What’s Your Name Again?

What’s Your Name Again?

Have you ever heard someone say, “Oh, I’m sorry; I’m horrible with names.” This is a very common thing that you hear people say when you meet new people, etc. Well, I am now one of those people! I used to be REALLY good with names. I would remember this random persons name I met out and about through a group of friends and a random place.

I wish people could wear name tags

However, this is not the case anymore for me. Recently, I have been introduced to someone three times over a short amount of time. I still forget his or her name to this day. I really wish people could wear nametags around me. Anyways, I feel horrible when I don’t remember someone’s name, especially if I have been around them in a small group setting multiple times.

Pre-diagnosis, if someone didn’t remember my name that I had met multiple times, I felt sort of offended. It used to make me think to myself, “Well did I not make any sort of impression at all?” I felt as if the person felt like my name wasn’t important enough to remember.

So, I was at a friendly gathering and I came across this girl that I have been around multiple times. She came up to me and we were talking a lot but I could not remember her name at all. Now usually, if I get into this situation, I have another friend introduce himself or herself to the person I don’t know. This way they have to tell my friend their name. No such luck in this event, because we ALL already knew each other.

Social media can help

What to do next? I try to talk to one of my close friends nearby to tell me the person’s name without being obvious. This wasn’t an option at the time with this certain situation. So I did what any person now-a-days does, I Facebook stalked them. Thank goodness some of our mutual friends tagged them in a recent post and I got the name. However, that’s a lot of work to get a person’s name, just so I don’t come off rude.

I know that I could easily just ask for their name, but I don’t want to be rude, make someone mad or hurt their feelings. Some people might go about this a different way than I do, but I wanted to just share my personal experience on this topic.

To be honest, I have two kids and I mix up their names ALL the time. (LOL) On a serious note, I feel like I will remember a name more than likely if I repeat it a few times in conversation, if I find something to give me a hint that I link their name to, etc.

Sensory overload makes it worse

I’ve also come to realize that the less I have going on around me, the more likely I am going to remember their name. When I tend to have a bit of a ‘Sensory Overload’, that’s when my brain can’t keep up with everything that is going on around me, and I might forget the name of the person I was introduced to.

Luckily, my husband and close friends know that I have this issue. My hubby and friends will help remind me of names of people if they see I’m struggling. I still think it would be easier to ask everyone to wear nametags, but my husband said that I can’t just walk around with a roll of nametags and a sharpie.

It can happen even with old friends

Now, this lapse in memory on names doesn’t just happen with people I’ve met recently, but it can also happen to me with people I’ve known for a long period of time. However, I don’t see this person I have known for a long period of time. So I don’t frequently say their name or bring it up in conversation.

For instance, one of my husband’s good friends is married and I met his wife years ago. I have even spent time with her a few times, even vacationed with them. The difference is I don’t talk to or see them often, so I sometimes forget her name.

Sometimes it’s not a complete blank when I try to think of the person’s name. Sometimes I know what letter their name starts with, or I can’t decide if their name is Carrie or Cassie. Oh, have you met someone where their names could be pronounced two different ways? Or if it’s a name that is VERY similar to another… I tend to forget their names during these instances also.

One of many memory issues

Anyways, I just wanted to share something I’ve been dealing with ever since I was diagnosed. It’s been bothering me for a while now. Since it very recently happened, and I remembered it happened, I wanted to share with everyone else. I also have issues with memory lapse on other things as well, but I wanted to speak specifically on the remembering of names… because it really really annoys me!

I feel like this issue would fall under “Cognitive Impairment“. However, I have experienced cognitive issues in many different forms.

xoxo

Ashley Ringstaff

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (29)
  • Nancy W
    1 year ago

    I have a different problem with names. I think I know a persons name but have it wrong. Very embarrassing when I call Linda “Sue” and think that is her name until I call to her across the room and someone else tells me her real name. There is another guy I see at a weekly meeting. His name is Ken but in my Attled MS brain I think of him as Bruce. So the other day on the phone I was speaking with someone else from the group and referred to him. I started to say Bruce but knew that was wrong. So I said, “you know, Mary’s husband.” Sheesh!

