Why Bother Knowing Someone’s Name?

Why Bother Knowing Someone’s Name?

I like it when people remember my name, pronounce it correctly and use it to address me while conversing. This tells me that they are aware of who they are speaking with—a unique individual. 

All of my coworkers as well as my friends and family know my name. But because some know me better than others, the particular tone they use when saying my name differs with each person. And because my husband knows me most intimately, he says my name the most tenderly of all.  

Names Identify Self Hood

At 5:00 a.m., three mornings a week, I swim at our local health club. The front desk worker, Debbie, opens the door of the club by 4:55. And though we only know each other in the context of the health club, I greet her each morning by using her name. Recently, she trained a new staff person, Benay, who now shares the duties of opening the doors first thing in the morning. I made it a point to introduce myself to the new employee, and like Debbie, Benay is friendly. 

Through casual conversation, I’ve gotten to know Benay a little bit. She told me the hardest part of her job is to remember to open the front door at 4:55. She said she gets so consumed trying to answer all the emails that flood in over night on the computer, that she forgets to unlock and open the door. The other morning, I experienced what she meant.

I drove up to the club at 4:56 and saw a small group of the regular early morning swimmers standing and waiting for someone to open the front door. Peeking in the window, I could see Benay on the computer. I knew she was completely engaged in answering those numerous emails and that she’d forgotten to open the door. 

I tapped lightly on the window and waved my hand. She immediately came out of her computer trance, grabbed the keys and opened up for us. The small crowd of people wondered aloud how was that I could get her to open the door. I simply told them, “I know her name.” 

Knowing someone’s name is a powerful thing to know about them. 

Why bother knowing someone’s name? It is worth it to know someone’s name. When we do, they sense someone knows them and   appreciates who they are.