DEAR HARRIETTE: As my peers and I are gearing up to go into the workforce, some of my friends have begun to introduce themselves with their full names. They were previously always known by nicknames, and I have begun to question if this transition indicates that I should now refer to them more formally as well. I have a long name myself and have had nicknames my whole life. I am OK with being referred to casually by friends. Now that we are getting older, what should I call my friends? -- Name Change, Boston
DEAR NAME CHANGE: Entering the workforce is a major turning point in life. It is wise to think about every aspect of how you identify yourself and your friends. Nicknames tend to be too casual for work environments. Similarly, email addresses that feature nicknames or catchphrases are not appropriate for work environments. Take a look at your social media handles as well.
To professionalize your life, you must take a fresh look at everything that defines you to see if it remains in alignment with who you are today and who you intend to become. From there, you can take steps to refine your self-identity.
To that end, if your friends are formalizing their names, honor their decision by calling them what they now choose to call themselves. You can also ask them if they want their former names to be names of the past entirely, or if they are still OK for friend time.