You would think the name "Matt" or "Matthew" was so common that it would be almost impossible to mistake.
You would be wrong.
My name is mistaken with such regularity I've started to wonder if maybe they're right and perhaps it's me who's got my name confused.
Just this week a client, with whom I've done quite a few workshops, meetings and email interactions with, addressed me as "Mark" in an email. Repeatedly. This is the latest in a long line of faxes, emails, letters and messages addressed to "Mark" (or even better "Mark Hunt" - confusing my last name as well).
Given the frequency of confusion, I used to think that maybe I mumbled, spoke too fast or said my name with a funny accent. But then this week I heard a colleague give my name to a caller on the phone asking them to email me. Imagine my surprise to see the email pop up in my inbox addressed to "Michael".
It's all enough to make you wish you had multiple personalities.
Perhaps in response to this identity crisis, I sometimes find myself refraining from using a person's name when I first meet them, not trusting that I've heard them correctly. It's not until I've heard others say their name a number of times, that I can be confident I've got it right. It seems to me that the act of introducing each other has so much going on - the smile, the looking in the eye, the angling of the hand for a handshake - that it's all too easy to mishear a name.
Perhaps I just don't look like a "Matt"? And they'd almost be right. For the first two weeks of my life, I was a "Stewart". It was only after hearing nurses shorten the name and call me "Stewy" that my mum decided that moniker just wasn't going to fly. When it came to my middle name, well it seems that was all just a bit too hard and I was given the same one as my older brother. It was as though all their naming energy had been exhausted coming up with "Stewart" and then "Matthew" that my parents gave up and just went with the default option.
Still, I can't help think "Matthew" is a fairly common and easy-to-grasp name. It's not like it's something exotic like "Manrico" or "Manton". Hey, I'm even in the Bible for Christ's sake - not something people named "Madison" or "Makayla" can say (as far as I know anyway).
At the end of the day, until science advances and I have some clones named "Mark", "Michael" and various other permutations, it seems I'm the one left to attend to the emails, faxes, letters and calls presumably intended for me... or at the very least someone starting with "M".