Why do you ask someone for their name?
These days I question my motives to have more clarity. This question entered my head as I was doing the dishes, but the train of thought started at our workplace. It then shifted to the hundreds of people who come in and out of the work every day. I ask them who they are, and we chat for a while. After they leave, I forget their names.
Why don’t I remember it? Why did I even ask for it if I knew I would forget it right away?
Another instance from the workplace is a woman who cleans the building. In the two years I have worked there, I have not once asked for her name. We would always say good morning to eachother, but never properly introduced ourselves. In the beginning of working there, the thought never entered my head, and as time went on I thought it would be strange to suddenly ask her name.
I wanted to get over that “fear” and decided to just ask. Two days ago, I ran into her at work and she said Good Morning as usual. I took the chance and said, “This might be strange to say, but I have been her for two years and I did not ask once. What is your name?” She seemed to be pleased, as was I. Why did I put it off till then? Why did I want to ask her name in the first place?
Is it just to be polite? Is it for people to ask them your name back? Do you really want to know their name?
When I discussed this with a close friend of mine, some interesting thoughts came up.
Our deepest desire is unity, and we ask a person’s name to become closer to them and know who they are for that unity.
It is a hard thing to find the trail of bread crumbs leading back to the core of why you do what you do. In my case, I can still say that I do not know. Of course, it is completely normal to ask a person’s name. It is in only certain situations where it can be questioned and could even benefit your life if you ask deeper.
Always ask, why?