I don’t want to be called by a nickname.

My name is Susan. I introduce myself to people as Susan and sign emails with the name Susan…yet people still constantly call me Sue. I like my name but I hate being called Sue. How can I correct people without being rude?

You can’t correct everyone, just some people. You’re allowed to correct the people you’re in contact with regularly, and with whom you’ll be having an ongoing relationship: your financial advisor, your kid’s teacher, a client. In this case, I would start off slowly. Drop hints. “Hi, Bob, it’s SUSAN calling. SUSAN Jones.” Sign all your emails, “Best regards, SUSAN.” If it’s really not making a dent, and you’re still getting the nickname, it’s okay to say, nicely, “Hey, Bob, I prefer to be called Susan.” And then move on. “So anyway, what did you think about that Bills game this weekend?” Don’t be all like, “I HATE being called Sue! It reminds me of my next door neighbor from childhood who liked to sleep with her cat on her face and used to eat other kids’ leftover sandwich crusts in school.”

That would make Bob feel uncomfortable.

Now, if it’s a toll booth operator you see every day, or a customer service rep for Direct TV (some of the most useless people I’ve EVER spoken with, by the way), and he calls you Sue, there’s no need to correct him. It’ll just embarrass him, and accomplish one thing: when you walk away, he’s going to say to himself, “Christ on a cracker, that Sue is a real bitch.”

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