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Naming Names

February 24, 2012

Can I ask a HUGE favor?  If we are ever out together at a Swanky Function, Networking Event or Family Reunion, could you subtly ask the person with whom we are speaking, what is THEIR NAME?

Thanks, I’ll buy you a drink.

I embarrassingly and consistently struggle to remember names.  As a Motivational Speaker, I know this is not OK, and I am working hard at fixing it.

If we met prior to 2004 or you are in my life daily, then no problem, you are most likely etched into my cerebral guestbook.  Anyone after 2004… It seems (like the cake) your names were left out in the rain and I sometimes cannot quite make them out until a few minutes later.

I keep trying to remember a traumatic incident that may have caused this phenomenon – Oh wait, Yes!  Thirty-Seven Gallons of hormone bamboozling, memory annihilating, injectible drugs.

But they did lead to the birth of ONE miracle boy – which is TOTALLY worth a few million brain cells, wouldn’t you agree?  Incidentally, as he was born AFTER 2004, even he falls victim to the name game from time to time.

I DO always remember actual PEOPLE with whom I am speaking, along with insanely intimate details down to what is their favorite beverage, the color they just painted their foyer and that they smell like a spring day at my grandparents cottage on an island in Lake Orion

Then there is this insidious little game my mind likes to play.  It remembers the first LETTER of a name!  “Well” you might muse “isn’t that better than not remembering anything at ALL?”  No.  No, dear Poppet, it is not.  Because I cling to that letter with false assurance and call them some OTHER name starting with the same letter – out loud.  This leads to knitted brows and hurt feelings and me visiting my dark place.

Names are not the only victims.  I will find myself mid-step, half-way up the stairs and say (out loud) now WHAT was I going up for?  (I remember about 70% of the time, “Oh yes, I was getting my phone charger.”)  But names are part of my business and making people feel good and welcome in my life is my passion, so it bothers me a great deal.

I suspect I may not be alone in this dilemma, and so, I try at every turn to help others who may also be struggling.  I always wear a Name-Tag if offered.  ALWAYS!  And I write my first name BIG and BOLD and I slap it directly above my right… um… pectoral muscle.  This way when I reach out to shake a hand, the natural eyesight line moves up my arm directly to my name.

If I am in a non-Name-Tag situation (Quelle Horreur) I try to strategically drop my OWN name into the conversation early on, “So I said to myself, Tami do not even think about going near that cheese tray!”    For the sake of Muddle-Heads like me, would you do the same?

While I will continually aim to improve this social deficit of mine, I keep secretly hoping that all this new Social Media and Internet Language I’m learning might kick-start the young spunky parts of my brain, like an intellectual Red Bull.

In the meantime I wanted to hear from YOU – Can you share your favorite way to remember names?

Oh, and do you have any idea where I left my phone charger?

Warmly,   Whatsername



From → Laugh at Life

  1. my best friend can never remember names, so I am constantly either reminding him of them or introducing myself to save him the embarrassment.
    Probably because of him, on the opposite side, I tend to over introduce myself thinking no one ever remembers my name. But I’d rather do that then have someone feel awkward for not knowing it.

  2. Sue Malone permalink

    You are not alone!!! But what helps me is if I hear both the first AND last name. If they don’t give it, I ask for it. I love reading your blogs BTW!!! Keep’em comin!

  3. Kirsten permalink

    I always try to use the person’s name in response immediately after we’re introduced. That way, I force my brain to not only use it, but also hopefully remember it!

  4. Being involved with fashion, I remember names based on fashion clues (Gary wears glasses; Ruth is wearing Red). Works great till they change clothes. Then I’m screwed. My late father-in-law had a neat trick. He’d see someone he should know the name of and say, “what’s your name again?”, to which a person might reply “Bob”. Then Larry would say, “No, no. I know your name is Bob. I can’t seem to remember your LAST name”. Worked like a charm.

  5. I was once taught to use their name three times during the initial conversation and it worked, but things certainly are not sticking like they used to!

  6. I SO wish I could NOT relate to this. But LOVE your suggestion of saying your OWN name in tagless situations to help out other people like us….. LOVE IT!

  7. Sweetheart, the reason I’m not introducing you to them by name is because I am frantically trying to remember it myself! Honestly. It’s horrible because I can look at a patient that I have seen at least five times, know every single intimate detail of their medical history, know what they look like without a stitch on… but simply cannot bring to mind their name. Whenever I greet someone I know and see the panic in their eyes, I simply give my name rather than watch them squirm trying to remember it. But if I’m ever not introducing someone to you that I should be by name, please recognize it’s because I’m in that same boat, paddling madly through the gray matter, seeking a moniker – just like you.

    And, by the way, you’re the reason my business now has its own Facebook page!

  8. Diane E permalink

    I have to do word association. Example — Met a young man named Sidney. How am I going to remember that for the next time? Ok — Tony Randall played Sidney in the TV show Hello Sidney. So when I see that guy, I’ll think of Tony Randall….then Hello Sidney — “Oh, hello, Sidney.” 🙂

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