Say my name, say my name

Collage of group of young people over colorful vintage isolated background smiling friendly offering handshake as greeting and welcoming. Successful business.

Last week I was reminded why it is so important to put in the work to commit names to memory. As hard as it seems at times, recognition can change someone else's day.

I began a new class at a senior living facility. Immediately I recognized a woman who, years ago, had attended my class at a fitness center. Barbara is quiet and shy. The second I addressed her by her name I saw a light go on. I could tell that it meant the world that she was recognized, that someone remembered her and said her name.

Seeing Barbara smile reminded me how a small thing like being recognized by name can make you feel good. Especially in a sometimes isolating environment, finding a friend was delightful.

Now, on my busiest day I can serve upwards of 85 total people in my fitness classes. Likely, you may interact with as many people in a given day. It is tricky to learn and remember that many names.

There have been times when a new person comes into my life, we introduce ourselves, and mere seconds later I am thinking, "what in the world did she say her name was?"

One of the tactics I've began employing is repeating a name after I learn it. When I introduce myself, I try to repeat the other person's name at least once before we part ways.

Often, I will go back to my smartphone and type that new person's name into the notes section alongside a quick detail about how/where I met them.

I also try to focus and breathe when I meet someone new and learn their name. Stopping my mile-an-minute multitasking helps me concentrate on remembering their name.

If I've gone an embarrassingly long time having forgotten someone's name that I interact with frequently, I will try to discretely enlist the help of someone else who knows them to find their identity. I've also had to chalk it up to mommy-brain and apologize while asking them directly.

That day at the senior facility, I went around the room at the beginning of class to meet the 10 new people. I repeated their names twice, then at the end of the class I challenged myself to repeat all of the names. I got one wrong. This week when I went back I got them all right. It made me feel great and, in their smiles, I saw it made them as well.

I challenge you to introduce yourself, meet new people, and greet them by name. It's proven to be beneficial to your health and wellbeing. And, you'll almost always get a smile in response.