Trouble remembering names? To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
43 messages

Trouble remembering names?

22 Oct 00 - 12:04 PM (#324512)
Subject: Trouble remembering names?
From: The Shambles

There are some people, my wife being one of them who know exactly who they are talking about and will tell you where they live, what movie they appeared in, what breed of dog they own, but are unable to remember the name.

Her best recently was in trying to remember the fiddler Ali Bain's name. After giving a full description, including movements, she cried out in triumph, Aly MacBain!

This seems to be quite a common problem. For I always seem to have at least three of them in any quiz team, I am a member of. It does make for some very interesting conversations, in which you learn a lot of information, but rarely any that will result in your team winning the quiz.

Do you know anyone like this? ......You don't have to remember their name.

22 Oct 00 - 12:19 PM (#324521)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Morticia

yes, me, I'm afraid........I was once hunting for a particular cd for Gomez and in recruiting one of the drooling and be-acned sales assistants from Virgin Mega-Thieves,promptly went blank.The best I could come up with was Roy.......ermm.....big fish,exoctic... erm...Barracuda, I finally exclaimed in some have this 17 year old who smelled of Biactol and had never shaved stare disdainfully down at me and pronounce with dignity and a hint of a smirk "Would Madam mean Ry Cooder?".......sigh.....

22 Oct 00 - 12:30 PM (#324532)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: GUEST,Phil Cooper

I remember a friend at a festival wearing a name tag saying: "Hi, I don't remember your name either!" I'm getting better at admitting I don't remember and find that's easier to do than bluff through.

22 Oct 00 - 01:11 PM (#324567)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: MK

Little boardroom trick that works well for me. Whenever I have to attend some sort of a meeting with people at a company, I have a small piece of paper in front of me, and I draw a quick chart of the seats around the table. As people enter and are introduced to me, I quickly write their names on the chart and where they are sitting. (I keep the paper obscured by my attache case.) This way I can refer to each and every one of them by name during the meeting and it builds better rapport with them, then saying "sorry what was your name again?".

22 Oct 00 - 03:14 PM (#324656)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Quincy

Well I had a friend who was a bit forgetful with names.....she rang to ask me what cd I wanted for a Christmas present a few years ago and I told her "Urban Hymns" by "The Verve".
She is quite a bit older than me and wasn't up-to-date with the bands around at the time and had the assistant in HMV totally bemused when she insisted that she wanted "One Hundred Best Hymns" by "The Burb".
I did get it though so he must have gone to the same sales school as Morticia's salesman did!!

I didn't do much better myself when I wanted to buy the cd called "Brimful of Asha" last year.....could I remember the title...not a chance!! The only lyrics I could remember were "everybody needs a bosom for a pillow".
Caused much amusement for the young guy at the counter.....and all he could do apart from laugh, was agree with me!!!!!

best (I think!!)

22 Oct 00 - 03:24 PM (#324659)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Matt_R

Brimfull of Asha on the--FORTY FIVE! Woo! Cornershop is cool! BTW The Verve rocks too. You got good taste in music, Yvonne!

Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow
Everybody needs a bosom
Everybody needs a bosom for a pillow
Everybody needs a bosom--I get mine on the 45!

--Matt (britpop fan)

22 Oct 00 - 04:04 PM (#324690)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Lepus Rex

I'm horrible at remembering names. All the people who come through my work remember ME, but then they call up, and say, 'Hey, this is Chad. Wanna have the boss call me after 3?' And I know they're going to be insulted if I say, 'Chad, who?' So my boss gets a list of first names and phone numbers.

Occaisionally, they'll give me the number of their local union (we deal mainly with labour unions at work), like 'This is Gerry at 3821. Have the boss call me, ok?' But my boss usually figures out who these people are, so...

And I also suck at remembering the names of other people's girlfriends, boyfriends, and spouses. And when I go into a book store, my mind goes blank. Either I spend about 5 hours there, looking around, or I have to bring a little piece of paper with author's names on it. My god, what will I be like when I'm 40? :o

---Lepus Rex

22 Oct 00 - 04:27 PM (#324704)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: bill\sables

I too have a problem remembering names, that is why I sort of introduced the Mudcat name badges to help me remember. Now I don't need the badges as mudcatters seem to be memorable people but I tend to forget the names of their other halves. The latest case was at Llanstock when I was introduced to Amoret, the daughter of King Briliant I remembered her name by association with a can of paint called Hammerite, she has now joined Mudcat using Hammerite as her name.
Can anyone explain why it is that years ago I could learn about four or five songs every week and now I have much trouble learning one song in a month. Is it perhaps because in the old days I learnt songs with a story and they had a certain order of verses to tell that story. On the other hand I learn tunes after hearing them once through.
Is it that one part of the brain learns words and another part learns tunes and that the word part in my brain has worn out, or could it be that a tune has a pattern which sort of computes easily.
I would be grateful of any suggestions.
Cheers Bill

22 Oct 00 - 04:51 PM (#324724)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Quincy

Thanks Matt....glad you approve!!
If there's anything you ever need sent over to you.....let me know!

best wishes, Yvonne

22 Oct 00 - 06:28 PM (#324817)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Llanfair

Yes, me too, and it's awful, because people never seem to forget who I am. Can't think why!!!!
Before I finished work last year, I had to write down the full name of the person I was telephoning, and why I was ringing, because I had a couple of nasty moments when I forgot who I was phoning and why.
I blame my lack of hormones, what's your excuse, Bill?
Cheers, Bron.

