Monday, January 31, 2011

Remembering Names

Sunday road trip to Moses Lake via Othello
Remembering names. I have a gift for it. I can't exactly  explain how I do it but I'll try. A long time ago, when I worked in the banking industry, the bank used to send us for one-day seminars with Career Tracks. They gave excellent  classes on customer service and other business related topics. Somewhere along the line I picked up this trick that when I meet someone for the first time, I try to say their name at least 3 times during a conversation.  Then I try to find some characteristic about them that will help me connect and remember their name.

For example, recently I ran into this guy that I've met before but I couldn't remember his name and it was really bugging me. So I went up and talked to him and told him I was having a hard time remembering his name and he said, "oh, don't worry about it, everyone gets it wrong".  I told him that I pride myself in remembering names and that I really wanted to get it right.  So, he says, "it's just like "Peter" in the bible except the Spanish version.  Pedro".  Okay.  So this is how it works.  I quickly say to myself, okay this guy is Mexican -- Mexicans are Catholics (89% according to Wikipedia), Catholics read the bible, Peter has the same first initial as Pedro.  Pedro!!  His name is Pedro!  Not Jesus or Jose or Diego or Adrian.  It's Pedro. From that day on ... I will not forget his name.   By the way, Pedro remembered my name.  I am impressed by that.

You can use other things like "Blue Eyed Kevin", "Stan the Man", or other tricks like writing the name down and placing it where you can see it. When I worked as a receptionist, sometimes I would have a mental block regarding someone's name. That's when I put a little post-it note on my computer monitor with their name and leave it there until I have it committed to memory. If I still can't remember a name, I close my eyes and go through the alphabet in my mind and 99% of the time if comes back to me. It's a weird gift.

See, the thing is I have seen how it makes people feel when I remember their name. It gives me a thrill to see a warm smile wash over a new friend's face when they realize that I have remembered their name.  I know how I feel when someone remembers my name.  Does that happen to you?

I love people.  Since February is the love month ~ just thought you should know I love you, whatever your name is!  I know today is the last day of January but it's February somewhere, right?

love, susan

P.S.  I don't have the same gift for remembering places I've been. That's Gene's gift. That guy can remember every highway he's ever traveled.  How does he do that?



  1. Enjoy it while you can Sue. When you can't remember what you are to remember it is bad. So when we have a blank look jump in please (while you can) for we used to have good memories too but not sure where they went. I could remember every phone number we had since 1952 but now I can't even remember my own now.

  2. Yeah, I'm afraid there are a lot of other things I forget easily. I think this whole name-thing is stored in my brain in the same place those 25-year memories are stored (See my post: The Challenger). The brain is fascinating to me. I also can remember numbers. But I can't remember many of the towns we've visited. I don't know why that is.

  3. I can remember names as well. I still recognize people around Juneau that I used to go to Rainbow Glacier camp with in the 3rd and 4th grade......or kids that used to travel to Haines for BB or track....I recognize them AND I know their names. I find it more of a curse...I am always meeting people and saying things like "I've actually met you before at the (Blank) about (blank) years ago and they look at me like I'm crazy stalker lady. And NO ONE ever recognizes or remembers me!!


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