How to: Actually Remember Anyone’s Names

Me, immediately after someone tells me their name.
Me, immediately after someone tells me their name. By Courtesy of Rihanna / Universal Music Group

It’s been a year and a half since many of us were last on campus together, so re-introducing yourself to that kid from your Ec10a section is understandable. But once this first week of school grace period is over, you either remember their name or purposely avoid making eye contact with them for the rest of the year. We’ve got you with some tips to help you look like you really care about the people you meet — or just pay attention when you read Flyby articles.

Make It Personal

We know you’re super busy and have new people coming up to you 24/7, but try your best to find something unique about each interaction. Maybe you’re in the same dorm, or both come from the same block in NYC. Associate their name with that first interaction, so you’ll always remember that kid named Matt who you met cramming for the Math 1b midterm.

Repeat It Back

Practice makes perfect, and learning someone’s name is no exception. As soon as someone introduces themselves to you, say it back to them. Especially if you didn’t hear it perfectly the first time, this little trick will help you not only remember their name, but remember the right name (sorry to that girl from Math 1b whose name is apparently not Kenzie).

Exchange Contact Information

Maybe you’ve just had a three hour conversation about your mutual love of Disney Channel Original Movies, or maybe you’re simply looking for another pset buddy. Either way, it can’t hurt to give them a follow on the gram or add them to your contacts. An extra bonus is that by typing in their name, you’ll remember it better. At least, that’s what that one teacher in high school who made us copy pages from the textbook swore. This is also the perfect pretext for getting those digits — for a friend, of course — without making things awkward.

Give Up

Let’s be honest, we’re all a little out of practice when it comes to everyday human interactions. We’ve spent the last year and a half with cheat sheets of everyone’s names labeled right under their Zoom boxes, so these first few weeks will be a tough transition. If you find yourself racking your brains to recall the name of an acquaintance as said acquaintance and their posse stares you down, ready to call you out for being a bad person… don’t stress. Reinvent yourself as one of those people who walks around calling everyone “bud” or “champ,” and never again be accused of not valuing a friendship (if you have any of those left, of course).

These tips should serve you well enough in any dhall or outdoor situation, but maybe you’ve realized that the real problem lies with recognizing the people behind the mask. If so, no worries, Flyby’s got you covered there too!

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