Gretchen Rubin, author of the New York Times and international bestseller, The Happiness Project
“I have a lot of trouble remembering people’s names, and I’ve developed some strategies to deal with that. Of course, I could just say politely, “I’m sorry, I don’t recall your name,” but I prefer to disguise my forgetfulness.
If you face the same challenge, try these tricks:
1. The “I know your name, but I’m blocked” dodge:
“I keep wanting to call you ‘David,’ but I know that’s not right.”
2. The “Of course I know you — in fact, I want all your information” dodge:
“Hey, I’d love to get your card.”
3. The “The tip of my tongue”dodge:
“I know I know your name, but I’m blanking right now.”
4. The “You’re brilliant!” dodge:
“Wow, you have a terrific memory. I can’t believe you remember my name from that meeting six months ago. I can’t remember the names of people I met yesterday! So of course I have to ask you your name.”
5. The “Sure, I remember you” dodge:
(Advanced) “Remind me – what’s your last name?” If you ask a person for his last name, he’s likely to repeat both names. “Doe, John Doe.”
6. The “One-sided introduction” dodge:
“Hey,” you say to the person whose name you can’t remember, “let me introduce you to Pat Smith.” You introduce the two and say the name of the person whose name you remember. Almost always, the nameless person will volunteer his or her name. I just used this strategy three days ago.
Also, remember that others might have trouble remembering your name. When you’re saying hello to someone, err on the side of re-introducing yourself. “Hi, John, it’s Gretchen Rubin.” Say your name slowly and clearly. And don’t get offended if someone doesn’ t remember your name!
Have you found any good strategies for doing a better job of remembering names — or pretending to remember them? ”