Why I don’t forget people who forget my name

My name is Julie. Not Juliann, not Kim, not Emily, not Sara, not Ashley, not Christie, and most certainly not Julia.

I want to make this less about all the names I’ve been mistaken for, and more about why it’s so important to make an effort to get to know people. Furthermore, I’d like to preface this for everyone with whom I’ve grown up—yes, I still haven’t let this go—putting this in to writing is easier for me to explain. And yeah, maybe I am holding a grudge. Sorry. So if we went to high school together, if you’ve ever crafted your own name for me, or if I ever lost my temper in front of you because you couldn’t remember my name, enjoy.

The issue with not giving ourselves the decency to learn one another’s name is arguably reflective of our fast-paced, digitized environment to which we’ve grown accustomed in recent years. Technology has electrified a discourse community that recognizes “likes” and “follows” as measurements of our self-worth and self-esteem. While comparisons to other online users can produce detrimental results to our ability to see this self-worth, it’s hard not to keep up with the online feeds. As a millennial, I want to challenge this idea that I am more than an online profile, and I can practice the basic skill of communication.

A screen is just that—a screen. We cannot physically touch the objects of an image, nor can we feel their presence next to us. Some of these senses we feel in the physical world are blinded by technology and cannot be reproduced through other media. Communication is a process and an interaction that cannot be entirely computed and understood through 2D views.

This is the part where I want to challenge what we know about someone. For example, I am so much more than the picture you see above. I don’t always brush my hair, I don’t always smile, and I don’t always wear makeup like you see above. When we make assumptions based off of online profiles, we limit others’ abilities as well as our own judgments. Isn’t it time we start showing respect for our peers? After all, human nature says we want the respect we deserve. With that being said, it’s time we quit letting analytics dictate our success. I’ve started by not putting up with people who’ve forgotten my name.

Collectively, the millennial generation has had a difficult time understanding and practicing the skill of interpersonal relationships. If we continue to give salience towards this idea, we will never see it end. Where there is an issue, a solution should lie ahead. Millennials, we have to stop this issue’s reality. My solution is simple: just get to know someone in person. Take the time to learn their name, where they’re from, what they like, what they value. The thing is, I’ve always become so heated when someone has mistaken my name for something else, as this is the basis of being recognized as an individual. Having been called so many things, I don’t apologize for this any more. Everyone wants to be recognized for who they are; I cannot stress enough that not giving someone the time of day to learn their name is the beginning of failed relationships. Whether it’s the waitress who serves you, the nurse who cares for you, or the cashier you might not see again, just learn their name. I promise you it means a lot, and practicing the skill of interpersonal communication is so incredibly valuable.

With that being said, bashing the presence of online communities is not my intention; rather, I want to see others understand what it means to interact interpersonally. I want to see more people enjoying the company of a friend, not a smartphone. I want to see people genuinely having fun, not worrying about tweeting their daily events. Ultimately, I just want to be respected, and my name is just the beginning.