I can relate Doghouse Diaries’ comic about forgetting the names of people as soon as you meet them. Read the rest READ THE REST
“Hey buddy, do you use facebook?”
“Feel free to add me I’m fb.com/MyUsername”
Ten minutes later:
“Ah, his name’s ‘Nigel’!”
If they use a silly name on facebook, then fuck 'em
Having problems recognizing faces makes this less of an issue. Even if I remember your name, I probably don’t recognize you anyway so it doesn’t matter.
I have difficulty with names and numbers, but I’ll remember your face for a long, long time. Typically, I’m just honest with people and say, “Look, I do try hard to remember names, but sometimes I lose them anyway. Would you mind telling me again? Please understand that I really do know who you are, whether I know your name or not.”
After that, the conversation will usually evolve into a discussion of personal cognitive functions, where I explain that I know people mainly by their look and their behavioral personality. This usually starts with a description of eyes, which drives my mother crazy because she generally does not notice eyes that much.
The most irritating bit is when I used to pedicab, and there was a guy (of course I can’t remember his name) working for a competing company who never remembered a face. I’d have to reintroduce myself every single time we met, which was about every two weeks or so. True story.
My advice is hardly new, but this is the only thing that works for me: Say their name back to them, immediately, combined with starring at their face and a consciousness that you are in “record” mode. Then once again at departure with the same mentality really seals it. Bonus for handshakes. This also give the ancillary benefit of appearing very well-mannered.
“Hi, I’m Noah” (extend hand, record mode activate)
(takes hand) “Bill”
“Bill, pleased to meet you”
[conversation–seize any opportunity to work their name in]
“Well, Bill, I’d better get back to it. See you around!”
It might come off as corny in print, but in life it seems to make you come off as charismatic. Even so, it’s far less corny than being that guy that never remembers anyone’s name, which I used to be.
It’s developing the habit that’s the hard part, but once it becomes routine, the dividends are large.
EDIT: oh, and later when you recall the meeting in your mind, pair their face with the face of a friend or public figure with the same name. whether they look alike is irrelevant. for instance, i don’t see one of my neighbors–Laura–too much, but when I do, i visualize this. they look nothing alike. it works.
(I also mentally playback the sound of the mynah bird saying her name)
I’m terrible with names. After a number of years of teaching yoga, people come up to me and I say, “Hey! I know you! Rotatory scoliosis, right?”
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