Good News: Being Forgetful Means You’re Probably Intelligent AF

Do you feel like your memory sucks? If you ever joke around with your BFFs about having no short-term memory or you wonder why you can’t recall the details of the episode of Stranger Things you just watched, this one’s for you. A study has discovered that if you tend to forget things, it’s actually really positive and you’re the smartest person ever. Really! Here’s what you need to know.

  1. Here are the details of the study. University of Toronto researchers Blake Richards and Paul Frankland spent a good chunk of time looking at memory, memory loss, and how our brains work. They studied the brains of both people and animals and the findings were published in the journal Neuron. The general discovery? You’re not stupid if you forget things. In fact, you’re smart, and it’s not something that you have to stress about.
  2. The purpose of memory is different than we thought. So why are you considered a smarty pants if you tend to be a forgetful person? It all has to do with what memory is actually for. The researchers say that you’re supposed to forget memories that don’t serve you in your life. You’re also only supposed to remember things that matter to you. Interesting, right? It definitely makes sense. If you just had an epic fail of a Tinder date tonight but you have a big work presentation tomorrow, you want to remember your presentation points and forget the weird details of the evening. Just think of it like that.
  3. Mice can teach us a lot. The study involved looking at mice and something pretty cool happened: as new cells appeared in the brains of mice, the researchers realized that can say a lot about human memory. When you have a new experience and it becomes a new memory, your brain basically removes the old memory and puts the new one there instead. It’s like redecorating and throwing out old stuff. Since you definitely need to remember new things and you want to have new memories, why would being forgetful be a bad thing?
  4. It’s totally cool if we don’t remember everything. You’re not lazy or getting old if you sometimes can’t remember things. It’s completely logical that this would happen to you. Why? Since your brain’s key thing is making choices in your life, that means that you can’t remember everything. That would be way too much for your brain.
  5. We should break a sweat for the sake of our memories. The researchers believe that working out helps with memories because you’re giving your brain the chance to do an exchange of old and new memories. And you thought that a yoga or barre class was only good for your physical appearance and putting you in a good mood.
  6. We need to focus on making choices in our lives. According to the study authors, if we were remembering every single little thing that had ever happened to us, or even just small details in general, we might have a tough time making choices. And choices are what are matter the most. Study author Blake Richards said, “It’s important that the brain forgets irrelevant details and instead focuses on the stuff that’s going to help make decisions in the real world.”
  7. We have technology to blame (kind of). If you’ve ever joked that you don’t need to remember anything because you can Google it or keep it on your iPhone, you’re not wrong. You’re actually totally right. As Blake Richards said, “Instead of storing this irrelevant information that our phones can store for us, our brains are freed up to store the memories that actually do matter for us.” So the next time that you worry about losing your memory, remind yourself that it’s totally normal and your brain is just doing its thing. No reason to stress out at all.
Aya Tsintziras is a freelance lifestyle writer and editor from Toronto, Canada. In addition to writing about dating and relationships for Bolde, she also writes about movies, TV, and video games for ScreenRant and GameRant. She has a Political Science degree from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Journalism from Ryerson University. You can find her on Twitter @ayatsintziras and on Instagram @aya.tsintziras.