Why It's Important to Remember a Person's Name

I'm awful at remembering some things, and names is one of them. Someone will introduce themself to me, I'll smile and nod, turn around, and completely forget their name. It's embarassing and frusturating, and I feel like a total asshole when I encounter them again.

"Hi Uhh......."


Why It's Important to Remember a Person's Name.

It doesn't help that I teach kids swimming either. Trying to match names to 50 faces is hard enough, but then the parents come over the very first day to ask how their child is progressing... It's brutal.

Then I have friends with phenomenal memories - they remember names, birthdays, others' schedules... Naturally, they come across as meticulous and caring people, and those are wonderful skills to have.

We feel more respected and valued when someone remembers our name, and we are much more likely to engage in a conversation with someone who uses it too. So when you use someone's name, you identify them as an individual, and when you remember it, it's an indication that you respect and place them in a position of importace.

I say that "I'm terrible with names," and I know that I'm probably just making an excuse. So I've been actively trying to improve my remembering of people's names. Here are some tips that I've found helpful, especially for when I'm meeting more than one person within a short time frame:

1. Focus on the person

Because you actually DO want to remember, right?

2. Repeat their name

Repeat outloud to make sure you're pronouncing it correctly, as this is another opportunity to reinforce the name too. Then repeat in your head a few more times.

3. Associate the name with the face

And try to "fuse" the name with the person's face, if that makes any sense.

4. Think of people with people of the same name

So if you knew one Billy before, now you know two!

5. Rhyme the name

Whatever helps you remember, but sometimes, you just have to keep it to yourself :)

6. Break the name into syllables

Especially with long/uncommon names, I find it much easier to remember two simple syllables than one long stream of letters.

7. Write it down

I'm personally a visual learner, so I like seeing how the name looks on paper.

8. End the convo by repeating their name

Afterall, practice makes better.

9. Ask, if you forget

This is the one I struggle the most with. I really don't like asking them for their name again, especially if they've already remembered mine. But alas, it's better to ask earlier on, than awkwardly avoid calling them for who-knows-how-long.

Hopefully a couple of those tips will be of some help, and if you're already one of those superhumans with perfect memory, well, try not to laugh too hard at my struggling. X)

sherbearee is a GirlsAskGuys Editor
Who are Editors?

Most Helpful Guy

  • good take. i just want to share a pretty funny story about not remembering a few people's names just to give people a funny read:

    so, freshman year of college, there was this girl who was gorgeous i sat next to in calc class. didn't really talk to her much as i didn't really have a need to talk to her beyond introducing myself (didn't think that much of it) and to borrow a pen or something. well, i broke my foot one Saturday early in the first semester from basketball and hobbled my way back to my dorm. well, i lived in a party-ish dorm and saw her and we talked about how we were in the same class and she wanted to know if my foot was ok. after that, we pretty much talked to each other every time we saw each other, but for the life of me, couldn't remember her name. took me until junior year to remember her name. i had an idea, but didn't want to fuck up so i always said, "hey, how are you?" without actually acknowledging her name

    funny enough, i became friends with 2 more girls who lived in my dorm that she was friends with. this was also funny because by the end of the year, we became a really tight nit dorm anyways. but i also couldn't remember their names. and it became really funny because we would see each other and i'd say "hi" and we've had conversations where we talk for a solid 25/30 minutes about random stuff. hell, we were good enough friends where we would hug when we saw each other. and i couldn't remember either of their names. my other friends were really confused because i would say to them, "i still don't remember their names" after we passed by each other. well, i had an idea that one of their names also, but wasn't confident enough and didn't want to fuck up. i think i formally introduced them to each other first semester senior year and it turned out they both had the same name!

    it's funny for me and reading it over, it's not really "haha" funny to others, but i just find it hilarious that i went 3-4 years of not knowing a few girls' names and yet being really close to them. i really don't know how i got away with it for that long.


