How To… Learn New Names. Or Give People Different Ones!

9 Jan

Don’t worry, I haven’t turned all educational for 2012 and decided to bring you quick and easy how to guides on DIY and decorating and such. Release sigh of relief! But having made it through the first week as the new girl in a big office I have observed that I have unusual and slightly eccentric methods for remembering names.

It turns out that I make up little songs in my head. A lot.  It’s a bit of a baptism of fire when you are walked around the office on your first day and introduced to smiling faces. You repeat “Haaaiii! I’m Laura!” in your most faux laid back voice, while in your head you quietly panic that you can’t even remember the name of the girl introducing you to these people, let alone begin to remember their names. So, I panicked, and in my normal idiot fashion made a few comments that I wished I hadn’t said. I’m getting more comfortable around these people after a week, but a few faux pas’ still pop up and say hi every now and then. Its made all the more uncomfortable that there is one ever-so friendly guy who greets me in the morning with “Hi Laura!”lovely, but for the first three days I couldn’t for the life of me recall his name, so muttered something unintelligible into my scarf in a panic and sat at my desk.

The songs. For example…. I thought one guy was called Ed. The song went… Glasses on his head, he’s called Ed. Simple, and when I looked at him I remember his name. I’ll soon banish this embarrassing forgetting of names with a witty ditty! I thought.

Turns out it wasn’t. When talking to the marketing girls, they mentioned said Ed, and I responded… “The one with the glasses?” Cue fits of giggles from them, and the voice in my head sounding like a naughty little child shouting “WHAT DID YOU SAY WRONG THIS TIME??!”  To cut a long story short, actual Ed had just returned from holiday and had the classic sunglasses tan. Ed in my head actually wasn’t called Ed at all.

And then I noticed I do it on the train too. Spending 2 hours on the train every day means I look at people. It passes the time. In fact, I am writing this on the train now and currently sharing a carriage with Captain Beerswill, who looks like a pirate and is swigging fosters, fresh from a hard day pillaging and looting. Then there is Lord Totally-Shagging-His-Secretary; a man who is switching between two phones and looking suspicious, and Twitchy Twitcherson, a woman whose eyes are darting about at record speed. She clearly knows more about terrorism than we do…..

The key to naming your travelling buddies and new colleagues is fairly simple. A cardinal rule is to never call them another christian name. For example if the new girl you sit next to in the office looks like a girl called Jessica you used to work with, don’t nickname her that. Chances are you’ll call her it and embarrass yourself, plus it will get stuck in your head and you’ll find it far harder to remember her actual name.

There is an exception to this rule: alliteration nicknames. Take Harry Halitosis on the train or Betty Bounce-alot at the gym… There are no chances you’ll confuse them as their real names!

Try it out! Who are your nickname regulars?

Horatio the Hotty just got on the train…. This could make the journey quicker. But actually I think I’ll just call Anthony the Awesome, after all, that’s his real name.

I’m not the only one who nicknames either… Read BreezyK’s post Barb the Boozebag? Meet Larry loves everybody for some humourous nicknaming on the other side of the pond.

If you aren’t already, follow me on Twitter and Facebook for snippets of special!

*New Years Resolution Update: Played crazy golf this weekend, but not sure this counts towards my unusual thing for the month so im leaning towards a visit to the Ice Bar in London. Exciting!!

18 Responses to “How To… Learn New Names. Or Give People Different Ones!”

  1. susielindau January 9, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    Great idea since I have a problem remembering names! I will give it a try….

  2. McKenzie James January 9, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

    I love that you do this since I do it too! I’m always singing ditties in my head (in fact I realize when I write my poetry it’s almost always written to a tune only I can hear) and have nicknames for everyone. There’s 70’s Porno Guy, Mexican Elvis, etc. I also know what you mean about not using a real name to distinguish someone. there’s a guy at the bar I go to that looks exactly like Kris Kristofferson and I’ve called him Kris more than once by mistake!

  3. Life in the Boomer Lane January 9, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    I have topographanosia, a real disorder. It causes a complete inability to get from Point A to Point B, and also an inability to remember people’s names. Life is a series of mishaps and unwanted adventures. When I try to use a catchword for the person’s name, if I remember anything at all, it would be a word sort of like the catchword, getting me even further away from the person’s name.

  4. breezyk January 9, 2012 at 11:37 pm #

    haha I love it- “Lord Totally shagging his secretary”.. think I’ve had a few encounters with that one! Thanks for the shout-out 🙂

  5. nelle January 9, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    I’m horrid remembering names in introduction. When I first met the Director of the agency I used to work for, I introduced myself to her as Wilma Flintstone.

