Are You Remarkable or Forgettable?


If I were to meet you at a party, would you be someone I would remember? Depending on the size of the party, that might not be such an easy task. As you meet people throughout the night everyone tends to get grouped together. Names become much harder to remember. And as the night comes to an end, you might just be one person among many that I’d met.

But every so often you start talking to someone who just has that spark of personality that commands attention. They get noticed because you want to remember them and know more about them. They’re the kind of person who at the end of the night, you want to hang out with again.

Standing Out and Getting Noticed

Life is a lot like a party. There are pre-existing social groups you’ll want to start conversations with. Just like parties, there will be plenty of distractions and noises to get in the way. Working your way through everything and making a good quick impression can be very difficult.

Whether you go to a lot of parties or not, being a remarkable person is an extremely useful skill. There are so many areas of life that require you to stand out from others and get noticed. You could be interviewing for a job, networking or trying to get the attention of another person for a date. The difference between success and failure could just be how well you make another person pay attention to you.

What Being Remarkable Is

So what does it take to become remarkable? The short answer is to do something different from everyone else. The biggest reason you’d ever blend in with a crowd is because you look, act and talk just like them. How is anyone going to separate you from the pack if you’re just one among many?

There’s a lot of truth to that answer, but it doesn’t quite cover everything. While I do think that doing things differently from everyone else is the foundation of being remarkable, it doesn’t go quite into much detail as to what that really is.

Being remarkable comes down to doing three things:

1. Avoid what’s overdone

Nothing will make you blend into the crowd faster than if you just act like everyone else. No matter what you’re planning on doing or saying, there will always be the temptation to do or say what many others have before you. This is a pitfall to avoid.

It’s like when you meet someone and try to say something funny about their name. I knew a girl whose name was Eileen and she had to have heard people reference the song “Come on Eileen” to her hundreds of times. They think they’re being original and funny, but they really aren’t.

If you really want to see how overdone some people do things, then go to a bar and watch guys flirt with girls. I saw a girl get hit on several times one night and each guy said something similar to start up a conversation. I can only imagine how boring it would be to hear the same thing over and over again like that.

2. Accentuate something unique

Everyone has something that is uniquely their own. Once you find out what that is, you can highlight to make yourself more memorable.

For instance, if you’ve seen a bachelorette party out on the town, you’ll probably remember them because of the outlandish way they make the bride dress. In a similar manner, famous 80s icon Mr. T did stood out by wearing his gold jewelry.

Figuring out what you want to accentuate will depend on the situation. While wearing something outlandish will help you stand out when you’re out on the town, it might not work well in a job interview. For something like that, you’ll want to emphasize experiences and skills other applicants don’t have. That might take some time to figure out, but will be worth the effort.

3. Be on the edge

The problem with blending into a crowd is more than just about being forgettable. It’s also boring. Just imagine being surrounded by people all dressing, acting, saying and doing the same things. Not only can you not tell one person from another, but you’ll tire of the repetitiveness.

Becoming someone who gets noticed means taking a risk and being on the edge. You have to be that person who is willing to do and say the things the rest of the crowd can’t. A little unpredictability and spontaneity can go a really long way. Make people keep guessing about what you’re going to do next.

Stand Out In A Good Way

Being remarkable can take some daring. After all, you’re deciding to do something few others are also doing. It means being something that other people are not and that takes some risk.

Being remarkable can carry its own consequences. You might inadvertently stand out, but for all the wrong reasons. If you want to extend the party metaphor, think of the loud drunk girl flashing everyone. That’s not the way you want to be remembered.

For the most part though, being someone memorable is almost always the better choice over being forgettable. Getting into someone’s memory can mean all the difference especially when there are so many others trying to do the same. Are you remarkable?
photo credit: shoothead

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  1. Dude, if you met me at a party, you’d definitely remember me.

    Even though you were spending your time looking at all of the women at the party, you’d STILL remember me.

    I’d be wearing my yellow trousers and purple hat.

    • I love it! Wearing that would definitely make you stand out and get noticed by me. It would be even better if you had bright green neon suspendors to hold the trousers up.

