Honestly, just ask
For What really is in a name? What’s wrong with forgetting someone’s name? Spoiler Alert: Nothing.
February 27, 2017
“Hey Reagan, I haven’t seen you in a long time.” My eye’s bulge and the pit in my stomach grows. Oh no, it’s happening again. Think! Think! Think! I can’t remember their name. I stare at their face for as long as I can without being creepy. It doesn’t come to me. I hope they can’t tell that when I say “hey,” I don’t say their name. We talk for awhile, and then we go our separate ways. I am no better off, because I still don’t know their name.
For me, this happens a lot. I know, it’s bad. It has me painstakingly searching through yearbooks hoping they were in it. Otherwise, I creepily wait for an opportunity to see what they write on the top of their papers. I’ve even resorted to asking them how to spell their name. This method may seem the best, but the name may be simple; do I really want to ask Bob how to spell his name?
Why must this misfortune befall me? I have brought this dilemma up with several people, and they all suggest one method to avoid: not asking the person. However, it would be so easy for me to go up to them and simply say, “Hey, I am so sorry I forgot your name. Can you tell me again?”
The reason I don’t do this is because it’s embarrassing. I have to admit I forgot an important part of a person’s identity. It’s almost like admitting that they are insignificant to me, but they’re not. However, I shouldn’t feel embarrassed about my shortcoming. We have all been there and therefore shouldn’t be penalized for forgetting someone’s name.
A name is only an identification so we don’t have to yell “hey you.” A label to differentiate people. A microwave still heats up food just as well if we called it “Percy’s Super Cool Food Heater-Upper,” (although it might not sell as well). Bob is just as much a cat lover if he were referred to as a Tim. A name means nothing. Therefore admitting we forgot someone’s name isn’t admitting we forgot an important part of them. Our minds have just interpreted that name as an insignificant fact. It’s the reason that you could remember the instrument someone plays, but not their name. That is an ability, not a trivial identification.
When we forget someone’s name, it doesn’t mean that they’re insignificant to us. Some people forget the word “microwave,” but we all still find them very helpful. Some parents accidentally call their kid the wrong name, and that certainly does not mean they are insignificant to them. A name is just a simple label.
Any perceived connotation to that label is all in our head. In olden times, people would introduce themselves as their father’s son instead of a last name. That was how someone gained honor. We know now that people shouldn’t be defined by their parents. Instead, they should gain their own honor, because a name doesn’t give them anything. It has no bearing on who they are as a person.
Sometimes we forget that label, and so we must find out. There are so many ways to figure out someone’s name, and even more tips on how to remember it in the first place. However, in all honesty, we should just be able to ask. It’s a simple question with an even simpler explanation.
A simple, “I’m sorry, I forgot your name. Can you please repeat it?” would suffice. We should be able to ask, even if we have to interject right after they say it, because it slid in one ear and out the other.
So yes, I am sorry that remembering people’s names isn’t my forte, but it happens. It happens to a lot of people–not only me. So sometimes it’s a question that should be asked. It’s a question that needs to be asked. To close out, I say that if you have forgotten my name, it’s okay. You should ask me, and I will say, “My name is Reagan, and it’s okay you forgot my name.” Then I will probably proceed to tell you I forgot yours as well.