‘Name-blank-itis’: a surprisingly common modern-day affliction, particularly endemic among the older demographic. A clinical study by Psychology Today shows that as many of 85% of middle and retirement-aged individuals may, in fact, be sufferers.
But it’s not just the oldies among us that are affected; millennials are frequently hit with these ‘senior moments’ too. Perhaps there’s an argument for mandatory name-tagging for everyone? Alternatively, there are a number of simple tactics that can help ward off this most socially awkward of conditions. Here is a selection of the best ones to try:
Most name blanks are created at the initial meet and great stage when people tend to be distracted by all the other thoughts running through their mind. By listening and fully engaging you stand a much better chance of recalling specifics such as names.
Having registered the name, the trick is to consolidate it with as much repetition and reaffirmation as possible. Asking your new acquaintance to spell it out in full will help lodge it firmly within your temporal lobe. Warning: this may make you look odd if their name is John Smith. But you could try “John with an ‘h’?”
3.Write it down
For those with a visual rather than aural learning style it’s helpful to write down the name at the earliest convenience. You might even look to carry around a note-pad for this very purpose, though this could also make you look like an undercover detective on a bad day.
4. Name association
Similar to the popular word association drinking game but with more names and less drink, this tactic involves creating links and patterns between the person’s name and those of celebrities or people you know. Always keep your workings to yourself to avoid causing offence.
5. Address it head on
If after all this your new connection still remains nameless, your best bet is to meet the situation head on and own up to your forgetfulness. Do this early while your forgetfulness is still easily brushed aside. Waiting until the office Christmas Party could make things awkward, especially if Secret Santa is involved.
With several potential tricks up your sleeve, compensating your name-blanking tendencies is easier than it seems. Don’t start reaching for the nametags just yet.