Nice hat, random lady! ...I mean...mom.
September 12, 2012 10:27 AM Subscribe
I have a very difficult time recognizing people when they're wearing, say, sunglasses. Or a hat.
posted by phunniemee to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Interestingly, I'm really good at recognizing people. I generally recognize most people I've seen before, even if only in passing (may not remember their names or where I saw them, but definitely recognize them), and I do extremely well on all those before-they-were-famous celebrity and name-this-famous-person quizzes online. And I'm typically the first one to be all "that's the chick from [random tv show]" when watching something. I'm also pretty good at recognizing people from a distance (based on head/body shape, gait, and body language).
But if the person is wearing sunglasses, or regular glasses, or a hat, or a coat, or has different facial hair from the last time I saw them...all bets are off. They may as well be wearing a bag over their heads.
I used to think everyone had this problem, which is why I lift up my sunglasses or take off my hat whenever I'm talking to someone (make it easier for them to recognize me), and only recently I've realized that 1) not everyone does this and 2) it's actually weird that I do it, because seemingly very few other people have this issue.
This happens to me all the time, but specifically twice in the last two days:
-Sat several seats away from a sunglass'd person on the train who kept waving and smiling. I had no idea who she was; turns out she lives in my building, which I realized as soon as we hit a dark patch and she lifted her glasses.
-Passed a sunglass'd guy on the street who waved to me as I approached, said hi to me (and called me by name, so it's not him mistaking me for someone else). I still don't know who he was, since neither of us could stop and talk, but I have to assume I know him.
1) Is this a thing? Seems to not be prosopagnosia, since I'm otherwise really good at figuring out who folks are.
2) What can I do to get better at recognizing people? It still takes me a few beats to figure out who someone is, even for people I see all the time and am very familiar with. (And it's also really disorienting for me to talk to people when they're wearing sunglasses/a hat/whatever because I can't read their face and it's harder to follow what they're saying.)
Anyway, any tricks to get around this would be helpful. I hate not being able to figure out who people are.