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    1 year ago

    Oh! I’ve been there done that too. Out at the softball fields, I was like YELLING at someone (because it can get a bit loud) and they would not turn around. I was wondering if they were ignoring me, then come to find out I was calling for the WRONG person.

    WHOOPS.

    xoxo
    Ashley Ringstaff

  • kimtone
    1 year ago

    I not only have trouble remembering names, now I can’t remember the person! I mean, I know that I know them but can’t figure out how I know them. I will also have a conversation with someone and not remember having spoken to them the very next day. It’s so SCARY and makes me feel so “dumb”. Does anyone else have it to this extent?

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    1 year ago

    I can COMPLETELY relate to this! Some people I meet in a ‘social setting’ where there are a few drinks… if I forget meeting them, they think that I was REALLY INTOXICATED, when I wasn’t. But since I have no memory of meeting them, but I have that deep feeling that I KNOW them, but can’t place it… they think it’s because of some outside contributing factor that is NOT MS.

    Just know that you aren’t alone in it. I’m sure many others can also relate.

    xoxo – Ashley Ringstaff – MultipleSclerosis.net Team Member

  • chalknpens
    1 year ago

    Yes, and it is why I had to retire from teaching.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    1 year ago

    chalknpens – So sorry to hear that you had to retire. 🙁 Hope you are doing well.

    xoxo – Ashley Ringstaff – MultipleScleorsis.net Team Member

  • awfk73
    1 year ago

    I think I found a solution to my not remembering names issue…I call the females “Missy” and the males “mister” or “sir” and do it in such a way they don’t suspect I can’t remember their names.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    1 year ago

    That’s a great tip!! Thank you for sharing 🙂 I will haver to keep that in mind… now only if I can make sure I will REMEMBER it… haha
    xoxo
    Ashley Ringstaff (Moderator)

  • Marcie Kim
    1 year ago

    Thank you for sharing this! It’s so important that we continue the conversation about all the various cognitive impacts of MS. When my husband was diagnosed in 1999, there was so little documented about cognitive impairment. People like you are driving more attention from the medical community – and acknowledgement – which is so important!!

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    1 year ago

    Kim! I couldn’t agree more! Hope your husband and you are doing well!
    Best, Ashley Ringstaff – MultipleSclerosis.net Moderator/Team Member

  • Azkrazy
    1 year ago

    I’ve dealt with this forever it seems (diagnosed in 07) I was a hairdresser with many clients. These clients many of which I had for years. I could tell you how many kids they had and the name of their dog but when out of salon or in contrast I lost their names….it helped when I was working because their name was on my appointment book….my daughter(so sweet) knew this problem I had and would come to salon parties and introduce herself to my clients followed with “and you are?” So I wouldn’t feel the shame of my memory. I no longer can work so my hairstylist days have ended but still fight to remember names…names of the closest people to me…like my boyfriend’s siblings which I have not shared that with him for fear of his knowledge of my progression causing him worry. Unless you’ve experienced this you couldn’t possibly understand it’s mental blow. Like many things with MS you just try and explain that’s why I’m thankful for these posts mostly to remind me I’m not insane and someone understands because they too wear my shoes. Thanks for the post~Azkrazy

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    1 year ago

    @azkrazy – I’m sorry to hear that you too deal w/ the forgetfulness, especially with names. It can be embarrassing in social situations… but mostly it can really be upsetting for the person with MS dealing with it. I get so irritated and embarrassed when my brain just can’t remember things that I know it stored in there, but it’s misplaced and in a jungle of information apparently.

