But why does it happen? We've got the top 5 reasons why, and hopefully these can help you be more aware of what not to do when you wanna remember someone's name.
1. Blame Your Brain and Its Working Memory
One possibility is that when you meet someone new, you're not focusing on what they're saying to you. Your brain has two types of memories: Long-Term Memory, which keeps the memories of your past like why you loved Spiderman in 5th grade so much, and Short-Term Memory, like when you remember a phone number for a few seconds before you write it down. Your Short-Term Memory, or Working Memory, is fragile and it doesn't take much to lose a piece of info you've stored there. When it comes to names, listen carefully and move it to your Long-Term Memory so it doesn't get trashed easily.
2. The Next-In-Line Effect
The Next-In-Line Effect happens when you focus too much on what you have to do next (give a speech, ask a specific question, all that) that you don't give much attention to the person who just introduced themselves. Many of us are multi-taskers and we try to do many things at once. Unfortunately, it's not that easy. A study by iO9 showed that we tend to focus on finding out someone's name and on what we're going to do next. At the same time. That usually never works out so it's best to do one or the other. Take a minute to grasp someone's name and then pay attention to what you have to do next.
3. The Societal Pressures of Meeting Someone New
While learning someone's name should be one of the main things you remember after an introduction, a lot of times, it gets overshadowed by the societal pressures of meeting new people in the first place. How does the hair look? Dressed appropriately? Anything in the teeth? After all, first impressions are lasting impressions and you want to make sure it's perf - but don't freak out so much that you can't take the time to remember someone's name. Besides, it's never as horrifying as you imagine, anyway.
4. You're Actually Not That Interested
You've decided: This meeting really isn't important because, bottom line, it doesn't really matter. If you just learned the name of someone that you'll probably never see again in life, then odds are you're not gonna waste precious Short-Term Memory space on what their name is. Emma? Ava? Eh, as long as they're not a potential new bestie or someone super important, then maybe learning a new name doesn't matter here.
5. The Insignificance of Names
The Atlantic listed a famous quote about the general concept of names: "Steve may love parkour, but he'd love it just as much if he were Samuel or Sheldon." Sure, names are something to attribute a person's face, likes, dislikes, and characteristics to, but does it really matter? Like in the quote, if a guy named Steve who loves parkour changes his name to Samuel, his name would be different, but he'd still love parkour. Like that big thing outside with leaves growing out of it. We call it a tree but if we call it another name, it's still a tree. Philosophical, but you get the picture.
So remember these tips for remembering names and hopefully the next time someone eagerly waves at you shouting your name, you don't walk up to them all confused like...