Sunday, October 3, 2010

If Memory Serves



So, you know how difficult it can be to remember people’s names when you’re first introduced?
Lately, I’ve been introduced to a lot of new people and I’ve been doing my best to try and remember.

Association
New Person: “Hi. I’m Melanie.”

Inside Kathrynville: “Wow. I love her top. I wonder where she got that top. Would it be rude of me to ask? I used to have a top like that…but it was more of a reddish-brown color. What’s that color called? Coral?? No, that’s not it. Cranberry? Whatever happened to that top? Is it in the laundry? When was the last time I did laundry? Was it even this week? Oh, crap…she’s still talking…..”

FAIL.

Memory Repetition
New Person: “Hi. I’m Claudia.”

Inside Kathrynville: “ClaudiaClaudiaClaudiaClaudiaClaudia. Huh….I don’t think I’ve ever had a Claudia in my life before. KL-AWD-EE-YA. Like Claude….but with an EE-YA on the end. Claude…remember in Friends when Phoebe was trying to teach Joey French? She’d say,”Mon nom est Claude’ and he’d repeat back, ‘Blah-blah-buh-blah Claude’. HA! That was a good one. Oh, crap…she’s still talking….”

FAIL AGAIN.

Repeating Name Out Loud
New Person: “Hi. I’m Amanda.”

Inside Kathrynville: “Hi. Are those donuts for everybody?”

EPIC FAIL.

Threat of Annihilation
New Person: “Hi. I’m John….”

Inside Kathrynville: “Oh, finally! An easy one. ‘John’…like Susan’s husband. JohnJohnJohnJohn. I can do this! Easy peasy…now, don’t forget. Remembering this guy’s name is the single most important thing you have to do today. Pretend that the entire nation is at a standstill…holding its collective breath…unable to continue with their day until it’s been determined that you can remember this guy’s name. It’s more important than…”

New Person: “…and this is my partner Marie and her assistants, Brandon and Courtney.”

Inside Kathrynville: “Aw. Shoot me now. Did he just say ‘Marie’ or ‘Maria’? Did he say ‘Brendan’ or ‘Brandon’? ‘Courtney’ is like ‘Courtney Cox’ from Friends. Of course, she’d probably prefer to be related to Cougar Town now. I wonder when Matthew Perry’s new show is coming out. I’ll bet he’s sick of people calling him ‘Chandler’. Could this be any more confusing? HA! Typical Chandler…”

HOPELESS.

Nowhere is this transgression more apparent than in my notes regarding the last meeting:

“Girl with top that I like suggested that guy who may or may not be ‘Brendon’ transfer his data over to the computer of the girl who was standing in front of the box of Dunkin Donuts. Note to self: Google how to remove powdered sugar from suede.”

Anyone have any good tips? Oh, please.

J9 said...

In a live, face to face, or even video meeting, I write down everyone's names as they are introduced, and in the order they are sitting at the table - depending on the table, I may even draw this on the first page in my notebook, or a post-it (if I think there will be multiple pages of notes).

brite said...

Oh Kathryn...I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but forgetting peoples' names is just the start...believe me it gets worse, soooooo much worse. That said, the most embarrassing time for me was when I forgot the name of a woman I'd known for over 25 years. I could remember the names of her husband, her children, her former roomates...it was agonizing. After 10 minutes of conversation, I finally had to admit that I simply could not remember her name. The look on her face was a mixture of pity and perhaps some well deserved hostility. Sigh.

Jerry said...

I use a different kind of association.

"Hi, I'm Melanie."

Melanie. Melody. Song. Singer. Face like a songbird. A beautiful tweeting bird.

"Hello Mocking Bird."

It doesn't work either.

Vince said...

I think we get to a point where we have heard so many names we can now remember twenty years later and having encountered the person only the once. That our brains make an auto-pilot split-second call on whether or not this person will ever become a full participant in our lives.
There are more succinct ways of phrasing the above.

Fierce said...

Do you think there is a subtle way of getting them to wear name tags? I figure even you can't forget if their name is plastered to their top, right? But then again...