    Thank you for your comment and being apart of the community.
    XOXO
    Ashley Ringstaff

  • itasara
    1 year ago

    When I was quite young I used to watch Phyllis Diller, comedienne, and she, I believe, had five children, and she used to joke that she would not remember their names. It was kind of funny. But then when I had five children of my own I would sometimes have the same issue of calling out the wrong child’s name or taking a moment to figure out who is who. I always thought it had something to do with keeping my childrens’ names and visage in my mind.My kids never could understand it even today. I really don’t think it had anything to do with having MS. I had no idea I had MS until I was 57; maybe it is possible I had it a lot earlier but some of this might be a normal Aging behavior or maybe it’s because I had MS and was never good at names for that reason. Of course Recalling names has gotten worse over the years, but then I know people who are older as I am now > 69) who also have trouble remembering names and they don’t have MS. Like the author here, I do struggle with this especially when I try to recall a friend whose name I know well but haven’t seen the person for sometime. Sometimes when I wait acbit the name comes right back to me. But not always.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    1 year ago

    I can completely relate on the not remember who is who on the kids area. I feel like it happens when I’m frustrated… and the fact that there are a lot of names in the family that start with J – so I just go down the list, and eventually just point at the one I mean. They find this hilarious because I just give up and say “You, whatever your name is at the moment.” I really try to laugh most of it off – and I do mostly, when it’s in my home and happening with my direct family. I feel like they seem to understand a bit more than friends/acquaintances.

    xoxo
    Ashley Ringstaff

  • l4u95h
    1 year ago

    This happens to me all the time and I don’t mind asking. I like relating a person’s name with someone else that has the same name so I can relate the faces together.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    1 year ago

    Awesome! That’s a good idea about relating the name w/ someone else w/ the same name. Didn’t think of that.

    xoxo
    Ashley Ringstaff

  • GRANDJOEBELL
    1 year ago

    I think I used to be an average person for remembering names but it is true my memory is getting disastrous as time goes by. And I feel a bit ridiculous as I am working in a big company and lots of people wave me “Hello Vincent ! ” as my wheelchair makes me very distinctive I guess. My best answer Is a polite smile…

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    1 year ago

    Oh my goodness, I don’t know how I would do in a LARGE company setting. I work with 3-4 other people in my office, so it’s a bit easy for me with them. I sometimes tend to use nicknames too – for those people I can’t remember their name. 🙂

    xoxo
    Ashley Ringstaff

  • clsuhre
    1 year ago

    Lots of people have difficulty with names. This is the one thing I’m never embarrassed to be really upfront with, when I meet people. I tell them, I used to be good with names, but no longer – so if I ask you again next week, I hope you’ll forgive me! And more often than not, they tell me the same thing applies to them. We smile and laugh it off. When I forget something more … esoteric … my explanation is simply that sometimes a brain cell goes off the grid. Fortunately, in that circumstance, once the brain cell is restored, so is its info.

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    1 year ago

    Thanks for commenting! So glad that you are up front about it, from the start. I have been trying to just really remember the name without having to give them a warning that I will forget, but maybe I need to start just being up front as well.

    xoxo
    Ashley Ringstaff

  • SuzyF.
    1 year ago

    Oh Ashley, I have the VERY same problem too, but my loss of short-term memory is even worse. Often I say something to my husband and then almost within seconds say the VERY SAME thing. Then if I catch it, I will ask him, “Wait, did I just say that?” Then he calmly nods or just says, “Yes” How much we are dependent on others to understand, or try to; not to mention ourselves, huh?

  • Ashley Ringstaff moderator author
    1 year ago

    Oh my goodness! This literally just happened to me last night w/ my hubby! He was like, you do know you just went over this with me like 5 minutes ago…

    OOPS
    He wasn’t irritated or anything – but he just wanted me to know that I had gone over it. We tend to laugh it off, and I have to have a white board and notepads all over to write things down, because I will not remember it.

