Why you forget people's names, and how to fix it

By Sangeeta Kocharekar July 24, 2017
Street style

Two hacks to solve it.

If you've ever found yourself in the uncomfortable situation of forgetting someone's names, don't beat yourself up about it. It happens to most of us, and there's some very legitimate reasons why, says psychologist Dervla Loughnane. 

Speaking with body+soul, Dervla said it all comes down to what we're focused on when the person initially introduces themselves.

“We forget names because we are not focused on the name. Instead, we’re focused on appraising the person, and monitoring the way that we are presenting ourselves. Ageing, trauma, drugs and alcohol can all impact on our ability to remember names.”

Further to that, anxiety can also be a factor. Dervla explains that when meeting new people, we sometimes feel anxious and that can be counter-productive to the functioning of our memory. 

To fight, Dervla suggests either using the person's name in a sentence soon after the introduction to cement their name in your brain (eg. so Cynthia, did you enjoy the night?) or using visual associations to tie together their name with something unique you've learned about them. 

Image | Christian Vierig / Getty