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Do you tend to forget the names of people you’ve just met? Perhaps it’s a huge source of embarrassment for you, so much so that it even causes you social anxiety. This can be problematic because Psychology Today says it’s the one social skill that can make a difference:
Research has found that approximately 85 percent of middle-aged and older adults share this frustrating memory challenge.
The good news is that there’s actually a mind hack that could cure this issue and help prevent you from committing this social faux pas in the future.
But first, why do we forget people’s names? It could be your inattentiveness or complete lack of interest, but the main cognitive cause is our short-term memory, which actually leaks like a balloon. Check out this AsapSCIENCE video for more on that:
The Mind Hacks That Make Forgetting Difficult
The cure to the problem lies in the process of association. Let’s learn a few simple mind hacks from this New York Times article on Indira Pun, who was the Chief Concierge at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong at the time the article was written.
Associate names with personality traits. Use your brain like a camera and capture a snapshot of the person and a unique characteristic. Maybe it’s the hairstyle or a way of walking — anything that can be associated with the name (even if it’s silly). You can connect any information you learn later about the person to their name.
Repeat names in conversation to make them stick. Use their name in a conversation and also play it back in your mind to cement the association you formed in the first step. Indira Pun suggests that you use the name two or three times during the first interaction. She says that everyone likes to hear their name spoken aloud.
Try the Name Recall Exercise Now
The easiest way to check the usability of the advice is to test it right now. Pick up a new novel and test your memory with the two-point workout mentioned above. Or try it out in your next social encounter.
Don’t rely on apps to help you remember. They can be an excuse for your forgetfulness when you don’t really need any. You also can’t rummage around your phone when you come across someone face-to-face.
Does your memory slip? Has any tip worked for you? Tell us in the comments.