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What To Do When You’ve Forgotten Someone’s Name

country on the river 2015
Chad Johnson, In Action Photos

My Super-Power is meeting someone and immediately forgetting their name. Thank God I’m not the only one this happens to.

Being involved in media means you meet a lot of people, at a lot of places, sometimes only for a two minute conversation then you’re moving on to the next task at hand. They remember me because I was the guy from the Radio station. I, on the other hand, had just met 30 other people that night and all of the names got jumbled together and immediately purged from my long-term memory. What’s a person to do when they walk up to you at another event and greet you by name? Oh, the shame.

My typical go-to answer is the all purpuse, “Dude! (That’s a gender neutral term these days) What have you been up to?” Hopefully the question will jog my memory as to where we met and their name will come back to my mind.

It turns out I’m not the only one this happens to, and there’s a whole Reddit thread dealing with the subject. Here are a few of the ideas that people shared for how to handle these awkward situations.

If it’s someone you actually think you might want to interact with later, open the Contacts list on your phone and ask them to enter their info. Hopefully they’ll actually include their name and not just their number. Of course when you do this you always run the risk that they’re already listed. Oops.

Tell them you’d like to keep in touch and hand them your business card, courtesy almost demands that they do the same. You can always scribble your cell number on the back of the card to make it seem more personal.

If you’re in an active social setting you can grab the attention of someone you do know and say, “Hey, this is my friend, Tim. I wanted to make sure you two knew each other.” Hopefully they’ll introduce themselves before the silence becomes overbearing.

If none of these options work out, you can always simply say, “I remember your face, but I’m drawing a complete blank on your name and how we met before.” Experience tells me that they’ll usually laugh and tell you the whole story. Chances are they knew you were struggling to recall their name all along and were enjoying the situation.

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