I was waiting someplace, happily not minding my own business, and I overhead a girl say to a boy, “I know you right?” And the boy said, “Yes, I’m John.” And the girl said, “Oh gosh I’m so sorry, I’m so bad with names and faces.”
I thought this was interesting. You often hear “I’m bad with names,” but bad with names and faces? BOTH? That would mean you are just bad in general at acknowledging other humans than yourself. And that’s not good!
Now, you know I love EVERYONE. And I try very hard to give peeps the benefit of the doubt. I’m sure this girl feeds orphans and NEVER swears LOUDLY when she drops her wedding invitations in the snow after picking up an incomplete order from the printer…I’m sure she’s a doll. And I do not claim to be perfect at remembering people. In fact we all know I’m in so many places at once I can’t remember to finish one email before I start another, let alone remember all the conversations I’ve started randomly along the way.
However, I do try very hard to remember names. I think quite often people excuse themselves from trying to remember names by saying, “Oh I’m so bad with names!” Of course you’re bad if you don’t try! I usually reply to that excuse with a, “Well I’m really good at remembering names, so I’ll remember yours and creep you out.” Or I start to give a mini lesson on how to remember names. I’m so fun at parties… Anyway! I am not claiming to be perfect, because we all know I’m not. But let’s learn together how to make meeting US! a true pleasure and a real dream.
Here are some of my tips…
1. Repeat the person’s name after they say it to you. I try to say, “Oh Stewart, well it’s nice to meet you!” (But you don’t have to be as enthusiastic as me…)
2. Quiz yourself 5-10 minutes later. I try to do this because if it’s only been 5-10 minutes and you cannot remember, it’s not that awkward to say, “Oh, I’ve totally blanked, remind me of your name and I promise I’ll get it this time.”
3. Mnemonic devices. Well that is pretty much how this dyslexic girlie got through college. But when I started my job I used lots of them to remember the coworkers. I also…
4. Wrote down mini descriptions and names. So I remembered who the well dressed shiny shoe wearing accountant was, by writing down, “Scott=Rico Suave.” (Of course I STILL sing the song to myself when he walks by) I could have written down just “Scott” but then how would I have distinguished him from “Blondie=Mark”?
5. There are a million of these little tips, God bless the Internet, but I think the most important one is TRY. Don’t give yourself the excuse, “I’m bad with names.” It’s just passé.
So! I love you and adore you all. I hope this wasn’t too didactic. And I hope you have a fabulous weekend meeting lots of new exciting people, and that you will do your best to spread the love, show some respect, and make and effort to retain some names.
And I’ll try to stop swearing.