I remember watching this performer many years ago. Once the show was underway he informed the audience that he had earlier on mingled with those entering the theater, introduced himself, asked their names, chatted some, then headed on stage. Once there, he proceeded to amaze everyone with his ability to recall the names, together with some personal information about scores of individuals with whom he had just conversed. It was a dazzling display of instant recall, much enjoyed by those present.
Most people in attendance probably were thinking – if only I had this ability, what a difference that could make. We all know people so gifted, able to retain and remember the names of hundreds of individuals, readily communicate on a personal level. Who isn’t flattered when others we barely know who, when we meet, remember our names. It leaves a strong positive impression, leads us to believe that somehow we’ve stood out, are special.
But alas, most people concede that they “have trouble with names”, feel embarrassed and upset when they encounter individuals whom they know, but whose names “escape” them. It may even cause them to deliberately avoid such people (and regret they had not paid attention when they were first introduced). Some will muster the courage and admit to a failure of memory and ask to be reminded. From my experience, however, a majority will remain in the dark and hope somehow to discover this elusive identity. They may ask others and possibly learn it that way. Or get lucky when, by chance, someone mentions the name. Once known, considerable effort will be devoted to retaining the basic piece of information.
Because everyone has been given a name it’s easier for humans to be social animals. But it helps considerably if you can recall them.