I never really thought about names much until having kids and having the ability to choose someone's name that they'll use for the rest of their life. I was born: Nantaka Joy Deangdeelert...say that 10 times fast! My Thai name was very long and proved hard to say my entire childhood. I was that kid whose name was ALWAYS butchered on the first day of school every year. So, I ended up using my middle name because it was easier for people to say. In Thai culture, you are given a more traditional (and usually longer) first name, a shorter (easier to say) middle name that serves as your nickname, and then your last name is always super long. So culturally in my family, it was always expected that my middle name would be used more than middle names typically get used in American culture.
As we thought about naming both our kids, my husband and I both went into it knowing we wanted their first names to be easy to say and read because we both grew up with people having a hard time with our names. We gave both kids middle names with meaning to us but with no intention of their middle names being used on a regular basis. Our kids do have nicknames which are some derivation of their first names...Rubes for Ruby, Coconut for Coco, etc...pretty close to their real names but a playful spin as nicknames tend to be!
These days, with new babies born into a very modern day with all kinds of names being used, I find that names and nicknames run the gamut. I even see people naming a kid one name with the intention of calling them by a nickname right away that is not even close to their first name.
I also find that nicknames feel like they can only come from those who know you. Like, if someone tells me their name is "Christopher", I won't call him Chris unless he asks to be called by his nickname. Or when you know someone with a long name just goes by their first initial with their friends (like "Z" cause their name is super long), I feel like you need to know them before you get into the "circle of comfort" of nicknames.
What do you think? Do you have a nickname you go by pretty regularly? Who calls you by that name and who doesn't?