  2. Steve, this brings back some child hood memories. Let me explain.

    When i came to the us as a young child people were drawn to me because i was different. I spoke very little english, i had just lived in Thailand and vietnam and i ate weird food to them. After that wore off people ignored me probably because they found out i was a boring person. Being different was interesting for a while but not enough to sustain.

    Around 15 years old, i went to school in Montreal canada and i was again the life of the party because i came to canada after living in the “famous” california. I was cool by virtue of having lived in the US. I know, it’s really strange but my boys are experiencing the same phenomenon here in France.

    That’s when i began to study what you are talking about here.
    Being remarkable and How to be memorable. I was determined not to be a shy unmemorable teenager at my new school.

    I learned that It’s easy at first by definition if you are different. but to keep their attention and to continue to be remarkable and memorable you have to do more. I started joining different clubs, i went out of my way to help people with their english homework ( i went to a French high school in Montreal). i took up cross country skiing. I really just tried to stand out. It was so much work at the beginning. And i did it more to be popular i guess. In the end by really pushing myself i not only become more remarkable in the eyes of others but i felt good about myself and it all just snowballed.

    I supposed i could have wore purple pants and a yellow hat like Alan but i wasn’t into weird clothing.. LOL

    • Purple pants???

      Ewwww – that would be weird.

      I like yellow. It means ‘genius, misunderstood, creative type’ – purple only works for hats.

      On a more serious note (and FWIW) people ARE remarkable. We are all born remarkable. Therefore I don’t think we should be trying to stand out at all. The only thing we should be trying to do, is be our true selves, without apology.

      Things that stops us being remarkable are whenever we feel we can’t fully be ourselves (because we think it’s not allowed, we’re worried about what others think, societal restrictions (or perceived ones) or any other limiting beliefs).

      OK, minor rant over. I was only joking about the purple hat by the way. Purple is for girls.

      • Yeah, I think there’s usually something about everyone that can make them stand out if you get to know them too. But that’s assuming that I’m actually going to take the time to get to know them. That’s not me being harsh either, that’s life. In many cases from work, relationships or casual interactions you only have a few minutes to get to know another person. Not everyone will take the necessary time to find out what makes you unique.

        Oh, and I’d wear a purple hat to a party, depending on the hat. I’d wear pink too depending on the look of the shirt. It’s all about what makes me look good. :)

    • Hey Annie,

      I can see how your experiences would make you stand out from others. A friend of mine had a similar experience growing up. He moved to the US after living in England for several years and you could tell he was just a little different from others. He listened to different music and used unfamiliar slang terms for things. Eventually that wore off, but he made up for it in many other different areas. If you were to meet him now, he would still stand out from others.

      I love the way you shared your experiences with joining clubs and activities. That’s what I’ve been doing over the years as I’ve slowly accumulated things I’m really passionate about. Now I have a lot of things I love to do and many of those things make me stand out at the same time. You’re right about it making you feel good about yourself too. I find that the more I get involved with, the better I feel overall.

      By the way, I know what you mean about being from the US and going to Canada. I have many Canadian friends so I have hung out in Winnipeg many times. Being from the US isn’t as big a deal there, but it still made me a little different from others.

  3. I’m a strong advocate for reveling in our own uniqueness. Life would be wicked boring if we were all the same. Inauthenticity will always lead to discontent. Be awesomely you. Nice post :-)

    • I like the way you put that, “be awesomely you.” Life truly would be boring if we all said and did the same things. It’s great to embrace our differences and reveal what really makes us all unique.

  4. My worst fears when I was young, was standing out. I just wanted to be invisible. But why, I’ve got my talents and experience to share. So yes, will do something cool :)
    Noch Noch

    • Hi Noch Noch, I think that’s a common fear when you’re young. Most just want to stay with the crowd and be normal. Standing out when you’re young meant taking risks which sometimes don’t pay off. For most that changes as they get older.

