Remember me? Umm. . .no.

Why do people feel the need to quiz others on their short/long term memory?

I just saw a woman at my place of business. She knew me by name, and behaved the way a fairly close friend might. I had no idea who she might be. Eventually she realized my situation.

Instead of telling me how we knew each other, she began going on about how she couldn’t believe i didn’t remember her. I tried to figure out who she was, but no way. Eventually she said, “Well I guess you must have a horrible memory”. To which I replied, “Or else you aren’t as memorable as you think”.

I felt bad immediately after saying that, but hey. . .

She paid by credit card. Even with her name, I have no idea who she is.:dubious:

Happens to me a lot, too. I’m bad with both names AND faces (but MUCH worse with names). I usually have to meet someone several times in a short time period to really internalize who they are enough to recall their identity later. Even with acquaintances that I do remember, changes in haricuts and clothing styles can still throw me off.

I know some people I’ve dealt with have been non-plussed – or even insulted – by my inability to remember them. But I can’t help it. I’ve learned some coping mechanisms, and have even been able to become good acquaintances with folks I’ve had to have re-introduced to me five or six times.

Kayaker, that was a great reply. No need to feel bad. Will have to remember that one for the future.

I find it especially bad when I’m seeing the person out of the usual context. I ran into a skinny, bald-on-top guy at a fund raiser. He didn’t seem to know be by name but he was delighted to run into me, shaked my hand like a good buddy etc.

He was one of the “stuck kayak guys”. Our group of paddlers had helped his group of paddlers try to un-stuck a boat after a novice had accidentally gone over some rapids on what was supposed to be a gentle river paddle. So I’d only ever seen this guy sunburned with a helmet on his head and a PFD, so I couldn’t tell that he was normally pale, skinny and bald on top.

At least he didn’t play stupid games. When my eyes glazed over with confusion, he said “I’m Paul, one of the stuck kayak guys!” Seeing the dude in a suit at a hoity-toity event, I never would have guessed if he hadn’t told me.

I remember almost everyone, it’s just that I know it’s not reciprocal so I usually don’t say or do anything. I’ll just be thinking “Ha. That’s the guy from my apartment building 20 years ago.” In fact that just happened to me about a year ago. In this case though he too had a good memory and we ended up chatting.

Why didn’t you just say, “excuse me, but how do we know each other?”

With some people, they enjoy the game more than simply giving a normal response. Or, they can’t take such an obvious hint. So, either way, sometimes even this question wouldn’t work.

They do enjoy the game and it’s fucking annoying and I’ve been known to just stop trying if you keep nagging me. Just tell me who you are already! Like bordelond, I have to make an effort if I am to remember you, and my job is such that I talk to dozens of people, so I don’t really make an effort, generally. Just tell me who you are!

Because by the time she began playing her game, I realized she was not someone I wanted to know.

Great, so now we’re all stuck wondering who the heck she was. If you should remember, please do come back and tell us. . .


I’ve been wracking (what’s left of) my brain. I’ve asked a few friends, and my gf. Nobody knows her. Oh well.

I can identify with you. If people would just tell me who they are, I might remember them!

I’m horrible with faces. Usually, though, I’m good at remembering names. I have a story about this, too.

One time, I got on the SkyTrain here and sat in an available seat next to a guy who looked around my age. I had my mp3 player going, and I was carrying a bag that said Cupcakes (a local cupcake place). The guy I sat with was also listening to earphones. He took his earphones out and said hi and asked me what was up. I said “Nothing much” or something similar, and then he asked me if I worked at Cupcakes. “No, I just like cupcakes!” Then he asked me again: “So, what’s UP?” with the “up” part stressed. At that point, I figured that maybe my previous answer had been incorrect, and that he had really been asking me what I was doing that night, so I told him I was on my way to meet my boyfriend. He turned away immediately without even another word and put his earphones back on. Then I got to awkwardly sit next to him for the rest of the ride, wondering what the heck.

A couple of days later at work, a coworker who I am friends with says to me, “You sat with my boyfriend on the train and you didn’t know who he was!” Ohhh, so that’s who it was! :smack: I had met the guy twice already, thought he was a nice guy, and talked to him for a while both times. Had no idea it was him on the train. She told me that he had thought that when I said “boyfriend”, it meant that I thought he was hitting on me and trying to get him to go away. Not the case, I was just answering what I thought was the question! And the fact that he asked me if I worked at Cupcakes also threw me off, as I figured that anyone who knew me would know where I worked.

If he had reminded me of even his first name, I would have instantly pieced it together and all that awkwardness could have been avoided!

Answer: “Aw, c’mon! You have got to remember!”

Sometimes the direct question still doesn’t produce the desired answer.

Ned… Ryerson. “Needlenose Ned”? “Ned the Head”? C’mon, buddy. Case Western High. Ned Ryerson: I did the whistling belly-button trick at the high school talent show? Bing! Ned Ryerson: got the shingles real bad senior year, almost didn’t graduate? Bing, again. Ned Ryerson: I dated your sister Mary Pat a couple times until you told me not to

Feyman tells this story in Surely You’re Joking…:

Oh my God! Herman died?!? :eek:

^Cool story, Bricker. Unfortunately, my unknown woman appeared to be around 30 and in apparently good health. Unlikely to die anytime soon.:frowning:

Just wait till you get that court order for back child support :eek:

Now thats socially awkward :slight_smile:

About Bricker’s story: I have few enough friends that I intend to suggest to my fiancee that should she need pallbearers for me to call people at random and tell this story (substituting me for Herman, of course.) Should be able to get the necessary amount that way.:slight_smile:

I, too, am terrible with names and faces. When I was in martial arts I could remember a new person’s name–with a lot of work on my part–about the length of the class. At the next class I’d recognize them. If they stopped coming for a few classes they faded out fast and a month later I’d have to start all over if they came back.

Anyway, what I found worked for me was the honest “I’m terribly sorry. I’m bad with names and even though I should remember yours, I don’t.” I always looked suitably abashed.

This happens to me all the time, especially if I meet the other person in a completely different context. I just say, “I’m sorry, but you have the advantage over me, since you know who I am but I don’t know who you are. I’m afraid that between getting older, traveling around the country, and looking at thousands of pictures online over the past few years, I just can’t seem to place you.”

If they still give me grief, I just fall back to, “Well, it probably isn’t you. See, my mom has Alzheimer’s and it might be hereditary.”