22 Oct 00 - 06:34 PM (#324824)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Liz the Squeak

I have this theory that you only remember things when in the same state as when you learned them, therefore I know hundreds of tunes and thousands of songs, but only when I'm affluenced by incahol..... get me sober and it's full CRS sydrome.

I even had trouble remembering my only childs name this week!!!


22 Oct 00 - 06:35 PM (#324825)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Liz the Squeak

Nope, sorry, that should be


22 Oct 00 - 10:25 PM (#325014)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: hesperis

Incahol? Is that the stuff the Incans made from maize?

Well, I have forgotten my own name. Once when trying to cash a cheque at the bank, I completely blanked out. It was rather embarassing.

Fortunately I looked very ill, so the teller realized I was just having a bad day, and I wasn't trying to abscond with someone else's money! (Just my own.)

23 Oct 00 - 06:48 AM (#325177)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: The Shambles

Maybe it is those who can and do need to remember names that are in the minority?

When my wife and her parents have conversations, they can talk about and understand who they are speaking about without ever needing to mention a name. I just sit there and smile in wonder.

The following is a typical conversation. ….See if you can work out the 5 names of those being discussed here? Extra points for the film titles.

You know, that Welsh chap who won an Oscar for that one about the serial killer, the one with that girl who was in that film about cabs or something, when she was very young, you know with that Italian actor, who has a name like that Roman Emperor. Oh you must know him he was in all those Vietnam films. Yes you remember, that one with the woman that does all the funny accents, she was in that one about the river. You must know her, yes she was in that big film with him, you know him, that handsome one from that cowboy film about the two outlaws, nice teeth, you know…………

23 Oct 00 - 11:11 AM (#325290)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Llanfair

I know EXACTLY who they are talking about, Shambles, but apart from Anthony Hopkins, the names escape me............
Cheers, Bron.

23 Oct 00 - 11:23 AM (#325298)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: GUEST,Fibula Mattock

Quincy and Matt_R, my problem is that I need a pillow for a bosom...

23 Oct 00 - 11:24 AM (#325300)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: GUEST,Russ

My wife can remember the names of the children of people she met only once, briefly, at a party, 5 years ago. I, on the other hand, can forget your name by the time you have finished introducing yourself. I think it has something to do with brain wiring, but I don't know what.

23 Oct 00 - 11:27 AM (#325301)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Steve Latimer

I could never remember names until I took that Dave Carnegie course.

23 Oct 00 - 11:29 AM (#325303)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: MK

Well Shambles, can you be any more specific?
This is what I get so far, from what you mentioned:

Anthony Hopkins,
Jodie Foster
Robert DeNiro
Meryl Streep
Either Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford or Paul Newman

23 Oct 00 - 11:35 AM (#325305)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler

I have this problem, even with people at work who I've known for years, I know the dept but can't bring the name to the front of the brain (bluff it out till I can look at the staff list to remind me!).
My dear old mother used to have us going round in circles trying to identify who she meant. I remember once she referred to a pop singer she swore was Percy Faith. No, he's a bandleader. Do you mean Adam Faith? Yes, he plays the orgen. You mean Georgie Fame? No, the other one. It turned out to be Alan Price after all!

23 Oct 00 - 11:53 AM (#325316)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Patrish(inactive)

Eric and I had a problem remebering someones name on the way back from the Jug last week. We both knew her, I could name where she lived, who she worked for, her childrens names, a detailed description of what she looks like and more.............
but no name - well Eric I've remembered - its Angie!

23 Oct 00 - 12:08 PM (#325325)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Steve Parkes

This is something that runs in our family. My little brother, who is a psychiatric-trained nurse (and plays the saxophone; there's a link there if I could only ...) tells me it's called nominal dysphasia, which I can remember with nooo trouble. I got it from Mom, who got it from her mother; she had this trick of running through all the family names till she got to one that sounded reasonable, or until you just gave up and answered . Trouble is, she always started with the girls! I was Jean, Brenda, Albert more often than Stephen. Maybe that explains a lot ...

