Names Amnesia

I walked out of my Discrete Structures class today and while struggling to get into my coat, literally bumped into one of my former classmates.

She called me by name and said, ‘Hi!’

Oops, I’d forgotten never known her name! When someone’s all gushes and happy to see you for some reason, you’d better know their name.

She’s Chinese, and I kept thinking of any Chinese name I’d encountered in my Economics class in fall. I couldn’t come up with any.

While she asked about my major and we discussed our last semester’s Economics grades. She made a B, while yours truly who stayed at the very front of the class sleeping under the Prof’s gaze, made an A — in fact Dr Kunrod would stop by concernedly before every class and say, ‘Azuka, are you doing okay today?’ While she joked I should have been in International Business (her major) since I’d done so well in Economics, I kept racking my brain to see if I could find any Chinese name that had been mentioned in class, hoping all the while I wouldn’t have to use it there and then.

We said our goodbyes and I headed for the dorms. The first thing I did was log onto the CougarWeb (Mountain State’s student access web) and backtrack to last semester’s classes and course mates. I found her name, which was English, not Chinese — although her last name was.

This isn’t the first time I’m forgetting someone’s name, and every time I have to deal with it, I’m ashamed. I don’t know the names of my supervisors at the library, or of some of my fellow coworkers [even though we greet cordially], and neither do I know the names of some people I’ve met over time. It’s embarrassing to get stopped by someone who says, ‘Hey Azuka!’ and I struggle to remember the person’s name.

Am I really that absent-minded? I get introduced to some people and five minutes later, I keep myself from saying ‘Hey you!’ because I’ve forgotten their names. I say ‘Excuse me’ and everyone around me says, ‘He’s very polite.’ If only they knew…

Here’s another 2007 resolution — to remember the names and details of every person I get to know this year.

The good thing about today is I know that if I run into my friend tomorrow I can say, ‘Hello Jenny!’


  1. belle says:

    psshhhh…don’t fret. I’m HORRIBLE with names too. In fact, if put on the spot, i forget names of those close to me.

    hmmm…maybe i need to get that checked out. lol

  2. mochafella says:

    Don’t worry about it. Can’t remember names either, never forget a face, though.

  3. c0dec says:

    i forget people’s names precisely 3 seconds after i’m introduced to them.

  4. Jaycee says:

    I’m so bad with names its not even funny…and to make it worse they ALWAYS catch me. U shd be happy that at least in ur case the girl didn’t know! Loll..bad on remembering names and birthdays…my best friend had to coach me for one year b4 I started remembering her birthday! Geez!

  5. Azuka says:

    Oh really? I just feel guilty when someone can remember as unremarkable a name as mine and I can’t remember theirs.

    How u dey? Are you still on Nairaland? Sometimes I forget faces, as well as the names that go with them…

    Ha ha!

    Always? I’ve never been caught yet! I’ve remembered a few birthdays through Facebook. I don’t even know my parents’ birthdays — I only know that they both celebrate in May. It’s that bad.

  6. Naijabloke says:

    Nna,since u dan let us know that u like Chinco babes,why r u not doing something abt hooking up with some,cos like this one that u just described seems to like u even to remember ur name …LOL

    Take care man

  7. lmao… Naijabloke.. say it and say it again!!! Azuka.. Make a move on that babe.. she’s totally into you oh…i can tell she wants to french kiss you.. lol.. as for the forgetting names thing.. i’m pretty good with remembering.. but last summer.. i was at a picnic with a bunch of friends from school and there’s this girl that transferred from my school after first year was there too(and we’re veery cool friends at school).. i just realized i didn’t remember her name when i was trying to introduce her to my friend… it was terrible cos it was so obvious… she was so mad at me and everybody at school heard about it man… I felt just horrible! What a time for my brain to freeze on me

  8. nilla says:

    I think we all have that “names amnesia” once in a while (some people more often than others :-))

    Good luck on your additional new year resolution.

