Regardless of your age, career, relationship status, or other life circumstances, chances are, when you meet people, either socially or professionally, you want to be remembered. How embarrassing is it when you say hello to someone you've met before and then realize that they have no idea who you are and have no recollection of ever meeting you? Super embarrassing. And, frankly, knowing that you might actually be the cause of not being remembered doesn't make it much better, but it could potentially help you to right those wrongs. There are some things experts say make people not memorable socially and professionally that everyone should probably know more about so that no one has to experience that unique embarrassment of not being remembered ever again.
Part of whether or not you're memorable could potentially come down to how similar or different you are to the person you're meeting, which really isn't your fault. "If we see someone as a lot like us, that would stick out, and if we see someone as very different than us, that might stick out as well," Erin Parisi, LMHC, CAP, a licensed mental health counselor, tells Romper in an email exchange. But it's still a little bit awkward when someone doesn't remember you.
Beyond that embarrassment, it can also actually really hurt you in both your personal and professional lives. "In today’s fast-paced environment, being memorable and amplifying our personal brand in a positive, energetic, and purposeful way both in professional and personal relationships is very important for the opportunities we get and the impact we get to make in the world," Shefali Raina, a New York-based executive coach, tells Romper in an email exchange. Knowing what not to do when you meet someone won't make past mistakes disappear, but it could help shed some light on why something maybe didn't go the way you thought it would, and hopefully help you more successfully navigate those interactions in the future.
1. You're Not Really Being Yourself
If you're being either very much yourself and are just generally genuine and comfortable or are very fake and inauthentic, people will probably remember you, whether you like it or not, Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, LPC, RPT, a licensed professional counselor and online counselor, says. "The people that fall kind of more in the middle, of kind of playing it safe and not being their own, personable, normal self, then they can kind of get forgotten about because they're in the middle," she adds.
If you're holding back for whatever reason or are otherwise blending in to the crowd, you're probably not going to be as memorable as if you were just your true self.
2. You Blend In To The Crowd
"If you want to be noticed, then stand out," John J. Fallucca, the founder of United Safety Technologies LLC, tells Romper via email. "The human mind is designed to see objects that stand out. Why? because of the need to stay alive. That is, humans develop schemas about their environment to be able to make quick life-saving decisions." If you're just one of many and don't stand out in any way, it can be difficult for people to remember anything specific about you, which is definitely not what you want.
3. You Forgot To Say Thank You
Being gracious isn't overrated. "Show gratitude to and for those who deserve it," Audra T. Jones, the CEO and founder of Krystal Klear Communications, tells Romper via email. "Not remembering to say thank you could cause people to not remember you!" Just make sure your thanks is genuine.
4. You Were Negative Or Lethargic
People really do pick up on negativity, so if you're overly negative or seem lethargic and low-energy, those you're meeting with either won't remember you at all or won't remember you positively. "When we show up for other people as disengaged, or complaining and gossiping about other people or simply low-energy, we transmit the negativity to them," Raina says. That's not what you wanted to do.
Instead, Raina suggests that you try to focus on positivity, which will result in their remembering you more fondly.
5. You Didn't Make Them Feel Special
"Whether or not we realize it, every single one of us is more apt to remembering somebody that makes us feel special," Greg Audino, an actor and life coach, tells Romper by email. "If someone we interact with is not exhibiting simple actions like looking us in the eye, repeating and remembering our names, asking us about ourselves, we are unquestionably less likely to remember them. This all comes down to connection really. Want to build a good connection with someone? Let them know you trust them. Ask them for a favor, share something somewhat personal with them, or ask them a somewhat personal question (within reason, of course). You'll have a new friend in no time!"
They'll be able to remember how thoughtful you were and that you made them feel important, which likely ensures that they won't forget who you are anytime soon.
6. You Didn't Seem Interested
If you don't seem like you're interested in interacting with them or like you'd rather be somewhere else, you're probably not going to be very memorable. "When we are, either by body language or conversation, not showing interest in the other person, we are not memorable," Raina says. "For example, if we are not making eye contact, constantly looking past the other person to find someone 'more important,' or incessantly talking about ourselves or checking our phones, this makes us not memorable."
7. You Tried To Meet Everyone
"In any networking event, when we are focused on ‘volume’ rather than ‘value’ (i.e. when we rush to meet person after person, have a superficial conversation, exchange business cards and move on to the next person), that is not memorable," Raina says. Do your best to actually get to know the people you're meeting, whether you're meeting them at a bar, a PTA meeting, or a networking event. If you spend time connecting as real people, it's more likely that you'll be remembered.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.