A person crossed my mind the other day that I haven’t thought about since high school—they weren’t a good friend of mine, just an acquaintance who was a friend of my friends. They were someone that I’d known since middle school, had been most of my classes and even sat at lunch with me for a whole year.
Then a similar thing happened a few days later when my dad brought up another person, because he likes to surprise me sometimes with his know-how about my life. This person was popular, someone I rooted for during basketball season while in the pep band, and a had been at the same school since elementary school. I hadn’t thought about this person in years.
So what makes a person memorable? Why is it that I can remember some people, but can’t remember others? I can pull some people out of my memory who I never interacted with, never had classes with and who didn’t really hold a place in my world, yet when it comes to the people I described before—among others—I draw a blank.
Then I think, what if they don’t remember me? What if no one remembers me? Because what if it’s like that thing parents tell their kids, “If you can’t see me, I can’t see you”?
The thing is, the parents are lying. If the kid is facing away, they can’t see the parent, but the parent can see the kid. If the kid’s vision is obscured, that doesn’t mean the parent can’t see them. Height, direction, vantage points, etc. are all ways that can make that scenario not work. Life isn’t so cut and dry and there’s no weird memory wipe taking our memories out of each other’s brains (but if there is a chance of that and it means putting out a call to Dean Winchester, let me know, OK?).
So what do you do about this? How do you ensure people remember you? You can’t. I wish I could imprint myself in people’s minds permanently, but I can’t. Sometimes you have to abandon names and memories of people so that you can remember new ones. It’s about choosing what you carry with you on a psychological level. The only thing you can do to stop it is try to be memorable—to stand out. Smile bigger, laugh harder, make more friends, be successful. If that all fails, bribe people with food.
Just don’t make yourself memorable because of the wrong reasons and don’t get yourself down for blanking out on someone’s name or who they were. Because I’m sure someone’s blanked out about you are, no matter who you were, are or will be.
The truth is, if we can forget an actor’s or a musician’s name or an author’s name—we can forget those who were in our lives, too.