Have you ever been out to eat and you see someone you know you know, but dang it you can’t remember their name? It happens to me All. Of. The. Time. I bump into you at the grocery store and screw it if I didn’t just see you at a networking event the week before, but what’s your name? I show up to a black-tie affair rubbing elbows with prestigious people and there you are, I know you, you run in the same circles of people I run with, but I cannot remember your name. I see you all over social media posting cute pics, and I see you at a concert, but for some reason, I cannot recall your Facebook profile – I know you, but what’s your name?
Gosh, it’s embarrassing, to say the least. I can meet you five times, have dinner at your house, see you at yoga every week, maybe even work with you – or yikes perhaps sleep with you, eeek! And dang it I just cannot remember your bloody name for the life of me, is it Paul or Peter, Tom or John, Kent or Jared; I have no idea. Now one thing I will tell you I can remember is your face, yup I only have to meet you once, and I will never forget your face, or perhaps that annoying personality, or quirky mannerisms you do with your hands. I am just good like that – but your name, what is it with your name that I just cannot remember?
It’s crazy because if I meet you and your dog or cat I can remember that little furry fuzzy face’s name, age, breed, and whole life history after meeting them just one time. Yup, all it takes is one encounter, and I have it locked in. I know some of you can relate to this, so don’t pass judgment when ya know what I am talking about. What is it that I can remember more about that four-legged creature I meet just once than I can bout the person whom I have spent countless hours, days, weeks, and sometimes years?
I know I am hanging myself out to dry here, but I know that I am not the only one that suffers from this malady. It’s a hiccup in my character, but one I am slowly beginning to acknowledge and embrace, otherwise I just go around fighting and resisting wanting to say hello to you when I see you, but I can’t remember your name so rather than embarrass myself I just avoid you. It’s so awkward isn’t it when you know that you know that you know the person and you can’t remember their blank name. I hate avoiding eye contact because I really want to say hello, but I am just embarrassed because I don’t know your name. It’s really rather crazy to keep going on like this just because I have a name memory issue. Yea, that’s it a name memory issue.
Some people have offered me a few tips on remembering people’s names. The first tip is the alphabet. As I’m looking at the person, I’m supposed to start saying the alphabet and magically when I get to the letter of the person’s name the name is supposed to pop into my mind. Let me tell you from experience this only works half the time. I find you have to be relaxed for this to happen and generally I am in a panic as the person is coming toward me and I haven’t the slightest idea what their name is so I am rattling that alphabet so flippin’ fast in my head that I probably skip right over their letter because it never comes to me and I am faced with the doom of not knowing their name…..gahhhh! There is nothing like thinking you’re going to come up with their name, and then you don’t, and you have to quickly play it off and make like you know their name, but just not going to say it and instead greet them with a neutral, hello. The next tip, they tell me to repeat the person’s name several times while the person is in front of me weaving the name in and out of the conversation, so it makes an imprint. One, I usually forget the name the minute it’s told to me, so I already have failed this tip because I don’t know the name the minute the conversation begins. Remember, name memory issue here. The third tip is identifying something with the person, like maybe they have a big nose, or pick a song that you can attach to their personality. The issue here is not to repeat the identifier as you say their name upon greeting them after seeing them. Here is an example, I have a friend named Becky who for some reason I just cannot remember her name until recently when I attached the song Becky, Becky, Bo-Becky, Bananana Fanana Fo Fecky, Fi Fi Fo Fecky, Becky. Now, the challenge is not blurting out the song as she approaches me, that would be worse than not remembering her name!
I have watched myself avoid saying hello to so many people because I cannot remember their name and it’s “embarrassing.” So rather than this being a hanging myself out to dry I am going to look at it as a way of me saying to the world, here I am I have a character asset that allows me to remember your face after meeting you one time, but I just might not remember your name. Yes, I am the biggest name forgetter EVER, but I know you, and I love you, and I want to be your friend I just can’t remember your name, nothing personal. Just know that I am not going to avoid eye contact anymore and I am going to say hello even if I don’t remember your name. Just know you may need to re-introduce yourself again and or casually mention your name! And why make it awkward, let’s have fun with it ya’ll because I know you can’t remember everything either! So how do you remember someone’s name?