I just moved in with a new roommate (yay!), and her name is Tara. Or Tara.

It's confusing, I know. I've always known her as Tara (like tar-a). Then the other night I was over at her house for dinner, and her dad starts calling her Tara (like tear-a). What??

I was there with some friends, and we conferred about the confusing situation. We all reported hearing the same discrepancy in name, and since we'd known her for months, things felt a little awkward -- how do you ask your good friend what her name is?

As her new roomie, I was voted on to decipher the mystery. Here's the story Tara gave me:

"My parents are from New York, and they've always called me Tara [somewhere between tar-a and tear-a]. But people outside the family call me Tara [tar-a]. My brother calls me either one, and it's really confusing. I don't think my parents care that people don't call me by what they do, but I have to ask them..." Oops. Might've opened a can of worms there.

So, that's the story. Parents named her one thing, the world calls her another. I often hear parents stuck over this dilemma, though it's more often surrounding nicknames -- says, you love the name Samantha, but hate the nickname Sam. How do you stop her from being known as Sam? Well, as learned by the lesson of Tara, you may not have a choice.