Remembering A Name

My wife and I walk into a dinner party and meet a guy as we’re walking in. We nod, and shake hands (pre-coronavirus).

“Hey, I’m KC, what’s your name?”


“Nice to meet you Eric.”

My brain begins imagining what delicious treat is saddled upon an appetizer tray inside. I make my way in and look for the plates. Ah, damn. They are tucked behind the guy I just met.

I lean to my wife, “What’s that guys name? I need a plate.”

I know I’m not the only one to immediately forget someone’s name after they introduce themselves. We all do it. Here is the question though, did I forget Eric’s name or did I never actually listen to him tell me his name was Eric? I would argue the latter.

The reason I didn’t remember Eric’s name is because it didn’t benefit me to know it at the time. I heard a trick on a podcast the other day that one of the best ways to remember someone’s name after meeting them is to ask them a small favor using their name.

“Eric, would you mind opening the door for us our hands are full?”

Innately, we are driven to remember if we believe they can benefit us. It’s a survival mechanism that drives our human instinct.

When is the last time you forgot the name of the potential investor you were introduced to?

When is the last time you forgot the name of the attractive guy you were introduced to?

When is the last time you remembered your friend’s buddy he brought with him to the party from out of town?

Since I realized how bad I was at remembering, I’ve worked hard at it and I take pride in my ability to remember people’s names, regardless of status or their correlation to my benefit. It’s like a mission. I desperately seek out name tags in grocery stores, and after meeting someone I will, bordering on obnoxiously, call them by their name whenever we talk the first time. My buddy who owns farm animals doesn’t name them because it creates an emotional association. Don’t treat people you meet like animals waiting for the slaughter. Regardless of their end benefit to you, they are still humans.

If you’re having a hard time finding a way that works. Here is one way a favorite character of mine, Phil Dunphy, does it:

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