Finally you meet that really attractive guy whose name you’ve wanted to know for a while.
He tells you his name. You tell him yours.
Seconds later, introducing you to a third party, the hot guy turns to you and “What’s your name again?”
The blank look on his face isn’t bad memory, said Richard Harris, a Kansas State University psychology professor.
The guy isn’t even necessarily bad with names.
“More likely it’s a subtle message: He’s just not that into you,” Harris said.
Most of the time, the reason a name is forgotten within seconds is you probably weren’t listening or just weren’t interested.
Then again, Harris said, in the same boy-meets-girl scenario there could be another explanation: The hot guy was so distracted by your good looks, he missed the name altogether.
In any case, Harris said, the best tip for catching a name is to pay attention.
That’s a good tip for job seekers looking to make a good first impression. Forgetting the interviewer’s name isn’t good.
It’s something Harris learned during his more than three decades studying memory.
Folks are not born to forget.
“Almost everyone has a good memory for something,” Harris said.
People who are more interested in relationships or for whom remembering names equates to good business — lawyers, salespeople, news reporters — are usually pretty good at it. The more interest one has in a topic, Harris said, the more likely it will imprint on the person’s brain. In other words, to be remembered it helps to be interesting or important.
A few tricks: Use a mnemonic device. For example, Mará (pronounced Ma-RAY) sounds like hooray, so think to yourself, “When I see her, I’ll think, hooray, it’s Mará.”
Or repeat the name the minute you hear it and use it in the conversation: “Hi, John. Nice to meet you, John.”
But, Harris said, if you are not listening and completely miss it, “there’s not much you can do about it except ask, ‘What’s your name again?’”