  9. Afropinay says:

    LMAO!!! I think almost everyone suffers from the names amnesia syndrome. I am so bad at it as well, but I’m not ashamed to ask, I’ll always do it in a polite-genuine way.:D

    Im sure you don’t even know my full name. You and all these your oriental crushes sha:p

  10. Azuka says:

    I don’t run after all of them and my tastes aren’t completely towards them. I’m just a little biased towards them ;-).

    Errm, first things first. She’s just a friend.

    Now that must be the ultimate in forgetting someone’s name — she definitely had a right to be mad.

    True. Everyone seems to be owning up to this special form of amnesia. I’d better scrap that resolution then…

    I don’t have a crush on this one oh!

    Yes, I know your full name. Hold me before I list them! By the way, do you remember the first template I sent to you? Can you remember whose full name was on there? 😛

  11. Jem says:

    lolllllllll, yup

    i never remember anyone’s name on the first day. You will always catch me asking ” oh sorry, pls what’s your name again?”

  12. taureanminx says:

    I don’t think its bad, I just ask for the name in a very polite way. In some desperate situations I ask them to put their number in my phone themselves lol and watch as they type the name in.

  13. Azuka says:

    At least that’s the first day — and you ask. I don’t bother to ask even a month later, and by then it’s too late.

    Hmmm. Good strategy. I’ll borrow a leaf from you.

  14. unNaked Soul says:

    I get that as well… but I forget names, but never a face or conversation… its a terrible thing oh.. lol… so what I do when I get introduced to meet someone for the first time, I make sure I call out the person’s name within the minute of meeting them… since i don’t forget a conversation, i sure will have the name store therein… lol

    blog on!

  15. snazzy says:

    everyone says that they are bad with names, but I have come to the conclusion that that is not entirely correct. When I was at college I barely remembered anyone’s name. There were people that I knew for my entire 4 years that I had serious (well party serious) conversations with but I never knew their names. My excuse was that I was bad at names. But when I started teaching, after one session with my students I could remember all their names, and then when i stopped teaching i stopped remembering names. Though I will say that “what up babe, or sweetie” (I was in the south) generally works for girls and dog, son, dude takes care of the guys. Cos people who think u should know their name get offended when u don’t. Oh and T-Minx’s thing can backfire, especially if they enter the number and give u the phone back. So that happened and I was like spell your name sef and the name turned out to be Seyi.

  16. mari says:

    I have that same problem as well. Its so annoying when I get introduced to someone and mins later I realize I can’t remember the person name anymore. Someone told me to always use new names in my conversations to make it stick. Doesn’t always work.

    Hey, your Discrete Structures class, is that the same as Discrete Maths…I think I took that class in Uni.

  17. Azuka says:

    Thanks for dropping by my blog! I see people have more amnesia cases than I do! People here probably remember my name because ‘Azuka’ is pretty unique [over here]. All my professors spend a while getting the pronunciation just right, although my surname — Okuleye-Okwuedei — usually defeats them ;-).

    Yeah, it’s a bit awkward calling people by their names until I get to know them better.

    Yeah, Discrete Maths == Discrete Structures, or so my professor explained yesterday.

  18. biodun says:

    Ok, wot is my name Azuka? lol I am pretty good with names actually.

  19. temmy tayo says:

    You are not alone. I am VERY bad with names.
    I am still learning how to remember names. 2007 resolution number 5.

  20. Princess says:

    That reminds me of the lady that does my nails. I have been going to her for manicures and pedicures for at least three years, and yet she cannot remember my name. She can recall the first letter and goes through a list of different names before she finally asks me what my name is? I find it hilarious.

  21. mochafella says:

    I full ground remain. How u sef dey? Not so active on NL, I have a “ticker” tracking new posts that I sometimes peek at. I doubt my activity level will rise above that for the foreseeable future.

  22. Vera Ezimora says:

    Oh yeah, that happens to me too, and it is not kool! What you do is say, “Hey girl!” or “Hey!”. Don’t say “Hey you!”; that kinda makes it obvious that the ‘you’ is substituting the person’s name cause u don’t know it.

    So what’s up with the lies u been feeding my husband? Mind urself o!

