: You need to make it clear to the person that this is difficult for you, and that you’re not trying to be rude, but it truly is hard and you need to learn it, because they are going to need a lot of patience, as it won’t be easy to start. However, the good news is, when you form a habit of calling people by their names and start doing it naturally, you will not get embarrassed about it anymore, nor does it feel weird in any ways to call them.