All my life I’ve told people that I’m bad with names when I can’t remember theirs. This isn’t entirely true. But it’s not entirely false, either.
The “problem” — if one can characterize something so relatively trivial as a true problem in a world flush with famine, poverty, economic woes, WMDs and the constant threat that Robert Pattinson’s acting is lurking around every corner — is that people tend to fall into one of three categories for me: 1) uninteresting, unattractive, not ambitious…in a word, average. And average isn’t good enough to get your name remembered in the sea of people that we all meet randomly throughout our lives. If that sounds cold, maybe it’s time to stop listing Nickelback and “hanging with friends” as your only interests when I ask you about yourself. 2) People I pretend to not really remember in order to either sound aloof, secure a higher social footing, or to avoid an awkward situation where I remember them, but they have no recollection of me. These are usually either people I’d like to avoid and forget altogether, or people that I think should remember me and do the initiating (the implication being that I’m “too good” to start interactions with them…I know, I know, I’m a bastard). 3) The final group is everyone who meets or exceeds that value quotient (e.g. people I look up to or respect, successful peers, fun people, attractive women, etc.) but for whom I still feign ignorance of because I don’t want to come off as the creepy-stalker type or someone who’s overly into them or whatever. 3a) In fairness to myself, I should point out that I do genuinely forget people’s names sometimes even if they don’t fit into any of the aforementioned categories. Same is true if I’m being introduced to a group…once you’ve said more than two names in a row, I’ve started flushing them to clear out the mental space I need to make a herpes joke. And herpes jokes take the most mental energy of all the STD jokes.