Most Helpful Girl

  • I used to be the manager of a museum where I had about 100 employees working under me, and also had to manage some 150 volunteers. I easily got to know the employees b/c I saw them everyday and worked on their schedules, but the volunteers drove me crazy. I only met with them in the mornings to hand out schedules, and rarely did I ever interact with the late shift volunteers, but they would always approach me and talk to me about could I recommend them or they would call my name and start up conversations with me about stuff I apparently talked to them about. I just had no room in my brain for 250 names plus additional work staff. The only ones I really ever remembered were the bad ones. I think one should make a real effort to learn the names of people you interact with on a daily basis. I still don't think there was a point in memorizing all the volunteers b/c they were temporary. I only ever memorized the permanent ones that stayed through the seasons, but people you randomly run into, or after a long time, I've always gotten by with hey! how are you! It's been a long time! What's new with you? I've never been called out by someone saying, what's my name?


Join the discussion

What Guys Said 8

  • It's not difficult! I don't think I've ever forgotten someones name... I think

    If you do forget someones name just call them a funny nick name till you remember.
    I didn't know my friends name for 2 weeks and I just called him Jim...
    he took it as an on going joke!
    but that was because I hadn't known his name previously.

  • Shit, I'm terrible with names. And I have a really memorable name too, so nearly everyone remembers it which makes me look like a fool when I can't remember theirs D:

  • 'a person's name is, to that person, the sweetest sound in any language' - Dale Carnegie.

  • Names are quite unimportant. Why would I attempt to remember every single person I have only met once or twice?

    I had it happen several instances already where I straight out said: "Sorry, but I can't remember your name at all anymore."

    99% people aren't pissed about it and those who are I don't care about.

  • You didn't really have a mytake about why it's important to remember names, more how to.

    • Huh, now that you mention it, you're right. Ooops. false advertising again

  • I have a partial hearing loss, so I usually can't hear a name unless it's a man with a booming voice; and I have noticed that if I ask too many times or ask them to get closer to say it again, they get mad, or think I'm stupid. I have even explained that hearing aids will not work as it is nerve damage, but people seem to not give a shit, like it's something I asked for. No empathy left these days. So I just pretend to hear it and pretend to forget, then ask someone else what it was (someone who knows me) or I email their friend and ask them.

    • That's a pretty good way of dealing with it... though it's rude of them to be so inconsiderate..

    • Show All
    • huh. that's not considerate of them... couldn't you complain or something? get them to talk slowerr!!!

    • Oh, believe me, when they do that customer opinion survey right afterward I let them have it!

  • I remember all their names, never their faces.

  • I can't remember names if my life depended on it... And it's not like I will always forget the persons name but it will happen right when I need to know it... Hours later I will be like, "Yeah (their name) said this." and then I will think to myself... oh now I know their name.

    One time I was like. "Hey... Uhm... uh... hold on, let me think... uhh... Oh yeah, mom, what's for dinner." I remember thinking to myself... what the hell do I call this woman... this woman that gave me birth and everyone calls this person by this name... uhm. oh yeah mom.

    But birthdays and anniversaries... I have on lockdown. I will remember their birthday, what date that we met... all that great stuff, but names... nope. I told the girl I'm talking too not to get offended if I ever forget her name... but if I ever forget her birthday and what year she was born on... Then consider that a slap to the face.

    Just a couple of months ago I was at work and talking to one of my co-workers about a conversation with another co-worker that was right next to us... just explaining the entire situation and as I was telling him what was going on I said, "yeah, and then... uh... Uhm, damn what is his name... uh, (points) this guy right here... Yeah, he said yadayadayada..."

    I know his name, but in that moment I completely forgot.


What Girls Said 3

  • Yess! That's so me!! Especially now, cause it's my first year in college and I'm meeting A LOT of new people. I instantly forget their names but when I see them again, I casually ask them what their name was and then I joke about "how I always forget the names of the people I have just met". It's actually not that bad of a thing since most of the people I met have the same problem. So, it's a pretty common one :p
    But, what u said helpss as well. I'm gon try that :D

  • I can't remember names for shit if I don't talk to that person constantly and write that name down. Once I had a friend that I couldn't remember her name for over a month. Yet it's a very common name. :'(

  • Guess I'm one of the lucky ones, it's super easy for me to remember names and birthdays. 😛