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Forgetting peoples names in social settings

I’m great with faces. I’m terrible with names.

You can tell me your name three or four times. I’ll still forget it.

At social events—and particularly at professional events—this used to feel really embarrassing. It made me feel like people must view me as aloof and incompetent.

But somewhere along the way, I started doing two things that really changed all of that for me…

I started telling people I’m awful with names.

Nice to meet you, Jim! I’m awful with names, so I’m probably going to forget yours. It’s a personal failing of mine, so please don’t take it personally if I have to ask you again later.

It’s amazing how much just being upfront with folks can diffuse an otherwise awkward interaction.

I also get a lot of “Oh, me too!” It’s nice to find kindred spirits!

I also repeat their name a bunch of times.

If I really don’t want to forget it, I’ll say their name something like half a dozen times.

Jim. Jim. Jim. Jim. Jim. Jim.

Yes, it makes you look weird! But let’s be honest, we probably all look weird anyways. Who cares? Just own it!

And you know what? It works.

Not 100 percent of the time, of course. But I’m way less likely to forget a name when I do that.