Always meeting for the first time 4

“It’s like I’m always meeting them for the first time.”

My husband often laments that every time he runs into certain people, it’s like he’s meeting them for the first time because they don’t remember him even though they’ve met in social settings or at work several times.  This often makes him annoyed.  No one wants to be forgotten especially when they remember you.

On the other end of that the being-remembered-or-forgotten-spectrum is me.  I feel guilty that so many people come up to me and remember my unique first name and not only  don’t I remember their names, I don’t remember them. 

Sometimes it’s because their appearance has changed – but then, so has mine.  Other times, as soon as they smile or remind me where we knew each other – the recognition floods back.  Still other times, I simply don’t remember them whether the encounter was brief – as when I facilitated a workshop that they attended – or more frequent – as when we were co-workers.

It is not that people are forgettable, it’s that I forget.  I’ve always had a spotty memory.  Some people and events I remember deeply, whether they were memorable or not, other people and events that were deeply important or repetitive I don’t recollect.   This is especially true of events that were big – positive or negative.

I ask that people forgive me when it’s clear that I don’t remember who you are.  You are not forgettable.  I’m forgetful. 

Having said that, I add this side note to my husband. In the most recent instance you mentioned – the woman is a bit crazy and a bit of a “b” and has been for years.  Several of us have discussed this over the years.  She will act like you don’t exist and she’s never met you during one encounter, looking at you dismissively with her nose stuck up in the air,  and then at another encounter will smile at you as though you are best buds.  She’s got issues.


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About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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4 thoughts on “Always meeting for the first time

  • Lilly

    I must admit, it does make you feel a little special when someone remembers you. It is a bit of a lost art to remember faces and names though. My father who was the world’s greatest salesperson was very accomplished at it. Never forgot a face as he made it his business to remember. I am great with faces but hopeless with names. To the point it can be very embarasssing. And as for you, well it is very hard to remember everyone you come into contact with especially is you are running courses with lots of different participants. Tell your husband he will have to do something very memorable to ensure he is not forgotten. Perhaps a check bow tie, an odd hairstyle, an obnoxious comment lol. As I get older I could care less really. Anonymity is where it is at these days. As long as my loved ones remember me that is all that really matters. Everything else is pretty superficial I guess.

    By the way, I wish I could attend one of your courses.

  • Candelaria

    I have a friend who remembers names, the day he met you, what you were wearing when you met, etc.  It’s admirable and annoying at the same time.  Anonymity is good – invisibility not so much.  I will pass your message on to my husband.  Thanks for the vote of confidence in wishing you could attend one of my workshops. Be careful what you wish for.  (lol)
    Thanks, also, for taking the time to comment.