How to Deal With the Forgetful People in Your Life 

And tips for improving your own memory, too. 

Your kids forget your birthday. Your partner forgets the dinner you planned. You’re left feeling hurt—and frustrated. 

But rather than getting angered, there are ways you can handle these situations with empathy, according to Peter Bregman, CEO of Bregman Partners and author of Four Seconds: All the Time You Need to Stop Counter-Productive Habits and Get the Results You Want, who joined Real Simple editor Kristin van Ogtrop on this week’s episode of “I Want to Like You.” Dr. Majid Fotuhi, a neurologist and neuroscientist in McClain, VA, also joined Bregman and van Ogtrop to discuss whether it’s possible for someone to improve their memory—and how to ensure your loved ones prioritize what’s important to you.  

If someone’s not remembering something you asked them to do, it likely means it wasn’t a high priority for them, Fotuhi says. To prevent this from becoming a regular occurrence, incorporate yourself into their daily system, whether that’s physically jotting down a note on their to-do list, or sending them a reminder via e-mail or text message. 

And it goes both ways. If you can understand what’s important to others—both in the workplace and at home—it allows you to follow through and promotes collaboration. And if something means a lot to you, speak up, says Bregman. It's okay to let people know you want them to take notice. 

For more expert advice, listen to the full conversation below. Don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes!