I’ve got a bit of a confession to make. I am horrible with remembering names. This is not a rare phenomenon, as many struggle with this same thing, but recently it has bothered me more so than usual.
I would guess that most people honestly “forget” someone’s name after meeting them, but what bothers me is that I never even hear the name to begin with. Most people probably forget the name an hour later, or maybe when they arrive home. I never listened to it to begin with. It struck me this morning that someone could utter some random word as their name, and I would have no idea. I fear that I am not alone on this…the scenario plays out like this.
- Approach someone new
- Say “hello”
- Extend hand for customary handshake
- Make eye contact
- Smile…well, more like a grin. A smile is a bit over the top for just meeting someone – they will assume you are a motivational speaker and suffer from over exuberance if you are awkwardly smiling from ear to ear
- ”I am _______ , nice to meet you.”
Notice what I left out? At some point during this ritual I assume that the other person told me their name, but I never stopped to listen because I was so focused on nailing each of the above steps. How does one care so little about the person they are meeting that they NEVER hear the name to begin with?
They could say anything, and I would be unfazed.
“Hi, I am Matt Griffin, nice to meet you.”
“Hello, my name is Soviet Union, and I wish you would go stand in traffic.”
I would simply nod and ignore. Seriously. You could say anything.
I am not sure how to change this, or even IF I can change it, but it bothers me. If I put myself in the other person’s shoes, I would not want someone to not hear a thing I say upon meeting them. How dare they? Or, rather, how dare I?
Anyway, I realize this is a random blog post, and some of you were probably hoping that I would have some sort of answer or advice on how to fix this issue. Sadly, I have none. If you have some ideas, comment away!
And the next time I run into you, if I have only met you once or twice, realize that I have NO CLUE what your name is. Apologies in advance.