Songs' names are always much easier to remember than tunes', aren't they? The name of the song usually pops up in the words somewhere, or at least bears some relation to them. Tunes have names simply for convenience(!) but I get mixed up with, say, Jenny picking cockles and Jennie's chickens, not to mention The Fermoy lasses, which sounds like one of the first two (Which one? -- don't ask me!).

Does Nominal Dysphasia sound like a good name for a band? If so, I bags it first!!


23 Oct 00 - 01:52 PM (#325416)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: The Shambles

Ah it has a name! Is there much point in giving it a name? Not many folk will remember it..

"You must know her, yes she was in that big film with him, you know him, that handsome one from that cowboy film about the two outlaws, nice teeth, you know…………"

You must know him, he was in that other film with the same bloke where they played con artists. Oh what is his name, the other one, he married an actor too, used to be into racing driving. I see his name in the supermarket, you know, he has his own brand of salad dressing. ……

And the names of the movies?…….

23 Oct 00 - 03:57 PM (#325517)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Bill D

"I never remember a name, but I always forget a face"

(or, "I never remember a tune, but I always forget the lyrics")

and like Steve says about his mom, I knew a woman once who had 6 kids. She seemed to have a little roulette wheel in her head with their names on when she needed to yell at a kid, she'd just jam an imaginary finger into that wheel and start with whatever name she hit, and then work thru them till she got to the right one! Sometimes it was #1,,,sometimes it took all 6.

I spent years working as a grocery clerk and then teaching freshmen in college, so I had literally thousands of people who knew ME, but whom I seldom recognized. I suspect I quit trying because it was so hopeless, and now it often takes me several meetings to attach a label to people I meet.

23 Oct 00 - 06:56 PM (#325700)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Morticia

My mother would get so desperate she'd grab us and look inside the collar......great when we had name tapes sewed in but a sod when she called us St Michael **BG**....typical conversation when I was growing up..... Mum..."When will you learn to come when I call you?" Me and/or my brothers " When you learn to call us by the right name!"

23 Oct 00 - 07:07 PM (#325706)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Matt_R

Whoa Fib...isn't a pillow kinda big to get down yer shirt? Seriously, I need a bosom for a pillow! Or at least a shoulder...

24 Oct 00 - 02:55 AM (#325892)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Little Hawk

Ummm...what was the question? And who was it who asked???


24 Oct 00 - 03:22 AM (#325901)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Liz the Squeak

I was going to post something erudite and witty here, but I've forgotten what it was.....

My mother also did the running through the names thing. For a year I thought my name was Christopher Shirley Elizabeth all run together.... Never did the nametape thing though.... maybe I ought to give it a whirl, and I only have the one child!!


25 Oct 00 - 12:01 AM (#326681)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: CamiSu

Advice too late. Don't give your kids similar sounding names. Jossica and Jeshua? Of course now that Ben is old enough to be a big kid, I start calling him Josh as well. But I think the worst this summer was, after Leiv, one of my AFS kids left, I kept calling the other, Axel, Leiv! He's an only so he's not used to being called someone else's name.

But WHY does a name you have one minute, go away the next, and only after sometimes as much as a day of panicky mental scrambling, deign to reappear?

At least I haven't forgotten my own name, though for most of a year once I forgot how old I was. I was a teenager then, NOT in my dotage (nor even yet)

Cami Su

25 Oct 00 - 12:35 AM (#326705)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: ddw

Shambles — You gotta be talking about Robert Redford and Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

25 Oct 00 - 08:57 AM (#326883)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: The Shambles

Is that the one where the bloke with the bald head collects him with the motorbike and those five other chaps and rides south to shoot up that old church?

25 Oct 00 - 06:21 PM (#327286)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Liz the Squeak

It was a pushbike, unless you are thinking of Any which way but loose, with Clint Eastwood and Clyde the orang utan. Such a shame that animal never got an oscar nomination. The orang was pretty good too....


25 Oct 00 - 07:32 PM (#327356)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Jim Dixon

Yeah, remembering names has always been a problem for me, too. Oddly enough, other kinds of knowledge stick in my memory amazingly well. I'll bet I could still diagram a sentence exactly the way my 5th grade teacher taught me - although I can't remember her name, and I'm not even sure it was 5th grade!

I don't even bother trying to remember phone numbers. Right now, there are only 3 phone numbers I know without looking them up: My home number, my work number, and my mother's home number, which happens to be the same as when I lived there 45 years ago!

It's funny when my wife and I watch a movie together. I will often recognize an actor that I have seen before, and I can visualize the scene he was in, the character he played, and maybe even some of the dialogue, but I can't remember the actor's name or the name of the movie. My wife, on the other hand, often doesn't recognize the actor, but if I succeed in describing the movie in enough detail, she can usually come up with the title and sometimes the actor's name! Then she'll say, "Really? Are you sure it's the same guy?" Then we look it up in a reference book (My favorite is Videohound's Golden Movie Retriever 2000.) and it usually proves I'm right.

