Social Question

AshlynM's avatar

What do you do if you run into a person whom you've met before but have completely forgotten their name?

Asked by AshlynM (10064points) August 9th, 2012

I have heard about “face blindness” but I’m talking more of a memory issue. Is it rude to ask what their name is again? What if you don’t want to be rude or appear foolish by asking their name, then what do you do?

I’m usually very good about remembering peoples’ names and faces, but sometimes for the life of me, there will be times I just cannot remember someone’s name. Like last week, I was talking to my mom on the phone and she mentioned someone from my childhood who I apparently used to hang out with all the time, but the name didn’t ring a bell. There are plenty of other people who I remember, for some reason, that name slipped my mind.

Is there a trick you use to remember peoples’ names?

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19 Answers

anartist's avatar

Say hello and the usual greetings and if that’s enough, let it go. If a chat is prolonged, then, maybe ask the person’s name. Or, if that person is with someone else, chat a little longer and maybe the other person will address your acquaintance by name.

That’s what I do.

rooeytoo's avatar

I am terrible about names so this happens all the time. Also I have lived so many places, a lot of times I am not sure where I know them from! But I just act happy to see them and wing it, hoping they will give me a hint somewhere to trigger my memory!

righty's avatar

There’s nothing wrong with being honest and saying “I’m sorry, what is your name again?”.

harple's avatar

If I’ve only met them properly once before, I’ll say, “I’m so sorry, I’ve completely forgotten your name!”... I hate having to do it, but at least it’s honest and then it’s done… When they tell me I’ll then go on to say something like “That’s it! I’m fine once I’ve said it 3 or 4 times!”

If I know their name, but have forgotten their partner’s name, and it’s appropriate to ask after them, I’ll say something like “and how is your good lady wife?”...

Ron_C's avatar

It happens to me all the time. I can remember where a person went to school and other personal matters but not the name. Most of the time I just ask.

ragingloli's avatar

You say “Hello Mr WhoseNameIHaveForgotten, how are you this fine day?”

bolwerk's avatar

Ask: “How do you spell your name again?”

And hope they don’t say something like, “B-O-B.”

filmfann's avatar

I have a terrible memory for names. I tell people when I meet them that I will forget their names 4 or 5 times before my brain latches onto it. They usually laugh, and tell me that is what I told them the last time we met, and it’s often true.
I have no successful trick to remember peoples names, and a lot of people I know understand that I call everyone Homer.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Admit it, ask them to remind you, and move on. Happens all the time.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Face recognition is no problem…the names often allude me. As for how it’s handled, it depends on the situation. The one that I fall back on the most is, “Hi! I remember meeting you at ____. I don’t know about you, but I’m terrible at names. I’m Pied. And you are?” If they already used my name, I just say, “It’s good to see you again! Please forgive me…what is your name?”

This is also why, when I am the first to speak to someone I know I’ve met before, I always say my name and how we know each other. If everyone did this, it sure would cut out the potential embarrassment. And don’t get me started on phone etiquette.

CWOTUS's avatar

I try to always admit it, and the sooner the better.

One way that people seem to enjoy, because it’s a bit clever and takes any tenseness out of the admission is, “Hi. I recall that we’ve met, and I hope you’ve forgotten my name as thoroughly as I’ve forgotten yours. I’m CWOTUS,” as I smile at them and offer a handshake. (As often as not, of course, they will also have forgotten your name, and this puts you both on an equal footing if they will smile back and admit that.)

wonderingwhy's avatar

Ask. It happens too frequently to even bother being embarrassed by it. Other associations, even hearing their name and being able to put a face to it, sure, but I’m horrid at associating a name with a face on the spot and I know it.

gailcalled's avatar

“I’m sorry but I have blanked on your name.”

We all do it; there is nothing to be embarrassed about.

athenasgriffin's avatar

This happens to me all the time, only I don’t remember their name or their face or that I’ve ever met them before. I go along with whatever they say, and then I tell them we should connect on Facebook, and get them to search for themselves on my phone. Then I have a permanent name and face and I’ll get their updates so I will probably remember them in the future.

SomeoneElse's avatar

I deliver mail and if I see people from a round I have done, in another place I am lost for name and/or face! They are not where they should be!
I usually just look puzzled and blank and the person is often generous enough to help me out!
I have been known to say, ‘Oh you look different with your clothes on’ which tends to make them scurry off!

mazingerz88's avatar

Oh wait, your name isn’t Voldemort is it-? : )

ucme's avatar

I’d ask them to remind me of their name.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

“I’m so sorry, but I’m a bit of a bubblehead sometimes, and I’m having trouble remembering your name…” They usually just laugh and repeat their name.

wundayatta's avatar

This happens to me all the time. So I ruefully admit the situation, and beg their indulgence to please tell me their name again. I promise only to need to ask them three more times (it’s a joke). Most of them can’t remember my name, either. It’s all good.

Except in business. Yet another reason why I am not in business.

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