How to react to "What's your name?"

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#1 Mar 2nd, 2009, 14:32
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  • Wildhorse is offline
#1
Hi All,

Not sure if it's OK to start this a new thread. I've been following the "Pens as Gifts" thread but my question is somewhat different.

How do you react to "What's your name?". I'm not talking about people I meet and actually talk to, e.g. on a train or in a shop, people I actually interact with. Of course I do tell them my name if they ask for it.

What I'm talking about is a situation like this: I'm walking in the street and really every single child yells "What's your name" at me. Nobody can possibly reply to this question 200 times per hour, and thousands of times per day; apart from the fact that I find it useless because my name means absolutely nothing to them, it's just a sound. If I'm asked just once or twice a day, I do reply, although I feel that there's no point, but hundreds of times in a row? I find this just too much to bear. So I just smile and keep quiet.

Any other suggestions?
#2 Mar 2nd, 2009, 15:24
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#2
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Originally Posted by Wildhorse View Post I'm walking in the street and really every single child yells "What's your name" at me. Nobody can possibly reply to this question 200 times per hour
They have learned a few words of English and are having fun saying them, but I imagine it must get tiring being asked so often. I've been asked by occasional kids and have stopped to chat and enjoyed their company, but it sounds like you're being constantly mobbed!

I have to wonder where on earth are you staying to be being pestered like this, and why are you still there? It sounds horrible and wherever it is, I definitely don't want to go there!
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#3 Mar 2nd, 2009, 17:32
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Originally Posted by Haylo View Post I have to wonder where on earth are you staying to be being pestered like this, and why are you still there? It sounds horrible and wherever it is, I definitely don't want to go there!
Hi Haylo,

It doesn't happen all the time but it has happened in various places all over India; I've been to many parts of India over the last seven years and I find it has been a problem for about the last two years, especially in the plains, both in cities and villages. Hasn't happened in places like Mumbai or Delhi - probably too many foreigners there such that kids can't be bothered to pester all of them. My last trip to Gujarat was by far the worst (exception: Diu). The hills are usually no big problem. Hill people are different it seems.
#4 Mar 3rd, 2009, 00:47
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#4
poster, man, with your name on it. Just do it. Like they do it on Rallies and Marches.
#5 Mar 3rd, 2009, 00:57
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#5


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#6 Mar 3rd, 2009, 02:28
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Apart from "whats your name get"where are you from" so you tell them and then ask if they know where it is, answer is "yes of course" but when quiz them a bit more a lot have no idea of the world map let alone the Middle East and somtimes get fed up whith this after been asked umpteen times during the day so give a reply of any country that crops in mind can be China, Nigeria whatever but afterwards be a bit guilty... till the next day and then hopefully wont be grumpy !!.Mind you won't stop me from going back to India
#7 Mar 3rd, 2009, 02:33
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Depends on how many times I've been asked and how low my blood sugar is.
"Scary Spice" and "Michael Jackson" are usually good for a laugh.

For the country I usually pick Mongolia or Albania and am then told how nice they are.
#8 Mar 3rd, 2009, 02:34
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#8
Do you mean kids in groups ask your name? Or 100 one after the other in seperate instances?

I've never been too hassled like that. It is unfortunate that this is a source of stress for you. But I agree with Haylo that it is because those are the only sentences they know how to say and they want to interact with foreigners.
For groups I usually just say my name once and then single out a few and ask their name etc. It's just a chance for them to converse with someone who is different from them.

After awhile I learn how to tune out alot. I also don't think it's rude to just walk away and move on if you're really not in the mood.

It's best to approach with a sense of humour and have them all in fits of giggles and then it won't seem so bad.
#9 Mar 3rd, 2009, 02:50
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C'mon, don't take me to seriously,there are a lot more things in India that can stress you out than kids and grownups asking you where are you from.As said before after a while get immune to it. On the other hand to make instant communication in smaller places just take digital photo and show them and they are so happy,
#10 Mar 3rd, 2009, 05:05
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#10

Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildhorse View Post I'm walking in the street and really every single child yells "What's your name" at me. Nobody can possibly reply to this question 200 times per hour, and thousands of times per day; apart from the fact that I find it useless because my name means absolutely nothing to them, it's just a sound.
I think, you can always answer your name
Obviously, such information has zero value for them, but doing so doesn't hurt much.
By the way, we've been mostly asked "where are you from?". About names not that much. So, I was always 'from Slovakia. You know where is it?' Answer was usually 'Yes', so then I went ahead 'OK, tell me where?' and juicy things I learned
#11 Mar 3rd, 2009, 09:06
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#11
Just tell them. My name is so strange (can't be phonetically spelled in any Indian script) most people just look at me stupidly and shut up.
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#12 Mar 3rd, 2009, 09:33
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#12
Just tune out the background street noise. You're not suppose to answer or be accountable to all the residual, blabbery questions that may posed to you by each & every street person in touristy-area-ville India. If you can't tune out that (often) trollish banter - then buy a good set of ear plugs for yourself!
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ~
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Last edited by PeakXV; Mar 3rd, 2009 at 10:35..
#13 Mar 3rd, 2009, 09:42
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#13

Help Wildhorse out!

I am astounded by the number of people who don't recognize Wildhorse's problem.

Apparently no one else goes to sites of historical interest to Indians. My wife and I go to such places, both to appreciate them for ourselves and to photograph them.

Unfortunately, such places also attract school groups. Such groups run from 40-70 students, and every very sweet, very polite child wants to shake your hand and ask your name and where you are from. This is marvelously flattering for the first five minutes.

But when you have only two hours at Ellora, and the light is going to hell, and it takes an hour and a quarter to interact with half a dozen school groups, it gets a little wearing. Now imagine that happening at every single site you visit, and imagine that you've planned a trip to visit one or two such sites every day, and you'll see that there's a problem.

Don't even get me started on the number of schoolteachers who want to show off for their classes by insisting on extended empty conversations with the funny-looking tourists. Or the number of people, whether children or adults, who demand (not ask or request or suggest) that we stop what we're doing to take their picture.

My point is that India is a wonderfully warm and welcoming place. But tourists are vulnerable to being smothered with love, and Wildhorse needs some advice on how to cope with it.
#14 Mar 3rd, 2009, 09:56
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#14
A lot of touts use it as an opening as well. Many of them seem to have educated themselves with a fact or two about each country and if you respond, they'll then start telling you about their cousin in Ottawa who goes to some nonexistent university there and they really want to emigrate there and their cousin has set up all the paperwork and and they could afford it if only you'd buy this small marble replica of the Taj Mahal...

Best advice I think is to ignore 90% of it and be very selective about who you answer. You can really miss out on a lot in India if you try to shut everything out because of the hassle factor.
#15 Mar 3rd, 2009, 10:10
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#15
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Originally Posted by hfot2 View Post Don't even get me started on the number of schoolteachers who want to show off for their classes by insisting on extended empty conversations with the funny-looking tourists. Or the number of people, whether children or adults, who demand (not ask or request or suggest) that we stop what we're doing to take their picture.
What would you do in your country? I'd probably do as I do here with random people who start awkward nonsensical conversations. Politely say "I really enjoy talking with you, but my driver is waiting for me...and I need to go...Have a nice day..." and just keep walking with a smile and wave and away you go. I'm sure most people will understand. Kids and even some adults might just need a stronger hint.
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