It happened again.
I took my mother and daughter out for the day, to an antique show. The place was packed with curious, interesting objects and loads of people. Within 10 minutes, I bumped into someone I knew. Or…thought I knew. She certainly knew ME:
“Terry! It’s so great to see you- how are you?”
I go into immediate pinball bouncing face and name retrieving mode. She sure looks familiar, but from where? If I can’t remember who she is, how can I possibly know her name? How in the world does she know mine??
Her face is covered in a huge smile, which slowly fades as she realizes I have no clue who she is. I stammer…
”You look so familiar- forgive me, but… how do I know you?”
I see the familiar jaw tension, meaning I’ve displeased yet another person due to my ADD memory black-out.
“I’m Kay Dubrowski! We went to elementary school together!!”
Whew. I’m out of the woods, since I’ve been out of elementary school for over 40 years. Certainly she’d understand that anyone might not recognize a schoolmate after all those years!
I smile and burst out- “KAY! How’ve you BEEN all these years?? It’s been so….long!”
The smile doesn’t return to her face as she mutters: “Well, we did have that mini reunion, just the 5 of us, two years ago at the deli….”
My cheeks began to burn as I stumbled through my introductions- “Um…meet my mom and my daughter, er…it’s great seeing you AGAIN…er…”
How many times has this happened to you? What did you say to get out of the situation gracefully? Tell me below in the comment section cuz certainly I can’t be the only one with name/face ADD amnesia!
I try to play along and ask how they are meanwhile trying to remember where I know them from. I never forget a face …names always. If I can’t come up with it I wind up being honest and say…”You know what ? I can’t remember your last name!” Once I get that then usually a domino effect happens as I recall the first name and how we know each other. I have had a young lady be upset with me that I couldn’t place who was in my TaeBo class….a lot. That was embarrassing. 🙁 she just ignores me now when she sees me and I feel totally ashamed about that. But…you can’t make everybody happy, right?
I usually warn people when I meet them, that I will likely have to be reminded of their name multiple times before I remember it. I have also held entire conversations without remembering a person’s name. I just keep talking without pointing out that I have no idea what their name is.
For things like that, there’s no helping the situation, but when I’m introduced to people, I turn it into a little quirk of mine. It’s amazing how many people will be okay with it when they feel like they’ve been taken into confidence.
I usually go with “I always forget the name and remember the face, so please forgive me if I have to ask again.”
If a joke would be acceptable, I sometimes say “unless your name is Tom, Dick or Harry, I will probably fudge your name once or twice– and even then, I might call you Joe!”
Oh my. This is a huge problem for me. I do remember people, and typically if I have seen them, their faces… buy cannot for the life of me, remember names.
I have had situations with people I am friends with – even people I see regularly – and for whatever reason cannot access the memory file for their name when I see them. Not just from time to time, but on a pretty consistent basis.
I am lucky that I remember faces, because I can honor the memory of the person – say “hi” and just leave out the name – but there are times – like at social events – when you need to come up with the name!
My husband knows – so he often puts out his hand and gets names for me so I don’t have to introduce him. My kids know also and they laugh, my mom is bad with names, so we remember for her.
But I have turned to a co-worker in a meeting and called them the wrong name, or stumbled between two names, and really found myself in a mess.
If anything, I guess – telling others and getting help is good, and I find that the more stressed I am – the less my brain is able to try and access the name file. So I try to remain calm and circle back around to it later….
Good to know I am not the only one.
Thanks for the conversation.
That happens more often than not to me. I used to pride myself in remembering faces, but once I reached my 40’s I’m lucky if I remember my immediate family! LOL. When I find myself in that situation I always apologize to the person and make a joke about getting older and loosing my memory with it!!!!!
For things like that, there’s no helping the situation, but when I’m introduced to people, I turn it into a little quirk of mine. It’s amazing how many people will be okay with it when they feel like they’ve been taken into confidence. I usually go with “I always forget the name and remember the face, so please forgive me if I have to ask again.”
If a joke would be appropriate, I can go with something along the lines of “Unless your name is Tom, Dick or Harry, I will probably fudge your name. Even then, I might end up calling you Joe!”
I also do not remember faces. Some years ago decided it was time to own up to all that. I tell people know right away that is me, that it will happen, and I hope they’ll help me to know who they are — in 45 minutes, the next day or the next time.
My best story to illustrate this is: After I was married I was to be meeting my husband downtown. As the throngs of people approached and passed I kept saying to myself, “I hope I recognize him. I hope I recognize him. I hope I recognize him …..”
