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Etiquette Past vs. Present: Forgetting Someone's Name

Etiquette Past vs. Present: Forgetting Someone's Name

If you're forgetful by nature, I'm sure you've goofed an introduction before, or forgotten someone's name after meeting them a few times. If this sounds familiar, you're in luck because Emily Post has some suggestions for the next time you're in a predicament like that!

Don't panic. Embarrassing as it may be to stumble over a name, don't fail to attempt an introduction. If the person is attentive, he may see your hesitation and cover for you by introducing himself. If the person is wearing a name tag, you might take a quick peek. Otherwise, you should apologize quickly and say that you've suddenly forgotten the person's name. Do the same if you aren't sure of someone's last name. ("I'm sorry Aileen, but I don't know your last name.") The person should fill in the blank for you. There's no need to continue apologizing for your lapse.

I like her advice, but in the heat of the moment, you might not be that quick on your feet so tell me, how do you save face when you've forgotten someone's name?


Join The Conversation
Timothy2464123 Timothy2464123 5 years
when the name is most important to the party being adressed is in the event of possible confusion over whether One means them or not, right?  Is there "etiquette" as to when to use an alias or penname...?
pinaywriter pinaywriter 8 years
I am a big fan of "sweetie", "dear" as well as general descriptions. But what I usually do is I would beam my best smile and I would talk to them about general things like. "How are you?" and then take it from there. It usually takes me a few minutes to remember their name. I would introduce whoever I was with and then my friends (who know I am forgetful) would ask the names of those people themselves. Best way to get out of that situation is to have your Bff back you up. ^^
rossy rossy 8 years
So embarrassing when a friend you lost touch calls out your name, hugs your starts talking a mile a minute... & you have NO IDEA who it is who knows you so well! - That happened to me a few years ago while I was picking up dinner to go (best Italian food ever!) & was litterally squeezed to death by a bear hug from a girl who talked about how great it was to see me, ALL the fun we had, etc. To this day I have NO IDEA who she was! I answered back like I knew her too... I wish I had just admitted I didn't remember her, I might have gotten her name. With my luck, still having NO IDEA of who she was to me. - Anyway, now I'm like, embarrassment won't kill me so... "I'm sorry, you have me at a disadvantage. Your memory is obviously better than mine since you know me, & I don't know you..." I'll get a laugh & an answer too.
divinelight divinelight 8 years
I was at an office brunch and I had brought my parents. I was about to introduce them to my co-workers when I realized I had forgotten one of my co-workers' wives' name. I wanted a minute and thought I heard him call her "Kim." So I confidently introduced my parents to "David and Kim" only to have the wife shake their hands and say, "Hi, I'm Lynn." That was embarrassing.
SwimmingNaFshbwl SwimmingNaFshbwl 8 years
when i forget someones name, instead of asking them what it is...I pretend its spelling has been on my mind and ease into "hey, hows ur name spelled?" simple as pie.
pink-elephant pink-elephant 8 years
I simply apologize and tell them I'm terrible with names. Really, I am...I once forgot the name of my suite-mate who lived next door to me for 5 months!
cjmara805 cjmara805 8 years
I've never felt awkward or embarrassed from forgetting someone's name... I suppose because it happens all the time! I just tell them I'm terrible with names, which is the truth!
MegN MegN 8 years
Yea, the good ol' half introduction (The most awkward I've been in though was when someone introduced me, and the person didn't introduce themselves, and the conversation kept going so I had to interrupt and go "I'm sorry I didn't catch your name") When I don't think the half intro will work I just admit I'm horrible with names, sucks when I forget their name again though...
GratefulGrl80 GratefulGrl80 8 years
well, hopefully i'm with someone else that they don't that case, i introduce the person that i'm with, and the person whose name i've forgotten usually introduces themself :)
eowynnie eowynnie 8 years
I remember a long time ago, when this person came up to me who I knew I had met before and started chatting away, I felt terrible that I didn't remember his name. I felt it would be weird saying, "By the way, what's your name again?" after we had been talking for so long. So instead, at the end of our lengthy conversation, I said, "Hypothetically, if I were to have forgotten your name, what would it be? Hypothetically speaking, of course." Luckily, he had a good sense of humor and we had a laugh about it. I have a feeling this wouldn't fly in a more formal situation.
melizzle melizzle 8 years
Be honest about it. Also, use tricks to not forget in the first place- I always make sure I look directly at the person, shake their hand and repeat their name.
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
I'm horrible with names but remember faces. When I forget someone's name, I'll tell them that instead of looking stupid trying to cover it up. I've yet to meet a person who didn't understand that forgetting names happens.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I can't remember the last time this happened, thank God.
peaceloveandpaws peaceloveandpaws 8 years
My boyfriend is always forgetting people's names. When I'm with him, he'll always introduce me first which usually prompts the other person to say their name.
Miss-Senorita Miss-Senorita 8 years
I agree I just ask them again you look more foolish trying to cover it up.
candace87 candace87 8 years
How is that being quick on your feet? That isn't fantastic advice.. its common sense. If you forget someones name you don't say 'Hey uh... you....' any polite person would say 'I'm sorry you name has slipped my mind' or something to that effect.
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