Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Gift of Gab

I don’t have it.

I wish I did.

I am fascinated by people who do.

Generally speaking, Texans are much better at it than people from the Northeast. Sorry.

But even here, people often don’t introduce themselves. Why is everybody so scared and/or clueless about doing that?  Because when we don’t, situations end up being so damned awkward.

So now, I introduce myself to everyone.

I learned a trick from my husband for parties. Look for someone standing there alone pretending that they want to be staring into the middle distance, stick out your hand and say, “Hi, I’m XXX. How do you know the host?”

Of course, I then promptly forget their names. I don’t think I’m alone in this.

However, I am currently sitting in a supermarket Starbucks. I haven’t been here, literally, for months. But whenever I am, a woman who works the counter (whose name I can’t remember) will say, as she did this morning, “Well, hello Miss Cheryl. How have you been?”

I told her that her ability to remember everyone’s name is amazing. “It is?” she said and shrugged.

How the hell does she do it?

One thing I have figured out is it’s not so much not remembering people’s names as it is not knowing them clearly in the first place.

So now, I’m really trying to do that: ask them to repeat it, say it myself, use it a lot, etc.

I was recently at a dinner party, though, where most of the guests were from India. One person introduced himself. OK. Another. OK. Then a group of eight came in together. Everyone’s name was a long string of unfamiliar sounds.

Nope, lost everybody’s.

I’ll keep trying.

Any tips?

1 comment:

  1. I don't go to large social gatherings anymore, but they used to make me nervous about introductions too. I always felt so self-conscious about what I was going to say and wasn't really listening to what the other person was saying. Now I meet new people at my gym a lot and I force myself to focus on the person and get a mental image of what they look like while I repeat their name. Most of the time it works.

    As for the foreign names, those can be tough--especially a long string of them in a row like you experienced. We had one woman in our Zumba group who was from Spain. Her name was Angeles (pronounced ON-he-lace) that I had no trouble with because I know some Spanish, but the other women in my group couldn't do it to save their souls. One gave up and resorted to calling her "Anna Lisa." Angeles was fine with it though. I guess it's better than having her name mangled in Spanish. At least people remembered her. :)