Pedigrees yes, but names?

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Pedigrees yes, but names?

It can be a struggle to remember names… I had a phone call last week and the person who rang told me her name and then chatted on and on barely drawing a breath. The whole time I’m thinking who is this person? I repeated her name over and over in my head until I was just about to ask her to repeat her name when I realised who she was. She had some of my vintage clothes she was selling in her shop. I was enormously relieved and within the next few seconds she said the reason for her call was that she had sold several items.

This got me thinking about remembering peoples names. And why, when it comes to remembering generations of Arabian horses names in a pedigree I have no problem BUT when it comes to remembering peoples names I can struggle. I guess in my instance I always write horse pedigrees down, then search out photographs to match the names. This way my memory imprints the two together. Sometimes we remember the craziest things. For instance, over the years I recall being surprised that most visiting breeders always remembered the sire of their horses but could never remember the dam. Some could only remember the most famous horse in the pedigree and some couldn’t even remember anything apart from their horses colour. So memory can be a tricky thing.

The thing is, our names are important to us. It’s one of those words that triggers our attention. Do you remember how impressed or surprised you were the last time someone remembered your name? I still get impressed, and I always remember these people in an especially friendly light. So remembering names makes meeting new friends easier, socializing smoother and people respect you.

As Dale Carnegie put it, “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

Whereas you have to smile at Richard Attenborough’s words: “At my age the only problem is with remembering names. When I call everyone darling, it has damn all to do with passionately adoring them, but I know I’m safe calling them that. Although, of course, I adore them too.”

So darlings, being good at remembering people names is an important skill. We want the people around us to care and remembering names is one of the easiest steps to show you do. I read how people have received a job rejection letter over misspelled names. Our daily interactions are made more pleasant and people will be more likely to remember your name if you remember theirs! Nobody no matter who they are likes to be forgotten!

Strangely for me some names stick while others disappear from my head within the first few seconds. I’ve tried several methods and repeating a name works fairly well for me and I work at really listening. I’m getting better except for times when I’m really excited and after such an event I forget far more than just names! 😉

Here are some suggestions for remembering names, adapted from

Repeat the persons name during the conversation.

Make sure you’re listening during the introduction.

Find an animal or object with the same letter as the person. Some examples: “Kath-Kitten”, “Bob-Board”.

If it’s a name that can naturally be associated with something visual, then make use of this connection. For example, names like House, Gold, Wood, Briar, Paris, can all be linked images in your mind to help you recall the name.

Associate the name with a word that it rhymes with, for example, “Kerry Berry”.

Associate the name with something of similar meaning, for example, “Cliff-Mountain”.

Associate the name with what it sounds like, such as Mr Abbott becoming Mr Rabbit! (S0rry, I couldn’t help that one!)

Obviously, keep these associations to yourself, as the person might feel offended by what they might see as a comparison rather than an association! Have them either introduce themselves immediately, or state the name of the person straight out in conversation if they already know it. Make sure you’re listening!

You can discreetly ask someone you know to help you during the conversation; just be careful to do this to the side, and discreetly. A friend or partner could also tell you the person’s name, before you meet them, so that you will get more time to think about the name, thus saving it in your memory.

It’s also easier if the new person you meet, already knows some of your friends. This way, you can ask your friend, but you will also be more likely to remember the name if you think of your friend too

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