I met a new neighbor this morning. I was out walking with my kids, and he was hanging out on his porch with his kids. We chatted, discussed jobs and kids' ages. I told him my name, and he told me his. And I immediately forgot it.
It's something normal, like Jeff. I remember his wife's name, because it's not a name you hear every day. But the dude's name escapes me. It was just too basic, probably Phil or Chris.
I'm horrible at remembering names. Awful at it. My excuse has always been that no one ever remembers my name, so why should I remember anybody else's? People always think I'm a "Lisa." Seriously. When I think "Lisa," I think of a woman I knew back in the day who had big, curly, 1987-Jersey-Shore hair and who always wore leather jackets. So, yeah, I guess that is about right.
I hope my husband's around the next time I run into this neighbor guy. That would make it easy. John and I have a deal that if I don't introduce him, it means I don't remember the person's name and he should introduce his own damn self.
Or I could just do the honest thing and tell Jeff/Phil/Chris I'm a moron the next time I see him.
* * *
I posted this on Facebook after the neighbor exchange: "Just met a new neighbor and immediately forgot his name, thus ensuring that the next encounter will be awkward." Many of my friends had great ideas about how to deal with this kind of situation, both in the present and in the future.
1. Every time I meet someone new and know I'm going to need to remember their name, I ask them again once before the first encounter ends. I figure that's less rude than asking again next time.
2. Next time you see him again reintroduce yourself and he will mimic that. Just say, "Hi! We spoke last week...I'm Julie. Did you get any flooding in your basement?"
3. Ask the mail man what his name is...
4. ...or steal his mail. federal offense > awkward encounter
5. Give him a fun nickname, like Sparky. Be very insistent about using it.
6. Or you can just keep saying, "Hey Yoooooooooou!"
7. Here's where being 61 is great. I just cheerfully say, now what's your name again? After that I use any old name and they'll correct you. After a few of those tricks I write on my phone's note pad.
8. Call him "Champ." Guys like being called that.
9. I have such trouble with names of our neighbors too! So I assume they have trouble too and I always try to at least say my kids names in our conversations so they have something.
10. I will ask my neighbor (Yes! Pre-convo recon!)
How do you remember other people's names?
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