Have you ever been in a situation where you’re standing with some friends at a social event and you see a person coming toward you who you vaguely recognize but you can’t quite remember his/her name? Or it’s someone you definitely recognize and you should totally know their name but can’t remember it?
If you’ve ever been in that situation then you know the sheer panic that grips you. Your throat clogs with that lump of “oh shit” and your face flushes and your stomach turns upside down with each step that person takes in your direction because you know that you’re going to have to introduce them to your friends. And I’m not talking about a situation where you can simply say, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten your name…” No, you should know this person’s name, no way around it.
I am terrible with names. Truly horrible. You tell me your name and it instantly leaves my brain. I don’t know if it’s because I’m simply not paying attention or what, but each and every time I warn myself, now Angie, listen to this person’s name and without fail, I lose it a second later. And then if you ask me to remember it days or months from that first introduction…well, that’s just a disaster. It’s even worse if I see the person out of context…like a person from work at the mall.
It’s not so bad when I meet up with a person one on one cause I can fake it…I don’t need to say their name in a conversation but when you’re with a group of people and you have to introduce them…well, sometimes I even forget the names of people who I work with for goodness sakes…it must be a nervous tick of mine or something.
And to make matters worse, I have a very distinguishing characteristic that sets me apart from many members of society. It’s a physical feature that is not altogether common…I’m not going to specify because I use a pen name for a reason but suffice it to say when I’m meeting someone for the first time in public I tell them to look for the person with the…blank, blank blank.
Because of this physical feature people recognize me a lot more than I recognize them. It’s unfair really that I, the most socially awkward individual around, has to be cursed with a feature that others remember…so much so that I get people…like complete strangers…coming up to me and talking, waving, or simply tracking me with their eyes, as if I’m supposed to know them…and let me tell you, that does not help my name forgetting issues. As soon as someone waves at me I’m struck with instant panic…oh shit, do I know this person? Should I know their name? Will it be rude if I don’t introduce them? What if I just walk by?
It’s horrible really and something that happens to me a lot. So I put it to you all, how do you remember people’s names? Or are you like me and can’t keep a hold of them to save your life?