  6. MJ, Nonstepmom January 10, 2012 at 12:04 am #

    I’m constantly re-naming people…very funny stuff !

  7. prenin January 10, 2012 at 3:10 am #

    I have a dreadful time memorising names – my mate from church, Neil, is a genial red headed viking, I remember Ann, Cath and Janice because they took me through the Alpha course and Faluki and Esther because they are friends I made in church.

    the rest?

    Most of the guys are grey haired and medium build, so remembering their names is murder!!! LoL!!!

    All I can do is write them down and exercise my memory as much as i can. 🙂

    Love and hugs Laura! 🙂


  8. Rach @ This Italian Family January 10, 2012 at 4:21 am #

    Oh goodness, I’m terrible at remembering names, haha! I got so excited when I started college and found out that real names were irrelevant. I thought it was so weird that girls called all other girls “Hey Girl!” but once I realized that I didn’t have to remember names… well… that just made life so simple, haha! And guys became “Bud” or “hey man”… ah, how easy. 😉 I try to do better, though. Especially if it’s going to be someone I will be around again. Writing down names right after I meet someone helps a lot. 🙂

  9. Just Rambling January 10, 2012 at 7:40 am #

    Ahahaha, I love this! So good!
    I need to start doing this. I mean, I already find it scary that I notice the stranger on the bus is wearing new shoes and all of tha… I mean, that’s just scary, you don’t know them, yet you KNOW they are wearing new shoes. I need to nickname them one day.

  10. Kats Whispers January 10, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    Brilliant. I do this all the time especially on the train. I find myself making up little life stories for them too and adding a soundtrack in my mind.

  11. madtante January 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    I had a professor who made us do this. I still remember Crazy Cliff in his Karmenghia (they sound “k”).

  12. gojulesgo January 10, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    Oooh the ice bar sounds awesome – I’ve always wanted to go to one!

    This post is hilarious and I may have to steal your witty ditty tactic; I’m always forgetting names! I panic when I have to introduce two people to each other.

    I do like to give work people nicknames, though, so my friends and family can easily learn who I’m always complaining about, ha! I had a “Toxic Jenn” at a previous job, “Blue Dress” (guess what she always wore?) and one I called “Poop Flowers” (long story)…

  13. Huy-zer January 10, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    I had the same problem, in reverse. The receptionist in my building couldn’t remember my name so she arbitrarily started calling me Jerry. The first time I wasn’t sure if my ears deceived me so I let it go. The next few times I was with coworkers and didn’t want to embarrass her. After a few weeks it was a lost cause so I just accepted my new name.

    Her: See you later, Jerry!

    Me: Have a good night, Pam.

    Coworker: Did she just call you Jerry?

    Me: Shut up and keep walking.

  14. BROOKEandMCKENZIE January 11, 2012 at 1:44 am #

    Funny, I once met a co-worker whose name was Chris but he reminded me of somebody I had worked with before called Tyler so I kept calling him Tyler by accident, I don’t think that was a good idea hahaha, don’t think he liked it.

  15. Marvin the Martian January 11, 2012 at 3:31 am #

    Interesting! I’ve never actually assigned a nickname to anyone. It doesn’t occur to me. But it seems to work for you. 😉

  16. drewpan January 11, 2012 at 5:09 am #

    My dad and I always forget names too. His tactic is to say “hey can I get your new business card?” but that only works once.

    I use internal nicknames too, but generally they tend to be harsh and mean because I’ll make the effort to remember the names of people I like. I’ve used names like “Mr Mole” for this guy who well, looks like the character from Wind in the Willows; “Blue Screen of Death” because this guy tends to freeze up and panic whenever you ask him anything; and “The Witches” because these two women don’t do anything in the office except bicker and make things difficult for everyone else. Over time, my internal names get spread around the office though…

    I guess it’s no wonder that the nickname my interns gave me is “Hate Machine”.

  17. phabulousness January 11, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    Everyone on my blog has their own nickname- since I share way too much about my life as it is. It amusing the bejeezus out of me… One goes by the name if Paper Bag, because she’s so much fun, she could have fun in a paper bag. Another is Sparky, a coworker who accidentally burnt her eyebrows off at a work retreat. It never gets old. 🙂

  18. an uncommon girl January 17, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    I enjoyed this post! I do a sort of association thing to remember names. It works but I’ve learned not to share this information with anyone. I recently told a new acquaintance, a girl, that I remembered her name because I associated her with a football player. She didn’t like that, I can tell!

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