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The Name is the Game: Why it’s important to learn someone’s name

It was 8:20 a.m., and I’d been patiently waiting at Einstein’s for my blueberry bagel with cream cheese — I needed to get to school early to study for my Algebra 2 test. But it wasn’t until after I was out the door and checked the receipt that I realized it wasn’t mine.

It was “Cambel’s.”

Since that day, the first thing I do whenever I get a receipt back (with supposedly “my name” on it) is to check the spelling. It’s become a game for me to see how many people can actually spell “Campbell” right, and to my surprise, not many can.  

The “deer-in-headlights look” that comes over a cashier when they try to figure out how to spell my name is a look that has become all too familiar for me — just ask me how to spell my name already. 

Our names have a special value and meaning to us because they are our identity. When I hear my name being called I perk up, so when someone gets my name wrong it’s a bit of a let down because I feel like they don’t care.

Industrial and organizational psychologist, Joyce Russell, says more positive interactions occur when we use names in a conversation because it makes the other person feel more important and respected.

Now, I’m not going to go back and demand a new order with my name on it. In fact, I’ll probably joke around about it anyway, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care.

Over the Holiday season, we receive countless Holiday cards addressed to each member of my family and “Cambell” — the letter may have arrived but the message got lost in the mail for me. Yes, I know the “p” is silent — something many people trip up on — but I think I would have preferred “Wood Family” over this “Cambell” imposter.

But don’t get me wrong, I like my name, I mean how often do you come by another Campbell. But is it too much to ask that people ask how to spell my name if they don’t know? Even if it’s just for a receipt, I’m sure they can take 10 seconds to make my day.

But the same thing goes for the other way around. As a customer, it’s just as beneficial to walk up to a cashier and greet them by the name given on their name tag. I guarantee they’ll smile in return as an act of gratitude.

We live in a time where we have less interaction with each other everyday. The best way to start bringing it back is starting with the basics — a name.

Let’s be honest, we are probably the laziest generation yet. We should work harder at getting to know the person sitting behind us in English class or the group of kids at the other end of our lunch table. 

People claim they’re not good at remembering names, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make a greater effort. It’s important that we try to get to know each other before we all become dehumanized from this faceless society we’ve created. Simply acknowledging someone by name and saying hello could turn that person’s day around.

While it may seem unrealistic to know every kid’s name in your grade, it certainly never hurts to try.

Instead of waiting around on your phone, try to meet someone new. And maybe you’ll realize the girl with the blueberry bagel with cream cheese on a Thursday morning is Campbell. That’s C-A-M-P-B-E-L-L, thanks for asking.

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Author Spotlight

Campbell Wood

Campbell Wood
Sophomore Campbell Wood is looking forward to her first full year on staff as Co-Circulation Manager and Copy Editor. In addition to the Harbinger, Campbell is also involved with SME Share, debate, track, bowling, Student Council, Pep Club and Happy Club. When she’s not busy with school, she enjoys creative writing and poetry, jamming out to her super awesome playlist and going on adventures with her family and friends. »

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