By the way, I collect reference books, and lately it seems I use them more for refreshing my memory instead of looking up new things.

I prefer to watch movies at home on video instead of in a theater, because, for one thing, I can take notes! There are some movies, especially mysteries, that I would never understand if I didn't keep a list of the characters' names.

I have been known to rent movies without realizing (until I get them home and my wife sees them) that I have seen them before.

I take notes when I read a novel, too. Every time a new character is introduced, I write his name in the end papers along with the page number. Then if I get confused later, I can look him up.

The fact that I have often neglected to do this probably accounts for the fact that there are many novels I have started and never finished. Especially if I start a novel and put it aside for a few days, on picking it up again I find myself hopelessly confused about who the characters are.

The multi-part Masterpiece Theater stories give me trouble, too.

26 Oct 00 - 02:01 AM (#327593)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: The Shambles

There is a chap that calls with videos. Part of the routine is that after my wife has chosen it, I am called to check whether she has seen it before. If I am not around, she very often watches the same one two or three times but seems resigned to it and enjoys them any way.

I used to get books on a regular basis for a chap from a local library. He had a good idea for ensuring that he did not get books he had already read. He would put in little 'tick', in pencil, on page 88 of every one that he had read. If I saw a book that I thought he might like, I would turn to page 88. Fell down when they had more than one copy of popular titles, but it worked well otherwise.

26 Oct 00 - 11:10 AM (#327774)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Llanfair

Ah, the videos!! I can't remember if I've seen them before, and our collection is nearly large enough so that I've forgotten the older ones and can see them again without knowing whodunnit.
Yet another moneysaving aspect of getting older!!!!
Cheers, Bron.

26 Oct 00 - 12:24 PM (#327827)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Steve Parkes

I've read all the Sherlock Holmes stories at least three times, and heard/seen many of them in at least two different radio and three diferent tv versions obver the years, and I still can't remember who dunnit or how in most of them. It's a real advantage to an avid reader! You can enjoy the same book several times -- it's great!


26 Oct 00 - 04:20 PM (#328031)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Morticia

As an addendum to this, today I got into a conversation with the lady in my local music shop and she started discussing a guy whom she uses as an informal advisor....who happens to be someone I recognise from the description and I say " Oh yeah, you mean Gary ummmmmm, Gary ermmmmm"......this would be pretty lamentable in most circumstances but, and I swear this is true.........this man was best man at my wedding a year and a half ago.Is that bed ready at the NYCFTTS yet?

26 Oct 00 - 05:04 PM (#328072)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Hollowfox

It's small comfort to me, but the only person I know who's worse at remembering names than me is my mother. At my wedding, she introduced herself to my father (granted, they'd been divorced for some time). Three months later I had to see her at the school where she worked, to pick up some paperwork. I came to her classroom, and she introduced herself to me.

26 Oct 00 - 06:01 PM (#328079)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: mousethief

Hollofox, seems like your mom's not bad at remembering names, but faces. This is a symptom of certain psychological disorders. She may, for example, have Asperger's Syndrome.


26 Oct 00 - 06:48 PM (#328095)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Allan C.

I freeze up at the moment of introductions. Once at a party the moment came to introduce my partner to someone with whom I had worked for more than five years. I remembered my partner's name but could not dredge up the name of my coworker. I realized this halfway through the introduction. So, I faked choking on my drink and coughed my way toward the liquid refreshments. After taking the time to swallow something cool I returned, only to find that the two had stood in a state of suspended animation awaiting the completion of the introduction. I began again and once again, before the need of recalling the coworker's name, I had another coughing fit. Still neither of them filled in the blanks to finish the introduction. Ultimately, I gagged my way to another room and stayed there. I don't know if my partner ever learned the name of my coworker.

This kind of thing happens to me nearly every time I attempt an introduction. I might recall the appropriate names five minutes before; but upon making introductions, at least one name is sure to vanish.

(Redford & Newman, BTW)

26 Oct 00 - 07:13 PM (#328108)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: black walnut



28 Oct 00 - 03:59 PM (#329301)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Hollowfox

That's a very interesting thought, Mousethief. My mother doesn't have any of the other indicators for Asperger's Syndrome. However, when my son was diagnosed with it, that was the first time I'd ever heard of it.

28 Oct 00 - 05:12 PM (#329322)
Subject: RE: Trouble remembering names?
From: Rich(bodhránai gan ciall)

I've been really guilty of forgetting names and not wanting to admit it. I figure somebody else will use the forgotten name and save me the embarrassment. Unfortunately it never happens, then two years go by with me periodically running into said person and adressing them as "My friend" , "Brother" or whatever. Then I finally have to admit "I haven't known your name for a long time now and was afraid to admit it."