Dr Airdre Grant.
Dr Airdre Grant.

To be forgotten is not personal

MY FRIEND came into the cafe and slammed her bag down on the chair.

"I have been introduced to X over five times,” she complained.

"Each time she sees me she acts as if she has never seen me before. I'm sick of it. She thinks she's too good for me.

"Remembering me is beneath her. I need a coffee.”

We ordered drinks and I braced myself for the rant of discontent.

But how often do you meet someone that you can't quite remember who they are?

Have you introduced yourself to a person only to be reminded that you have already met?

How often have you pretended to know someone, all the while urgently scanning your memory bank for their name and their connection to you?

Memory can be a pesky thing. I even get my children's names mixed up (something they don't appreciate). Once I gave my daughter a birthday card which said 'Happy 7th Birthday'. She looked at me sadly and said "mum, I'm 8”.

Change partners and then try to remember to say the right name at crucial moments. I was advised by a wise friend to call all partners 'darling' just to minimise risk.

My friend had a long and satisfying complaint about feeling ignored. She segued neatly into a lengthy exposition about general injustices in the world and rounded off with a seething tirade about politicians in big cities being out of touch (more evidence about being ignored or overlooked or forgotten). But we all forget things. Umbrella, keys, coats, phones, glasses and where the car is in the parking station.

People forget us, and we forget them and really, it's not personal. Everybody's brains are jam-packed with all the stuff it takes to be alive in our busy social media-soaked world.

If you take the first train to umbrage every time someone doesn't remember you, you are likely to rapidly become embittered.

Probably better to not forget your children's names and birthdays though. Best to make an effort there.

Remembering your lover's name is a good idea. Especially at significant moments.

My friend, invigorated by her rant, was now feeling good. She had perked right up. I didn't get a word in.

She leaned across the table, gave me a cheerful kiss and swanned off. I watched her go. Her scarf lay across the back of her chair. She had forgotten all about it.

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