When you have trouble remembering that people exist

Hello kind person, do you have any advice for someone who forgets that entire people exist unless they have frequent and obvious reminders? I will forget to talk to people for months or years at a time, simply because I’m not prompted to. By the time I remember, it’s been long enough that I’m shy and scared to talk to them again. Any help with re-establishing contact? And explaining to them/new friends what’s going on? And remembering to talk with them in the first place?

realsocialskills answered:

I think Facebook can be helpful for this, actually. If you see someone’s posts in your news feed, it can be easier to remember that they exist.

It’s also ok to start conversations along the lines of:

  • Mention the thing that prompted you to remember them
  • Mention it’s been a while
  • Say you’d like to catch up
  • If possible, say some specific form of catching up

For instance, say Fred forgot all about Bill until he saw him in the news. Fred might send an email along the lines of:

Hey Bill! I just saw the news article about you and the dolphins. I can’t believe how long it’s been, and I’d really like to catch up. Do you want to maybe get coffee sometime next week?

Or, say, Fred is at a party, and runs into Sandra:

  • Sandra: Hi Fred! Is that you?!
  • Fred: Oh, wow, hi Sandra. How’ve you been? I feel like it’s been forever.
  • Sandra: Yeah, I came here with Bill.
  • Fred: Oh wow, I haven’t seen him in forever either. How’ve you guys been? What’s been up?

Keep in mind that if you’ve forgotten they exist for months or years because you haven’t been reminded, this means they haven’t been initiating interactions either. If they had, you’d’ve been reminded that they exist.