For interactants to build a relationship over the course of several encounters they must be able to remember at least some of what transpired in earlier interactions. This study investigated two questions: do expectations about future interactions influence conversational memory, and do conversational participants remember more than observers? Subjects with a choice about whether to interact with their partner again (or about whether to interact with one of the persons they observed) remembered less in general than those expecting to interact with the same person or expecting to interact with a different person. This may be because interactants with a choice focused on securing non-discursive information in order to reduce uncertainty, rather than on remembering details of what was said in the conversation. Participants remembered significantly more conversational information using cued recall than observers. They also remembered more than observers using recognition items for actual communication behavior. Participants are likely to have stronger memory traces than observers, which explains generally superior memory performance. © 1994, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.