Tuesday, March 11, 2014

HELP.

Dear Readers:

I am extremely bad at people's names.  No, worse than that.  I can meet someone once and, six months later, tell you where they live, where their spouse went to college, and what their dog is named, but I cannot for the life of me remember their thrice-damned name.

I now live in a very, very small town.  I can only say so many times, "I'm sorry, I'm so bad with names, could you remind me of yours?" before people start to get offended.  Of course, I always try to link their name to a phrase ("Rose of Sharon") or to some descriptor ("Sammy's mom Alice") or to something about them ("Sara who's from Israel and whose spouse teaches history" - this one works the best but is impractical in many social settings where nobody is introduced as "My great-aunt Sophie who used to practice Wicca and who lives on a hippie commune in Kansas") but clearly it doesn't work.  I also repeat their name back to them, say it in my head several times right away, and promptly forget it.

Other suggestions?

12 comments:

  1. I think you've covered the standard list of name-remembering tips. I suppose it'd be weird to take everyone's picture and attach their name to it, and study the resulting collection of photos.

    If it makes you feel better, I've been going to my church for nearly 7 years now, not to mention teaching Sunday School and chairing a committee for the last 3 years, and I STILL have to ask people's names. My whole congregation is less than 200 people. I can't remember the name of the lady I taught SS with last year! In short, I am not the person to help you with this.

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    1. Ha ha ha. "Excuse me while I take your portrait and then write your name down in this little notebook on a string. This won't be weird at all!"

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    2. I forgot to add that our church has everyone's picture taken and mails everyone a book of photos, names, addresses, and a little blurb about each family. I never think to study those photos order to remember names.

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  2. I try to alliteratively associate the name with a fruit/food. For whatever reason my brain is really good at remembering "lemons" and then eventually unearthing "Linda". It helps if the fruit chosen is also recalled by some other memory with that person (they have a nice bright yellow shirt, e.g.).
    Can't remember if I commented before: I started reading your blog a few months ago. I'm a science kid, and navigating the decision process of what to do with my qualifications, so I appreciate your point of view! I also liberate fruit when the opportunity arises.

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    1. Laurie Lemon! I like it. I'll have to try that. Seriously. So embarrassing.

      May the best of good fortune attend your decision-making process.

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  3. Anonymous5:41 PM

    I've heard if you say it out loud three times in a row you'll remember it. But, that is a bit awkward sometimes. But, I have at times decided it is less awkward than asking ten times.
    Neighbor Lady

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    1. "Laurie Lemon. Laurie Lemon. Laurie Lemon. Thank you, we're here all week." Seriously though, thanks: I'll try it!

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  4. ivfcycler1:31 AM

    hmm, think of some reason you need to exchange contact info and put them in your phone with name and photo?
    if you can remember their name to the end of the conversation and then write it down somewhere? i only remember my new neighbors' names by writing them down on a map i drew of the nbhd.

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    Replies
    1. Might write it down! If I could remember to bring a notebook... I don't really have a cellphone. I mean, I do, but all it does is call people. Yes, I am a Luddite at heart.

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  5. I never ever use anyone's name in conversation. Ever.

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  6. I'd have suggested writing it down, but I can see the notebook issue. I like the Laurie Lemon strategy - actually I might try that as I'm not good with names either (but the city is big).

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