For the life of me, I cannot remember their names.
I get this error a lot. It's like my
brain is running Windows Vista.
My brain sees fit to store every last detail of their lives I could glean, but can't spare a few neurons to keep their names.
It's always been this way: I can recall details about a person, yet their name fades like an optimistic mood on a Monday morning. More than a few times, I've learned someone's name, only to realize that I can't remember it less than ten seconds after they just gave it to me.
When I tell people about my brain-leak, the response is nearly universal: "I'm horrible at remembering names, too!" If this is true, and the majority of folks have trouble recalling what you're called, why don't we get rid of that social stigma of asking a person's name again? And again? And again?
Picture a world like that. You wouldn't hurt her feelings when you spaced while asking her out. He'd forgive you for introducing him as "Jack" to your coworkers, when you meant to say "Jake," "Jackson," or "Omar."
Alas, we still live in a reality where asking for a refresher is interpreted as "you're so insignificant to me, I didn't even bother to make note of your existence." At least, that what I think it means, judging by the death-glare they often beam out.
With that in mind, I've concocted a system to get someone's name for the second (or third, or fourth...) time with little or no chance of getting slammed with the evil eye:
1) Hear the person's name.
2) Immediately forget it (don't worry, this part comes naturally).
3) Later, when seeing that person in an informal context, ask them how to spell their name.
4) Brace for the weird look they're bound to send your way. Who asks how to spell "Sarah," or "Jim?"
5) Respond with a friendly "No, your last name!" [Of course they're asking for my last name! They know how to spell "Jim"... Silly me.]
5.1) If their last name is also common and easy to spell, explain that you've seen alternate spellings, and you
didn't want to mix theirs up.
6) After they spell both first and last, write it down. Not only does it keep you from forgetting again as easily, but it shows them just how intent you are to remember their name. Why not just write it down the first time? That may come across as rather creepy, if the situation isn't right.
There you have it; you've just snagged their full name again, written it down, and shown that you care enough to make a note of who they are, with no hurt feelings.
Deceptive, you say? Possibly. It's either that, or you can keep asking them who in the world they are, negative karma and all.
What do y'all think? Are you good at remembering names? What's your secret? Do you have a special way to remember who people are? Share in the comments, if you please.
Leave your name, too. Just in case.