I am we’ll known for my inability to remember names and I always tell every single person I meet that I will not remember their name, but I will most definitely remember their face. It works for me, as I have never suffered a moment of embarassment for this particular quirk:). Most things are quickly forgiven when your smile is sincere and people like weird people anyway LOL
Business cards are great in this situation. Simply give the person one and if they don’t have one to exchange, just ask them to put their name and what ever else on the back and then you have what you can’t remember and they have no clue you dont!!
I forgot the name of my homecoming date just one year out of high school. I have a thirty year reunion coming up and I have enlisted the aid of a dear friend who has a memory “like an elephant.” His instructions: “Do not leave my side the whole night!”
I am ALWAYS forgetting names, and not just that, I forget where I know people from. Even people who I worked with closely for several years I can forget within a few months of not seeing them. And I hate to admit to them that I can’t remember, so I just muttle through and hope they’ll throw me a bone so I might remember along the way. It’s so frustrating and embarrassing ;/
In addition to having ADHD I’m involved in a number of different groups and activities. Seeing someone outside of context requires lots of sorting. Sometimes, I completely mystified when someone knows my name that I can swear I’ve never seen before.
The truth may be the best solution.
Yup, I have the name problem too! Just like Lisa said earlier, I even have problems accessing the names of people I see regularly at work. Faces aren’t as bad, but if I’ve only met someone once or twice, I might not remember the face either. I had one such embarrassing situation last summer: I went to a small business lunch where I met a few people in my industry, including a man who was seated next to me at the table. During our conversation I learned that we would both be attending the same conference in Chicago the following week. “See you at the conference,” we said. About a week later at the reception to kick off the Chicago conference, a man came up and greeted me by name. He only looked vaguely familiar, so I thought it was safe to say “I know we’ve met, but I can’t remember where.” When he responded, “Lunch? Last week?” I was quite embarrassed – and a colleague who witnessed all this started joking about the number of martinis I must have had at lunch that day. (For the record, there was no alcohol.) The martini joke took the pressure off, and we all had a good laugh.
Normally I do what a lot of you said you do – I announce right at the introduction that I will probably forget the person’s name. But I also have trouble coming up with names when the person is not there – for example, at work when I’m telling someone about communications I’ve had with others on an issue, I can’t remember the names of those other people, even if they’re people we deal with all the time. (Some of my colleagues have gotten used to this, so I can say something like “you know, the Business Manager for the XYZ program” and they will remind me of the name.)
Oh, it can get so much worse… have you ever been so flustered that you can’t think of the names of people at the neighborhood restaurant that you know you know…that you introduce your husband of 8 years (whom they’ve already met) by the name of a boyfriend from 15 years back? That’s just so bad on so many levels…they all look at you like you have 3 heads and, well, you kinda wish you did, just for the extra memory space…
When my husband and I started dating 16 years ago, he would get so mad at me when I wouldn’t introduce him to people we were talking with and he was meeting for the first time. We eventually came up with a system where, if I didn’t introduce him right away, he would stick his hand out and introduce himself, saving me the horror of having to admit that I couldn’t remember the person’s name. It works every time – they always stick their hand out to shake and introduce themselves as well. I have a photographic memory for faces and where I know them from, just not the names to go with them. Thankfully we live in a small community so I’m not meeting too many new people too often!
In that situation, my family knows to step up and introduce themselves and their connection to me if I don’t immediately introduce them.
Love them so much!!!
I also use Facebook extensively to help my memory.
I was 6 feet away from my dad at my cousin’s HS graduation and even after my kids recognized him and pointed in his general direction….I still wasn’t positive I was looking at the right man. (blush) If you get a haircut….you’re a new person to me.
So, I am finally figuring out I have ADD (ADHD). I have been teased about it for years that I MUST have it but finally I can see it for myself. Anyway, the worst was I recently went on a date with a guy I met through Match.com. We got there and he said, “Amy?” and I said “Jim”. His response? “Uh, it’s Jeff”. Awesome. I sat there feeling like a giant ass for a really long time. I always explain I am bad with names but ppl just EXPECT you to remember and think I am rude. Still learning how to work through this but glad I am not alone!
I have this happen to me all the time as i live in a small town.
Everyone remembers me & my name ~
Mostly I just act like I remember them.
I became a great compiling WAY before I was formally diagnosed with AD/HD.
Since I found Terri , I feel like heavy chains have been removed from my heart, soul & physi.