The name game

Forgetting someone’s name is more serious than you think

Forgetting someone’s name happens to the best of us; we can’t remember everyone we meet, but we should make an effort to remember names.

I always try to make an effort to remember the names of everyone I meet, whether they are a classmate, a professor, or anyone I think I’ll see again. In my field of study (journalism), it’s important to keep track of names for interviews, sources for stories, etc. Remembering the names of others can make you seem more personable and professional.

It might not seem like a big deal short term, but it is long term. When you forget someone’s name, they may think you are not interested in communicating with others. This can be a bad sign, especially if it’s your future supervisor, or someone who could be of great significance in your life.

When I know I should make an effort to remember another person’s name, I’ll repeat their name in my head three times, or I’ll spell out their name by tracing my finger in the air behind my back. I know how strange it sounds, but it works. If their name rhymes with another word, that method works, too.

I know that when I see someone again after my first time meeting him or her, I feel rude if I forget their name, or worse, call them the wrong name. Of course, that also happens to the best of us, especially if the person you meet looks like someone else you know.

In addition to remembering names, eye contact is also important. When you look someone in the eye while speaking with him or her, or meeting them for the first time, eye contact can make or break a positive interaction.

If you don’t maintain eye contact, the other person may believe you are rude or not interested in hearing what they have to say. If you’re speaking to someone of a higher authority, such as a professor or a boss and don’t maintain eye contact, you won’t leave a positive impression.

The further you get into college and your career, the more important it becomes to keep eye contact and memorizing names in mind.

When you make a conscious effort to remember the names of those you meet, you’ll notice numerous benefits. Not only will people notice that you’re interested in getting to know them, you’ll also no longer feel embarrassed by asking, “What was your name again?”

If you do forget someone’s name, the best words to say are, “I’m terribly sorry, I remember you from before, but your name slipped my mind.” I discovered this from a column on regarding memorizing names.

I’m not implying that you need to remember the names of every single human being you meet, but it’s important to remember the names of those you’ll be seeing again. You’ll notice your social and professional life improve dramatically. Oh, and don’t forget to make eye contact as you are tracing their name behind your back. n