An Open Letter To The Girl Who Introduces Herself Every Time We Meet

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Hello.

It’s me.

You know my damn name.

The first time, it was understandable. You meet 20 people in one night at a crowded bar or party and almost instantly forget everyone one of their names. The second time, it was funny. I assumed you were drunk or stupid or, most likely, a combination of both. The third time, it was absurd. “We’ve met before,” I responded, wondering if maybe your mind just needed a strong hand. The fourth time, it was an insult. “Nice to meet you,” you said. “Have you tried Sudoku?” I politely inquired. “I hear it’s wonderful for the mind.” You looked confused but I felt better. A few moments later, I watched you introduce yourself to another one of my friends. “We’ve met,” she said, looking hurt.

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At that moment, I decided to write this article.

I am not a naturally judgmental person unless you are wearing capris. I have overindulged enough times to know that blacking out is your mind’s way of saying, “You don’t want to know.” However, there comes a time when a truly atrocious lack of manners must be confronted and corrected. That time is now.

Let’s start with why. WHY does my stump that lackluster little mind of yours beyond all recognition? Is it terribly difficult? No. There once was a time, bout ’94, when I was but a wee kindergartener with an undeniable runt-like quality. People had trouble with “Chloe” because no one else was named “Chloe.” Chloe was a rare name. This is unfortunately no longer the case. A brief Instagram search tells me there are dozens of Chloe Currans, all of whom I loathe on principle.

Is it my appearance ? Am I, myself, hard to remember? I am very small—although I prefer “waifish”—and have brown hair that various underpaid hairstylists work very hard to make look not mousey. I look like this or this, depending on the lighting. I can see how in a dark, club type environment, I might be hard to distinguish once or twice. But four times? Piffle.

I don’t want to assume the worst of you. I don’t want to just think that you’re a moron. Discovering that I have dozens of mutual friends with an imbecile doesn’t make me feel great about my life choices…and I’m dying to feel great about my life choices. Let’s turn to science for the answers. Here are four common reasons we have trouble remembering names.

The-next-in-line effect

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We fail to remember names because we are focused on introducing ourselves. So, instead of listening to me when I introduce myself, you are mentally preparing yourself to reveal your own identity to maximum effect. Whatever you’re currently practicing in the mirror. I’ve been practicing my Byronic underlook and I think it’s going great.

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There is no excuse for this. I am fascinating.

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According to The Atlantic, “There are two types of storage in the brain: Long-term and short-term. The short-term variety is called “working memory,” and it functions like a very leaky thermos. It doesn’t hold much and it spills stuff out all the time. ‘You can hold just a little bit of information there and if you don’t concentrate on it, it fades away rapidly.’”

Your mind is like a leaky thermos and that should alarm you.

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What’s in a name? Nothing, really. Names don’t contain any real information, so your brain has more trouble remembering names than faces. That’s why most people are better at remembering faces than the names attached to aforementioned faces. However, since you do not remember my face, this isn’t relevant to you.

I must sadly conclude that your mind is a leaky thermos, dribbling stale neuron juice all over the soggy sandwich that is your essence.

What troubles me most about such a woefully inept memory is the potential consequences. Let’s go back to basics, specifically How To Win Friends And Influence People, the first best-selling self-help book and a classic manual on how to succeed. In it, Dale Carnegie extrapolates on The Six Ways to Make People Like You.

Here they are:

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.
  6. Make the other person feel important– and do it sincerely.

Yes, it’s that simple, but how many of us are guilty of ignoring one of these rules? I know I am. Yet you, you who pointedly and repeatedly forgets my name, you are deliberately flaunting the fundamentals.  You are displaying a palpable lack of interest in other people. You are not listening. You are behaving as if I am unimportant.

It’s very foolish to assume strangers are unimportant. Even if they are now (FINE), they might one day be in a position of power. I fully intend to rule the world with an iron fist, preferably from the iron throne. And while, at this moment, you may feel that it doesn’t matter, that you have more than enough friends, that haters gonna hate, that the dislike of strangers cannot possibly interfere with your life, your success, your dreams, your destiny…well, things do change.

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