Remembering names

Remembering names

Think about a situation when you meet someone new. Somebody that just came into your world and wants to perhaps know you a little better. Might be a new friend or a nice colleague. What happens? You both exchange information about your name and maybe someone takes the lead in telling his life story. Or perhaps you take charge in asking well thought of questions that you might have prepared beforehand. Well then comes this very moment when you start to wonder ‘what was the name again..?’

You don’t want to look stupid so you won’t ask again but your mind keeps on thinking what it might be. ‘If I just ask…’ But you won’t. Some kind of wall is blocking you saying these words. They cannot come out of your mouth.


I saw myself circumventing this situation by only pointing at him without mentioning his name. I felt embarrassed.

After you both go your own way you still wonder about this forgotten name. Well, imagine a situation when you see each other again and this other person does remember your name… You of course try the talk around it but definitely look into possibilities of finding out the name. Maybe if I look over the shoulder I can see WhatsApp conversations. Or try to indirectly slide in a phrase as “can you share that with me? Here is my email”.

An more difficult situation I encountered this Monday evening at meditation class. I was telling the group about the conversation I had with a fellow classmate and I noticed that I wasn’t 100% sure about his name. I saw myself circumventing this situation by only pointing at him without mentioning his name. I felt embarrassed. I just couldn’t say that I forgot his name for a split second. Especially since I knew him for more than 3 months so I definitely should know it right now. At least that was my brain signalling.

These situations all boil down to fear of being judged. That the reactions might be negative or that the group will think of you in a bad way. Of course, if you look at it in a more nuanced way, with a different perspective, the direct consequences are limited. I noticed this behaviour in many parts of my life especially with public speaking.

So what is the reason of appearing so persistently in my life? What is behind all this? The answer is defiantly related to the ‘ego’. The image that I have of myself and the image that I want to express to the outside world. If this image comes under treat, is being attacked, it will react in fear. It wants to run away and tries to protect the image as best as it can. If you start to be aware of it just a little bit you would be overwhelmed on how often this plays a roll in the decisions you make. Personally I only scratched the top surface of this aspect and I have much to learn.

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