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Remember To Or Don’t Forget: Which Is More Effective?

When making a request or giving a reminder, do you tell someone “remember to” or “don’t forget”? Most people will split hairs over this one, however there are differences in the form of positively and negatively communicating with someone.

In essence it’s more effective to say “remember to”. Why? Because it’s using a positive word and it directly tells the other person the outcome you want. Most people retain “remember” better – it connotes advice or need.

Telling someone “don’t forget” is a more negative way to request something, as it implies we think the other person won’t remember.

In addition “don’t forget” adds an extra step, that of thinking of what you weren’t supposed to forget – essentially a double negative in the thinking process. “What was I supposed to remember?” And, oftentimes, unconsciously our minds drop the “don’t” and save the “forget” – hence storing the opposite of our reminder in the first place.

In general we humans connect and respond better to positive versus negative communication, and this is one way to do so!