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What Was Your Name Again?

     There are a million ways to make people feel special.  Send them a card on their birthday.  Buy them a thoughtful gift.  Ask to spend time with them. 

     The bottom line, though, is that not much of that matters if we don’t do the most basic act of kindness of all---listen when they talk and remember what they say.

     Sometimes we all have to swallow our pride a little and ask the embarrassing question, “What was your name again?”  Not many of us have perfect memories.

     Yet, so often we excuse our forgetfulness, saying, “I’m not good with names” and think that somehow that makes it acceptable to move from conversation to conversation without recalling anything people say to us.

     Remembering names isn’t so much a God-given gift as it is a practiced skill.  If you forget people’s names all the time, then you’re sending a message that’s as loud as a sports announcer at a ball game: “You aren’t important to me.  I have better things to do with my time than listen to what you have to say.”

     So, maybe it’s time to exercise those memory muscles and start making a basic investment in relationships by listening well and remembering.

Here are some thoughts to help you:

  • Create connections: When you ask someone’s name and you begin to find out more about them, try to file that information away in a way that makes sense.  “That was Catherine and she like Cats and doesn’t like Candy.”  Any memory device will do.  Imagine a picture.  Create a rhyme.  Whatever works for you.
  • Focus: Don’t plan your shopping list when you’re talking to people and try to keep from planning out your next comment while the other person is speaking.  Focus on what they are telling you.  If it’s important enough for them to say, it’s important enough to have your full attention.
  • Ask good questions:  People generally like talking about themselves, especially if we show that we’re interested.  Asking open-ended, deeper questions encourages them to tell us more about their thoughts and personality.  We’ll end up learning more about them and remembering more for future conversations.
  • Less of me and more of them: Jesus’ ministry focused outward and ours should, too.  All of us need safe friendships where we can share our own feelings, but we can minister to others by listening to what they have to say and curbing our own enthusiasm to tell our own stories and opinions. 

     Jesus loved people.  He skipped meals for them, went without sleep, traveled long distances to meet with them, and endured public criticism for hanging out with them.  He endured the cross because He loved us.

     Surely we can love others by becoming better listeners and by showing people that they matter to us by remembering what they say.

To read more devotional thoughts from Heather King, check out her blog here: http://heathercking.wordpress.com/

Copyright © 2008-2015 Heather King

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