Monday, April 16, 2012

A Little Face-Blindness Story

This morning I received an email from a friend who wanted to know how I help myself with being moderately face-blind, since she has the same problem (which is not a vision problem but a difficulty remembering and recognizing faces). I wrote back, telling her I don't know anything to do about it, anything to help; but as I told her yesterday's story, I realized maybe there is a little help or at least ways to adapt, not a lot, but a little. So here is my email to that friend:

Yesterday I was at a gathering where I knew only two people. Or so I thought. ;-) As my friend the hostess introduced me to one woman who was sitting next to me, the woman said we had met. Fortunately, she said where we had met, which helped me a little, and I began to realize she was familiar, but I still didn't really remember her until she talked for awhile. But after that introduction, I told her immediately, "I'm not good at remembering faces. I can't picture a face in my mind...not even my husband's, so it makes it hard to remember people." She seemed to accept and understand that. (Whew. ;) ). Of course, her sitting next to me made it easier to explain it to her.

There was another woman I was introduced to, across the room, who said we knew each other. (Shoot, two of 'em. :) ). She said we have met...and we are on Facebook together. She said her first and last name again, and then I remembered her name but not what she looked like at all, no recognition there whatsoever. I didn't try to explain; I just smiled. Well, when I went home I looked her up on Facebook and she doesn't have her picture as her profile. I do find the repetition of pictures helps me a LOT.

So yes, maybe there is something that helps me a little: Pictures. If I see enough pictures of someone, or pictures often enough, then I have a better chance of recognizing the person again in person. The funny thing about that is that I rarely goes around taking pictures of people. Ever since understanding about face-blindness, I've wondered if there is a relationship there. Maybe I feel, subconsciously, like what's the point? That's not how I know the person. I know them by personality, interests, how or where I knew or spoke with them, their voice, mannerisms, etc. But it's interesting how much pictures can help.

For the most part, I just need to see someone often enough to remember them the next time I see them. I've never figured out how many times that is. :) And the thing that seems to help me the most is just acceptance. It's not that I don't try hard enough or that I'm doing anything wrong. It is what it is. :) And if people don't understand, well, it might not be their problem, but it's not mine either. :) Not that I feel that way every moment. :) But I'm getting there more and more. :)

No comments: