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Here’s What You Can Do If You’ve Forgotten Someone’s Name

Here’s What You Can Do If You’ve Forgotten Someone’s Name

Don’t you hate it when you see a familiar face, but can’t remember their name no matter how hard you try? These awkward moments can be tricky to navigate (not to mention embarrassing), so it’s best to have a back-up plan in place. If you ever have the terrible realization that you’ve forgotten someone’s name, react in one of these five ways.

Own it.

If it makes you feel any better, most people are just as bad at remembering names as you are. I wouldn’t even be writing this article if that wasn’t the case! That said, you still don’t want to blunder through the situation like a rank amateur. Own it with confidence by saying something like, “Please forgive me, but I have to see a person about three times before I’m able to remember their name for good. Would you care to remind me?”

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Don’t panic.

If you’re not confident enough to be so forward about it, that’s okay, too. No matter how you choose to react, the important thing is to stay calm. Worrying about it will just make it harder for you to maintain eye contact and actively listen. A person probably won’t even notice if you don’t use their name during an exchange, but they will definitely notice if you’re so stressed about it that you pay attention to what they are saying.

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Helpful hints.

I have to confess that I forget things pretty quickly, so I like to give myself clues that might help me remember a person’s name as soon as I hear it. For example, if I went to a party and met a guy named Harry who mentioned owning a black stallion, I would silently tell myself, “Harry rides horses.” I would also make a mental note of any distinct characteristics about his appearance that jump out to me (it would be awfully convenient if Harry also wore hipster glasses).

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Positive spin.

The three tips that followed this one are meant to be used when you’ve forgotten someone’s name who you met very recently, or have only seen on a few occasions spread over a long period of time. I would NOT suggest using those approaches if you’ve forgotten someone’s name that you really shouldn’t have, i.e. you’ve been going to the same school or working at the same employer for many months now — in that case, you need to be more delicate, because they might get upset if you don’t put a positive spin on it. If they are an interesting person you would like to know better, you could use this opportunity to take your relationship to the next level by saying something like, “Hey, I can’t believe I don’t have your phone number yet! Here, I don’t trust myself to spell your name right, so I’m going to let you type it.” 

Introduce a friend.

This situation is much easier to diffuse if you happen to be with a friend who (what’s his or her name?!) hasn’t met. Without missing a beat, march right up and say something like, “Hi, nice to see you! I’d like you to meet my friend Harriet.” Of course, they will then proceed to go through the pleasantries like anyone would when meeting a new person, and you’ll have the opportunity to hear their name again without even having to bring up the fact that you forgot it.

How do you react if you’ve forgotten someone’s name? Share your tips (or fun stories) in the comments. If you’d like to spare your friends some awkward social encounters, make sure to click the share button!

Featured photo credit: Hello, my name is anonymous/Quinn Dombrowski via flickr.com

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

More to Help You Achieve More in Less Time

Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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