  5. Hi Steve,
    I just discovered your blog through the comment you wrote in my blog. That is the first article I read and I definitely see your point. You give me the chance to share my experience. My attitude in a party usually depends on how I feel the day of the party. If I feel quite comfortable I can definitely be unforgettable. For instance, I need to be with somebody I know very well and so feel self confident.
    I haven’t been in a big party for a quite long time but I remember that that was the key of my behavior.
    Good mood =self confidence => remarkable. On the other hand, if for some reason I feel uncomfortable, well I get into the trap of what you mention here!

    Thank you for sharing these advice!


    • Hi Lenia,

      I know what you mean about being confident at a party if you know someone and are comfortable around them. During high school and college, I was like that. If no one I knew was around I’d just sit in the corner and wait for friends or casually talk to a couple people here and there.

      I’ve learned that you can take it to the next level though. I’ve gone to parties and bars where I’ve known practically no one and just made friends as I went throughout the night. On some nights while in the bar, I’d meet dozens of people I’d never met before. It’s a great way to meet some really cool people.

      That’s kind of my personality though. I’m a little outgoing. It’s not for everyone and you definitely don’t need to be outgoing to be memorable.

      • Hi Steve,
        Yes i understand your way of doing thing. I totally believe you when you say that this is a great way to meet new people with interesting personality!

        Thank you for sharing your way of doing things :)


  6. Hi Steve,
    Seems to be a bit of debate about fashion which is a classic area where people try hard to keep up with the trends and end up looking like everyone else. It’s also an area where a little subversion of the norms can make a big difference, you don’t have to go all the way to the rainbow suit look. For example I once new someone who wore bow ties to the office. Another area is having different ideas. It always requires a little bit of a risk having a point of view that’s a bit different. It’s a thin line between being different enough to be noticed and different enough to be rejected.

    • You’re definitely right about wearing something unique. When everyone dresses the same, they all blend in together. I actually knew someone who wore a beret to work on a regular basis. It was just his thing and he stood out because of it.

      I also agree on what you said about having different ideas. Although this area can get you into trouble if you’re not careful. Some people really don’t want to hear different views. In most cases, you’re going to be ok, but I’ve been in some business environments where the people in charge just don’t want to hear any different points of view.

  7. Hey Steve,

    To me standing out means not a fake act but being true to myself.
    For instance if at a party somebody tells a joke I’m not trying to top it. I actually not trying to top anything or anybody.
    In my opinion your’re the coolest when you’re YOU.
    It’s like this : This is the only version I come in; Take it or leave it! :)

    surely tweeted

    • I agree. You can usually tell when someone is being fake and those are the kind of people I tend to avoid. I’d rather get to know the real person not the person they’re imitating. It’s all about relaxing and being comfortable with who you are.

      I wouldn’t try to top someone telling a joke either. Just seems too competitive for a laid-back fun environment. Kind of ruins it all.

  8. This is great advice for capturing people’s attention, Steve. I shy away from too much attention because it makes me uncomfortable, but these are important points also, I think, for simply letting people know who you are by accentuating your positive and unique attributes rather than blending in with everyone else. And your point about avoiding what’s overdone really hits home with me. In the U.S. the first three questions it seems everyone asks me – and everybody else – is what is your name, where do you live, what do you do. I got so sick of answering those same three boring questions while still at home. It’s refreshing to be answering different types of questions all the time nowadays.

    • Hey Sabina, I know exactly what you mean about answering the same questions over and over again. When you meet someone new, one of the first few questions they’ll ask you is what you do for a living. I even had someone ask me that question when I first met them while traveling through Costa Rica. It just made me wonder why they didn’t ask me about the country, what I was going to do that day or anything really. The last thing I wanted to talk about was my job. Anyways, that’s just a minor gripe I have, but I really do find the reptitive nature of that question annoying.

  9. I love this, but what if everyone reads it and then they all do the same thing to stand out? Polka dotted sheep!kidding. I like this, I never thought I was memorableuntil I went back to my hometown and most of my oldclassmates were like ” holy moly, Sara bear, we were all worried bout choo!” I guess being incrediblyawkward and weird finally paid off… Lol.. score!

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