Remembering Names

I’m really bad about remembering names. I always remember a face, but when it comes to names… nope. I draw a complete blank.
There are times when I look at a friend (my friend, not just someone that I met one time) and literally cannot recall her name. Luckily that’s pretty rare… but it does happen. I can’t remember celebrity names, athletes’ names, restaurant names, clothing brands, etc. Needless to say, I just really am not good with names.
My favorite class in college was my entrepreneurship class. Even though it was about building a business, 50% of the class was about being the “entrepreneur about you.” My professor always said that people who are bad with names are just lazy (I’m paraphrasing here, but that’s more or less what he said/meant). I do and don’t agree. I do know that it’s not a strength of mine for whatever reason. And I do know that there are ways to teach yourself to be better at it.
Right now I’m at a conference filled with bloggers. It’s been really fun to see old friends, get to know some bloggers even better, and (!!!) meet new people. This could be a recipe for disaster if I can’t remember/recall names, which is made even harder when you add in blog names + Instagram handles. Sheesh!
I’ve picked up a few strategies from friends and also from Google (ha) on how to remember names… Here’s what has been working for me. Please leave a comment with your own tips! Would love to get even better about it!
1. Don’t be distracted. I’m the worst about holding my phone in my hand. It’s like a security blanket and it’s really not okay. I don’t stare it all the time, but I definitely can get distracted if it buzzes and I think about what it might be notifying me about. Or I’m just simply not focused. Looking the person directly in the eye and being completely focused as names are being exchanged is the first step. The foundation if you will.
2. Immediately repeat the name in your head. “Hi! I’m Jessica.” Jessica, I’ll say in my head. If it’s a name that’s unfamiliar to me, I might even sound it out in my head almost mimicking her intonation. Hi! I’m Aimee.” Ah-mee. 
3. Make a reference. For me, making a reference about what the person is wearing helps the name “stick” better in my head. More often than not, the reference is what I remember first when I meet the person again and the name– which I’ve “stuck” with the reference– follows. Jessica, amazing tassel earrings. The next time I see Jessica, even if she’s not wearing her tassel earrings, I think, “Tassel earrings… Jessica.”

4. Respond politely. I always try to respond saying the name. This also helps it stick because then I can “hear” myself saying it when I need to recall. “Hi Jessica! It’s so nice to meet you.” 
5. Commit. I’ve really committed to being better about this and it definitely takes practice. It’s working though!! I’m remembering a lot more names!!! 
Do you have a tip or trick that really helps you remember names?!

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Audrey Lin

Oh my gosh I'm the worst at names! When I'm trying to recall someone's name in a situation like summer camp or something, I tell them I'll add them on Facebook and ask for their "Facebook name" (which is a legitimate question, because some people like me don't use their real name for FB or use a nickname. From there I can usually guess what their name is. And if they use their actual name, all the better) or "how to spell their last name" (so their first name pops up too) 😛 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's


This is so funny that you wrote about this today as I was just talking to someone this week about how terrible I am with names. I actually made it my New Year's resolution to remember names better and it hasn't been going well so far. I am the Vice President of a club and its my job to know all the club member's names and I still don't know them all – awful I know! One thing that always helps me is to get a person's phone number or to add them on Facebook. Doing something physically helps me remember them mentally.

Annie N Belle


I learned through sorority recruitment that is helps to repeat their names to them three times at the very beginning of the conversation. "Hi Sarah, nice to meet you!" "Sarah, how has your day been?" "So Sarah, did you have a good weekend?" etc etc. I use this trick at my job, where I work with multiple clients a day, all the time and it really helps!


How funny- I was just talking to my boyfriend about this. I'm also awful at remembering names, and just started an internship where I'm meeting a ton of people. It's SO hard to remember who's who, and like you said I'm way better at remembering faces. I really have to make a conscious effort. Thanks for the tips!


Brienne Peers

These are great tips! I never had an issue with remembering names until I went to college and began meeting SO many people that I just could not remember everyone's name. As a future teacher, I think these tips will be super helpful when I have multiple classes of students!


I've moved around so much, names go in one ear and out the other. I had meet this one girl THREE times and each time I thought I was meeting her for the first time. I was so mortified when she told me we had met each other before. One of the best tips I ever heard was to repeat the name as much as you can in the conversation you have. It really helps to stick the name in your brain.

Running Alyssa


So funny, I was just talking to a friend about this! I'm studying to become a teacher, and I get the kids to make nametags to keep on their desks for the first week or so. A prof I had this year actually took pictures of every person in our class holding a nametag so she could memorize all our names (I realize these don't work in social situations though, haha). The best trick I have is to make an alliterative reference, like fashionable Fiona. Sounds corny to repeat, but at least I remember the name!

Sydney Brown

I have this same problem! People introduce themselves to me and a few minutes later I realize I forgot to actually listen to their name! It was so hard in the beginning of this year, starting college cause we met so many new people all the time!

Anchors and Pearls

Jordyn Brown

I was an ambassador for several years at my college & one of the people I was blessed to develop a relationship ship with was one of our state senators wives. Mrs. Faye taught me that if you happened to forget someone's name (that you were recently introduced to) you can either introduce someone else to them or you can say, "I didn't catch your name" & they'll give you their first name, although they'll be a bit disappointed. Then you just say, "No, I meant your last name-I'm sorry!" They'll be relieved that you didn't forget their first name already and then give you their last name. Then you've got both names 🙂 I've used that tons of times since then!

xoxo, SS

The Southern Stylista