:)
xoxo

Alan W. Davidson said...

Ummm...work from home, like me. I can totally relate because I have a memory like a seive. Hilarious post today, Katrine...

KellyGrrl said...

I am terrible at remembering names... It always takes me a few times of meeting someone to remember their name... I hate it! haha

Gigi said...

Are you kidding? I can barely remember my own name much less figure out anyone else's. I know, I need help.

kathryn said...

J9: Well, that makes perfect sense. But, what do you do if it's not...technically...a meeting? What if it's just...introductions? Maybe I could surreptitiously scribble it in the palm of my hand...

brite: Oh, honey! First, you were so brave to admit to your longtime friend that your memory had failed! That took guts! And second? Aw, hell. I'm still focusing on your selective amnesia...(or, did I forget what I was going to say? I'll never tell.)

Jerry: Well. Then, you're not helping...are you? See, my thought process could go this way:
"Hi, I'm Melanie."
Melanie. Mel. Mel...Brooks. Mel...Gibson. Gag. Ick. Mel...a...noma. Suspicious freckle. Freckles. Redhead.
"Good to meet you, Lucy."
See? We're both DOOMED.

kathryn said...

Vince: I hear what you're saying. It becomes even more complicated when it's a more unusual name...like "Manuelarutisomo". If you're lucky, he'll clue you in that everyone calls him "Manny". (Yes, I've made that up.)

Fierce: HEY. I was bobbing my head in agreement till you got to that last part. ONLY YOU could start out being so helpful...and still manage to put me in my place at the same time. I owe you one, sweets (said somewhat menacingly).

Alan W. Davidson: Thank you, kind sir. I do believe that my working from home has only made this task that much harder. I've lost my name-mojo....if I ever had one.

kathryn said...

KellyGrrl: Well, I'm glad I'm not the only one. There has to be some magic method to this madness. I'll have to Google it.

Gigi: HA! I could just see you: "Hi. Good to meet you. I'm.....uh....." You've made me feel much better!

Climb2Nowhere said...

LOL! You have to take notes on people. Short hair- Claudia. Glasses- John. Irritating voice- Melanie.
Trust me, if you take notes and then refer to them a few times you'll get all the names right. Just don't let anyone see them :-) Good luck!

J9 said...

Just at a get together? I state right up front that I am really bad at remembering names (which I'm not yet), and then I have an excuse if I do forget, or mispronounce, and say, "Oh I am SO sorry, but what is your name again?" And if I remember one little factoid from our introduction, I'll bring that back up - example:
Me: Oh, I am so sorry to have forgotten your name, what is it again?
NFR(Nameless Faceless Rable): It's Bob.
Me: Bob! Yes, that's it! You are the one who enjoys woodworking right?
Bob: Yes, that's right!
And now he blathers for 30 minutes on the difference between old growth redwood, and maple. ;-)

kathryn said...

Clinb2Nowhere: HA! Notes....got it. Don't let disparaging remarks that help me remember them make it into enemy hands....check. Only one I seem to remember is the guy w/blue glasses has some weird intestinal issues...it's not pretty.

J9: Wow. Great advice! Bob sounds super boring, btw. I'm going to avoid Bob at all costs. I think I shall choose to permanently forget Bob's name!

Carol said...

I'm still laughing! I don't think I was always like this, I used to remember everyone's names, it's important. Then I managed a call center and my employees came and went like that top you can't find, now I've lost my remembering ability!

Lauren said...

I'm a face person... sorry. I can't remember names very well, but I can remember people's faces and usually where I know them from. Have you seen The House Bunny? Perhaps you can try what Anna Ferris does in that. Hehe. I mean, totally worth checking out!

Heather said...

Not a single suggestion here, I need help too! I am horrible at remembering names. That lady that saved my life..I asked her three times her name and NOPE can't remember it! It's awful!

Missed Periods said...

I'm with Shakespeare. What's in a name?

Plus, I'd rather someone like my top than remember my name.

j.m. neeb said...