  23. you’ll live…… i try to focus on more important things, such as how to nap on the daily commute and whether or not to bring my computer to class…. names don’t matter, the people represented by them do; hence my stories with either no names or a simple representative letter Z or V. now you know why I used letters in those stories, and it wasn’t to try to be like kafka……

  24. mack says:

    I just tell ask them what their names are again… I’d be like: “What’s that your beautiful name again…” Except you’re trying to woo the girl, you shouldn care what she thinks. sheesh.

  25. mack says:

    yo help me edit that will u.. 😀

  26. Azuka says:

    Your name is Biodun (I hope!)

    Temmy Tayo
    I guess I should stick to my resolution. I now have a partner to keep up with ;-).

    Wow. At least she recalls the first letter.

    Glad to hear you’re ‘fulling ground.’ I do log on once in a red moon, but I’ve lost all interest in dealing with an autocratic administrator.

    I’m learning. If anyone calls me ‘Hey boy’ he/she’d beter be ready to explain.

    I was actually beginning to wonder :D.

    Er, that sounds a bit corny. I’d be surprised if the person didn’t catch on.

  27. Mona says:

    Hahaha, very interesting read

  28. mack says:

    Yeah, its actually cornier forgetting the name in the first place; I dont think asking her what her “beautiful” name is (was abi has been) aggravates the situation. i might just go further to say “I know your name is beautiful, I just can’t which of them it is..” Then I’ll start pretending to try to remember.

    Like I said, if you’re not trying to woo her, I dont see the reason you should mind much. I’d just be nice that’s all.

  29. Elle says:

    I know how you feel… I rememver faces not names. and it’s terrible because you have like 20min convos with ppl and dnt knw their names…

  30. mari says:

    Discrete Maths was the only maths class I enjoyed. The rest just looked like Chinese characters to me. Don’t ask how I passed them sha coz I don’t remember a thing.

  31. Calabar Gal says:

    Glad to know I’m not the only one in this boat!!

  32. Azuka says:


    Good point!

    Well, I’m not much of a talker, so I spend like 2 minutes max after introductions.

    Oh, really? Good, I know who’s going to be doing my homework!

    Calabar Gal

  33. Jem says:

    yea, Azuka…you’re right. A month later is too late but anyways it just depends. Thank goodness i let people know before hand that i am not particularly good with names. Gives me some room to escape, lollllllz

    But i am great with faces, i physically meet you and connect with you enough to see your face just one time and it does not matter …. even a year later – i will definitely remember you.

  34. Afropinay says:

    LMAO!! I hated Discreet Maths.. I hated that sexy looking Engineer who was my professor. But I scaled through:p

    Long time no talk.. I see u are busy huh..

    Jem, I remember faces as well, but the names thing, men if I cant remember, I politely tell them Im sorry..

  35. Your opinion does matter… how come you think it’s over the top? I don’t mind someone stating their opinion but I really can’t stand people that use their ‘spirituality or morality’ to try to criticize you… am i running for public office, a position in anyone’s church or just writing a little personal blog about my life and experiences?

  36. by criticize you I meant criticize me… I’ve never ever gone on anybodys blog and judged them… and I never hide behind ‘anonymous’… anytime I have something to say… I just out and say it… I mean who am I go judge?! Am i God… or his mouthpiece? I wonder why all these people just don’t leave the judging to God… and the honest truth is that I’m not a mean person and don’t try to look for anyone’s trouble… but trust me when people get on my wrong side… i’m nobody’s wallflower and will let them have it! If they want peace… they got it… cos i’m nice to everyone who’s nice to me… but if they want war… we’ll wage one… spiritual or otherwise… and i’m really interested in your reply… here or on my blog…

  37. Jem says:

    Azuka, i may have a few questions for you regarding that your post on effective blogging. When i gather my thoughts together, i will let you know ok. Keep doing what you are doing …. laters

  38. Azuka says:


  39. I have replied.. check on my blog

  40. oh.. another reply to your reply

  41. Azuka says:

    I’ve already stated why I’m pulling out. No hard feelings — we’re still friends :-D.

  42. if you think you’re bad, then Im beyond help.

  43. Azuka says:

    Discrete Maths rocks!

    Wow. That bad?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.