Saturday, August 25, 2012

Should You Give a Guy Your Last Name?

I used to ask girls for their last name when I got their phone numbers. I would do this for two reasons:
  1. Because it was normally a hint about their ethnic background or family history, which could lead to interesting conversation or tell me a little more about her.
  2. Because there was an empty field for it in my phone contact and I felt compelled to complete it.
A lot of girls balked at my request for their last name. This was understandable, since they didn't know me well, and I supposed they didn't like the idea that I might be able to look them up online. Enough women refused (I'd say more than half) that I eventually stopped asking. After all, I would learn it eventually, and it didn't matter much in the meantime. I could curb my need to complete the empty field in my contacts, and if I was curious to know their ethnic background I would just ask about it.

I suspect other guys have had similar experiences, so it is fair to say that most men won't mind if you don't give them your last name - this is expected. Certainly they won't hold it against you if they ask for it and you tell them "I'll tell you when we get to know each other a little better."

However, on rare occasions I will ask a girl for her number and she will actually volunteer her last name. This seems like a small thing, but in retrospect it goes a long way in forming my initial impression of a girl. Again, I would never hold it against her if she didn't want to give me her last name, but her offering it is like a breath of fresh air. In the middle of a world of skepticism, mistrust, and concern about stalking, you suddenly stumble upon someone who trusts, who is open, candid, and unassuming. Some might call these girls naive, but from the perspective of a guy who is genuinely interested in getting to know her, it is a sign of goodwill, openness and trust. This is very endearing and feminine. People tend to expect from others what they are disposed to themselves, so a girl who is willing to give you her last name is the kind of girl that assumes the best of everyone - probably because she is a good person herself. This is the kind of girl that men like.

So the next time he is taking down your number, offer your last name too.

21 comments:

  1. LOL, I love this post because it highlights one of the major areas of paranoia among the sexes. I think most girls also don't like the request because they think that you might be such a player that you need last names to keep track of all your women. I know a few of my friends have said that actually. I also went out with a guy last year, and when we exchanged numbers, I asked what his last name was. On our second date he said that I must have google searched him. when I said no, his feathers got kind of ruffled and he asked if I had so many guys names in my phone that I needed last names...so apparently it goes both ways lol....

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  2. I haven't liked giving my last name ever since someone teased me about it rhyming with my first name! :P But you make a good point here.

    PS--You know, Andrew, when I first saw this post, I thought that it would be a satire about a man taking his wife's name after marriage! Hahahaha!

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    1. Haha, no but that's probably a good post idea.

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  3. What should women think if a guy doesn't offer or give his last name? Is there something to be read into that? Should we assume that he wants to retain anonymity and keep things light, or is it something that is not considered upon first introduction? I would definitely say there isn't that feeling of sharing or warmth when a last name is left in question, but should it be considered a red flag to ladies looking to find a lasting relationship?

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    1. Upon first introduction it shouldn't be read into. If, after a few dates you ask and he won't tell you, then I'd be worried.

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  4. When I started reading this post, I thought uh-oh, I think I've been a bad girl...But I was so glad I was wrong. I'm one of those girls who automatically volunteer my last name when asked my number. I never even think about stalkers. I trust my "goodguy-dar" which is a very well-honed and good "guydar" :) I don't give out my number to folks I don't have a good feeling on, so no first name either LOL

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  5. I often want a man's last name but I don't know how to ask for it.
    Maybe if I offer up mine he will return the favor?

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    1. Just wait until he asks for yours, then ask for his. If he doesn't ask for a while, it wouldn't be weird or unnatural for you to ask for his, even if it was completely out of the blue: "It just occurred to me that I don't actually know your last name... what is it?"

      If asking him that question after a few dates would make you nervous (i.e. because you'd anticipate him not wanting to give it to you and possibly refusing), then it isn't a good relationship to be pursuing.

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    2. If asking him that question after a few dates would make you nervous (i.e. because you'd anticipate him not wanting to give it to you and possibly refusing), then it isn't a good relationship to be pursuing."

      I wouldn't feel comfortable "dating" a guy whose last name I didn't know, even once.

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  6. Hi Andrew, I've been reading your blog for a long time and really enjoyed this post. I don't give my last name out unless asked because I almost don't want to seem pushy, but I never thought of it as being open, which I'd like to think I am. Another reason I don't offer my last name is because it's... Ho. haha it invites a lot of inappropriate puns. But now that I think of it, it's a fun conversation starter. Anyway, thanks - I enjoy your blog.

