What makes a person memorable? I don’t mean in an animal attraction way, but in a platonic “let’s be friends” way. Is it a gregarious personality? Captivating smile? Brooding intensity? Or, just good old oral hygiene? I realize it is different for everyone, but some people have “IT” and some people, well…they don’t.
These same IT people, who after a long absence, immediately trigger recollection of their names. You may have just met this person once, but you instantly remember their name and the details of when you met them. I bring this up because I run into people occasionally that I have met a number of times who NEVER seem to remember my name. Or, they might remember it as something similar, like Michelle, or Miranda or Millicent *shudder*. It would not be an issue if it was a one time deal, but it is EVERY-STINKING-TIME. Am I THAT unmemorable?
Perhaps it isn’t the issue of memorable, maybe it is something completely different. Is my way of speaking so annoying they block out the experience? My ideas so inane the person has slipped into a spontaneous (although temporary) coma, reviving only to politely end the conversation and bid me adieu?
What would cause a long time friend, whom I had thrown a baby shower for, to call me the DAY BEFORE the 1st birthday party and invite me over if I wasn’t busy? Or the friend that talks about their dinners or BBQ’s or whatever and how much fun they had, while at the same time saying, non-committal of course, “We need to get together soon.”
I think it’s me. This is not a pity party; I’m not lacking friends or things to do. It is merely an observation. I run in to people that I have not seen in awhile, say at a coffee shop, and I get a quick “Hi”. If someone else walks in, perhaps the same length of absence, there is a long winded conversation to catch up on the last half dozen years.
Maybe I should smile more? Wear a different deodorant? Hmmm….what is it? Do I look unfriendly? Do I not make enough effort? That may, possibly, have something to do with it. Or…maybe…it is because I write crap like this? **quick diversion here – The last statement has validity. I write things that are not always openly talked about, because it involves some sort of deep analysis or acceptance of faults that are sometimes better left unspoken. However, it makes me feel better that I’ve gotten it out and (while sometimes embarrassing) I have shared it with someone. Friends and teachers comment on how honestly I write. I never thought of it as being honest (or not) or too personal (or not…but more likely it is). I find that when I do write this way, people speak up about what they themselves have felt and sometimes they agree (but, mostly they just think I’m weird).**
Back on topic…..While reading The Happiness Project – which I am likely to talk about at nauseum, it dawned on me how much I have unintentionally disconnected with people. I have a close group of friends that I chat with regularly, but the pool is very, very small. I don’t “put myself out there” to make new friendships, because it always seems to fizzle for lack of interest (often on their part). At one time it was out of necessity; I was too busy raising small children and justified my inability to keep in touch; so, I guess I stopped trying.
The whole point of this post is NOT to illicit comments and kudos about how special and unique and what a great friend I am (of course, if you REALLY must post it then I certainly won’t stop you.) It is more of a pledge to myself to restore dormant friendships, cultivate and nourish active friendships and leave myself open to new (and hopefully unique) friendships.
I love people. I love their stories. I have broken numerous political correctness protocols because I ask questions that people may think are too personal or too threatening (I'm sure I have been the source of lively dinner conversation in some households). I don’t use the information to put someone in a box or form judgments, I am truly interested in who people are and where they come from – we all come from somewhere and often with fascinating stories.