    I used to be that person that was like, “Oh I’ll remember that, don’t need to write it down.” Then when I’m going to what it was I was supposed to remember, I’ve forgotten.

    xoxo
    Ashley Ringstaff

  • itasara
    1 year ago

    Since you brought it up, yes my short-term memory has been difficult lately. My husband says I don’t listen to him, and sometimes that’s true, but sometimes he’ll say something and two minutes later I forget what he said. That happens when I’m talking to someone on the phone or trying to remember something I was about ready to do and did not write it down so I forget what it was. That kind of thing…

  • Azjackie
    1 year ago

    I too have always had a problem with names even as a kid. Luckily I am fabulous with numbers. Addresses, phone numbers, numbers… Like you with name tags, I wish people wore numbers.

  • TracyShudo
    1 year ago

    OMG Ashley, I feel for you. I have always had an issue with names but before MS I tried to remember the first letter of their name, That helps sometimes because if I get the name wrong I say well at least I got the first letter correct. Also when meeting someone new I ask them their name shake their hand and explain I will try and remember your name but due to a condition I have its really hard for me, so sorry if I have to ask you more than one time hope you don’t mind. Oh and I even forget my kids names or husbands, Make in more a little bit more fun. I find my short term memory is the one that has issues. I can remember what my husband / boy friend made me for our first dinner together 26 years ago. But I cant remember if I watch a movie until I re see the first 5 mins , or if I have read a book????I tell people I may forget their name but I wont call them late for dinner. I try to make more fun with it and I find people relax more. Hope this helps. Or keep a small note book and write the name down when no one can see, this can even be on a piece of paper you keep in your pocket. Take care. Tracy PS mind you I get these home and have no idea who this person is or where I meet them… Life with MS.

  • potter
    1 year ago

    I have never been able to remember names, I have always wanted people to wear name tags. I am a artist and a visual learner and I remember things I see. When I was in college I had to write down everything the professor said. Anymore when I meet a new person I tell them it is nice to meet you but I won’t remember your name and why. Potter

  • itasara
    1 year ago

    Very interesting comment. I too have always been a very visual person. I took copious notes when I went to college. I learned by looking at my notes rather than just hearing the professor at a lecture. Even today I was so happy when I got my first computer and then geniuses change a lot of things to be more uniform with less colors which I find visually More difficult for me, so I found an app that allows me to color my folders iwhich helps me quickly identify what I’m looking for. It’s interesting that my husband has everything on his computer in lists rather than in folders or visually because he can read that stuff but I have a hard time going down list of items to find something when I can just look at the individual Items.

  • Bettybeem
    1 year ago

    I’ve always had a problem remembering people’s names – long before MS. I remember faces and voices, but names don’t stick. I’ve wondered if it is associated with my learning disabilities. I had a terrible time learning to read, I reversed letters when writing, and would also reverse the sequence of letters in words (bread, beard), writing numbers correctly was very challenging, and forget spelling. In the 40’s the sight method (Dick and Jane) was in vogue. Later as a graduate student working on my MEd in Reading and Learning Disabilities, I learned 85% of the English language is phonetic.
    Back on track, I don’t let this bother me although it would help if we all had our first name tattooed on our foreheads. I still have to check for transpostions in words and numbers. When given phone numbers, I just ask if I can verify their number. No problem.

  • TracyShudo
    1 year ago

    You sound like me and this condition is called “Dyslexia” Association definition describes dyslexia as “a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling” and is characterized by “difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed” Copied from computer. I was not diagnosed until I went to Collage, mine was not so bad, but I am 55 and 52 to 56 years ago they the school system decide to teach children to read by the sound of the word.. WRONG. People with even mild Dyslexia need to spell by rote, That is how the word is spelt over and over again. I to this day when tired have to think if I am writing, The word “The” it is spelt THE other wise I get it wrong. Also if you don’t know the first 3 correct letters of a spelling of a word you cant find it in a dictionary or even on word correct on the computer. This does in no way make us not smart. Albert Einstein was dyslexic. Or I thought he was until I had to goggle his name to know how to spell it, They say now maybe he was not. We are strong people and we learn to adjust. Some of us have to adjust more than others. I think this makes us more understanding and compassionate people? Cheers Betty

  • Poll