Just call everyone "dude" and you're golden...

HulaBuns said...

Hahahhaha! Ever since I wore my tan colored suede boots through the freshly cut grass I have not been allowed to wear suede (per my friends, imagine where all the freshly cut grass ended up. If you are thinking ALL OVER my boots, you hit the nail on the head). LOL

If you forget my name just think of a butt with a hula hoop on it. :D

Straight Guy said...

I make it known. I have room for about 50 folks in the part of my brain reserved for my work associates. In order for anyone to move into the 50, someone has to move out. So sorry, whats-your-face. Maybe in a few weeks.

But the phone number of the girl I had a crush on in 4th grade? Still got that on easy recall for some reason.

Kristy said...

Well, geez, at least you THINK about the person as soon as you hear the name. I am so bad at paying attention at all to the person's name. I guess my mind is like, "duh...." empty space and time.

Runnergirl said...

Ha! I thought it was only me! It's only happening in recent months, but I can be chatting to someone I've just met, and then within about 5 seconds I've completely forgotten what they said their name was!! And usually I'm thinking the same things that you are!!

Runnergirl said...

My worst name forget ever was in Fresher's Week and I was with my housemates and we bumped into some guys off my course in the queue to a club. For the life of me I could not remember their names, so I introduced my housemates and kind of left it hanging. One of the girls off my course asked if I was going to offer up their names.... there was an awful pause and then I just said "I'm sorry, I'm so drunk, I can't remember your names". I just hope they didn't realise I was completely sober!

Pearl said...

I'm pretty awful with names myself!

Best thing for me? Repetition, as in "Kathryn, that's a lovely name. Were you named after anyone in your family? Anyone call you Kat? Can I call you Kat? Do you have a cat? I have a cat..." and so on until you walk away...

Pearl

kathryn said...

Carol: You mean, your employees came and went like *that*? (Snaps fingers) When you first mentioned the "top", I'm thinking a spinning top. And I'm thinking, "WTF?" Then, it came to me...'specially since I'm the one who brought it up. Sigh.

Lauren: What? There's a bunny in da house? This Ferris-person teaches bunnies about memory?? I have concluded that I'm a visual person and not an audio person, so telling me your name is completely and utterly worthless, 'cause there isn't a chance in hell that I'll remember it. (How's that for a disclaimer?)

Heather: You mean the lady who saved you when you almost died from the bike ride? I thought we were calling her "Lady That Saved Heather". I mean, if you can't remember her name, how can we??

kathryn said...

Missed Periods: HA! Now, that's the attitude. I'm with you...I'd much rather someone remember how fabulous my outfit was than just my little 'ole name.

j.m. neeb: I think that works better when you are the dude! I don't really think too many chicks say "dude", dude. Whoops.

HulaBuns: Of course, I have no trouble remembering everyone's names here in Blogville. But then, I get to sit and stare at the name...then the picture...then the name...well, you get the idea!

kathryn said...

Straight Guy: Oh, too funny. Why is that? So, I'll assume you're running to capacity at 50 names, like...all the time? I mean, does someone have to die to come off your list??

Kristy: Well, I wouldn't say I actually think about the person, per se... it's more like whatever's happening around them...or behind them...or, whatever. Either way, it's not working!

Runnergirl: That's why we have so much in common, sweetie. Evidently, we're all basically in the same boat. Now I'm being told that by claiming that "I can't help it", I'm setting myself up to not remember. So, I guess that means I can will myself to remember. Let's see how that goes...

kathryn said...

Pearl: Oh, I love your idea! And what a be-you-tee-ful name you have, Pearl. Like oysters in the deep blue sea....like the little mermaid. What was her name again? Ariel. That's a pretty name, too.

(I have to stop doing this!)

Christiejolu said...

HAHA! I am terrible with names...Even my kids I sometimes call "Hey whats your name...come here" LOL!

susan f said...

"'John' like Susan's husband"
LOLOL!!

It's so good to be back. I've MISSED YOU!!

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