Memory Booster #1: Look up
Ever blanked out on a date? Try staring at the ceiling for a second. "It sounds simple (and it is), but looking up connects you to your visual memory," says Farrow. "Most of our brain is dedicated to visual processing. It takes a lot of our brain to 'see' stuff, so when we move our eyes in a certain direction, it changes the way our brain thinks." And in the case of looking up, it helps you remember things better, too. Think about the last time you asked for directions (that goes for you too, men). Chances are you looked up because you were seeking to retain/recall visual references (even if you don't remember doing it consciously). So, the next time you find yourself saying "What was I just talking about?" or you want to remember something funny your date just did, simply look up.
Memory Booster #2: Go around mental blocks
You know that she told you the name of her cat, but now it escapes you. Or you're sure he mentioned how he likes his coffee, but for the life of you, you can't remember it when you're at the counter, ordering your drinks. What next? Ask yourself some easy questions "around" the thing you're trying to remember to get your brain back in gear. "By going down pathways of memory that 'work,' you start to connect to the lost info," says Farrow. "It's like going around a mental block exactly the way we walk around a wall to go behind it." When you blank out, you are in a very forgetful state of mind. You need to get in a remembering state of mind so ask easy questions in your head about what you're trying to remember. "If you can't remember her cat's name, ask yourself what color it is and how long she has had the cat — anything that goes around the mental block," says Farrow. "After a few questions, the fact will come back almost like magic. Oh, hey, wait — 'Magic' — right, that was her cat's name!"
Memory Booster #3: Play the name game
Studies have shown that when you meet someone for the first time, you tend to think about how you are perceived, whether the other person likes you, what you are going to say next, how he or she looks, what this person reminds you of, and if he or she looks like someone you know. But the one thing you don't think about regularly is someone's name.
Your best solution: get curious about people's names. "When you're walking around today and tomorrow, try looking at people and asking in your mind's eye: 'I wonder what [his/her] name is?'" suggests Farrow. "You may never meet these people or learn their names, but it will make your subconscious brain really curious — and there is nothing more difficult for your brain to ignore than an unanswered question." By playing this mental game, you'll start prepping yourself to remember people's names in the future.
And you should always ask yourself the question: "What is this person's name?" immediately before you meet someone new, or quiz yourself right after with "What was his/her name again?" as a follow-up so you'll be more likely to retain it. "Doing this will get your brain to laser-focus in on names every time you hear them, and you won't be caught in the embarrassing situation where you just heard a name and it's forgotten before you had a chance to think about it," says Farrow. "It gets your brain used to asking that question, so you start to focus on it right away instead of everything else."