Forget People’s Names – They Aren’t That Important Any Way

I was just visiting Ian’s Messy Desk and saw where he had added a bookmark to How to Remember Names – . I posted a comment there that I felt was probably worthy of a full blog posting here. So, here it is (slightly edited):

A few years go I confessed to somone that I had just met that I was really bad with names, I don’t even remember who it was now. He countered by saying, “No you’re not.” I was surprised at his arrogance. “I bet you never forget a computer name do you?” I had to admit that he was right. In fact, I could easily remember the names of servers that I worked on only once many years ago. This brief comment made me realize that I didn’t remember people’s names becuase I just didn’t deem those people to be as important to me as those machines were.

This was a real moment of reckoning for me as I realized it was in direct conflict with God’s word—I wasn’t loving my neighbor as I loved a computer, much less as I loved myself. After that realization, when I met someone new, I would say a brief silent prayer for them. It would usually begin like, “Ian is important to God, and therefore important to me. Father, bless Ian….”

Unfortunately I don’t always remember to do this, but when I do I usually have no problem remembering those people’s names. I’ve remembered the names of waiters and waitresses for months after they’ve served me even though there was no seemingly practical reason to do so—they were finally important to me.

So, what can you remember better than people’s names—the names of celebrities, politicians, flowers, animals, cars, books, movies, songs, etc. It might not be that you can’t remember people’s names, but just that people aren’t as important to you as those things are.

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  • Reply
    Ian McKenzie
    5/27/2006 at 11:01 am

    Thanks for the link Ricky. Your point is on the money. That dichotomy in my memory skills troubled my for years until it clicked that the only way it was going to change was by my becoming more interested in the people within my sphere.

  • Reply
    Ken Girard
    7/17/2007 at 6:09 pm

    Thanks. I love it. Not the method I am going to use, but the concept is there.

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