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  7. Andrew, my surname is prone to mispronunciation, so it's never fun to have to correct people over and over again. I am looking to get rid of it lol, if for nothing, for this reason alone.
    Also, I find that men volunteer their surnames readily, and forget to ask me mine until I do know them pretty well. And even so, they are not so much interesed in my surname as my equally odd and unpronouncable middle name (one of my 5 first names) that I use as an initial. No-one wants to know my surname :-( but that works out quite well for me :-)

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  8. Thanks for this post. I usually give my surname to guys and I've sometimes felt too "easy" doing it. But guys don't always ask specifically for it though - like last time a guy asked if he could have my number, I said ok, he went to "add contact" on his phone, then gave me the phone. I put both my names and number. It's still the right thing to do?
    And btw, my first name is not so common and my surname is difficult to spell which might be why guys usually ask me to write it down myself.
    I've always given my surname to guys if they ask me to put down my number, if I felt unsafe doing so, I wouldn't have talked to them or given them my number in the first place. I'd say that if a girl refuses, she's not that interested. Of course you can stalk her online, but most people have googled themselves these days, and there is rarely any info out there which you have no control over.

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  9. Hi Andrew,

    Interesting post. But as someone who's a survivor of domestic violence and also has had a former boyfriend stalk me, I prefer not to give out my last name or address at first. At least until I've talked to the fellow for a bit.

    It's not a matter of cynicism or mistrust, but safety and wisdom on my part to be cautious and careful and make sure that only a truly nice guy gets that information.

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  10. I agree with FruitFly75. I've done a lot of online dating, and have met characters who seem okay on email, but really strange in real life. Or when I've exchanged numbers with a guy online, he calls me really late at night / early in the morning. Both my first and last names are unusual, and once you know the correct spelling, you can google me and find out where I work and live. (Years ago I registered a website with my real address, and those records are still online, even though I changed the registration details. D'oh!)

    The majority of men are decent human beings, but it's the types that abuse my phone number and turn up to dates acting strange that I worry about. This is why I don't give my last name until I've met him in real life a few times, and feel comfortable with him.

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  11. Everyone gives there last name these days... people don't call anymore, they send Facebook messages! Your full name is like your phone number...
    Sally.

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    1. *their last names
      sally.

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  12. @Andrew, This is more related to openness than giving a guy your last name, but here's my question: How can a girl really be open to all ideas? I love ideas, they move me, they excite me, and they make me think, but it is just true that some ideas are bad ones. Being open to *everything* means entertaining bad philosophies too, doesn't it?

    I actually find myself thinking about this a lot. I want to be open to a lot of ideas, but the line needs to be drawn somewhere. I want to be open, but not if it means being open to fanaticism or dangerous ideas. When I'm forming ideas about politics or who I want to support, for example, I can't be open to everything - at some level, I have to make a judgment about which ideas are better than others in order to have an opinion of any kind.

    Is it possible to be open and still have defined opinions about things?

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  13. What an imposing question. I think a person who asks intrusive questions to a stranger raises red flags about their temperament. I think it is generally accepted that trust is built over time and not instantly.. If a girl asked me my last name too soon, I might be a little suspicious.

    Further, you can find where some people live. You can get information about any judgements like bankruptcy or divorce.

    So my question is why put someone on the spot with an intrusive question? Why not just be cognizant and sensitive to a person's potential personal info? They may be bankrupt but not ready to share or embarrassed. You should just take all of it slow so you can learn about each other in a comfortable and natural way. Let people share their info with you. Don't pry it out of them.

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  14. Frankly, I find it ridiculous to ask a stranger for their last name, unless you've met through a social circle that are a part of. I am a guy, by the way.

    I'd interpret this question as let's-be-friends and network, i.e. zero romantic intent. If there is clear romantic interest, I'd avoid answering at all costs, since information destroys attraction.

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  15. I am dating a guy and on the first name, he showed me his ID to prove his date of birth and he placed his thumb on his last name to block it. On the second date, he asked me for my last name. He told me that he wanted to see my profile with the company that he works for. However, recently I asked him for his last name, he diverted the question rather than answering me.

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  16. I meant to say: on the first date, while dining, he showed me his ID and blocked his last name with his thumb

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