How can I graciously remind someone of my name?
April 16, 2006 3:50 PM   Subscribe

After much struggle, I am finally getting good at remembering people's names. This new skill has opened a new avenue of embarrassment for me, though. I now frequently greet acquaintances by name, but often when I do so, they can't remember my name even though it's obvious they want to. What's the most gracious way of reminding someone of your name while minimizing embarrassment all around? (posted by amtho's fiance)
posted by amtho to Human Relations (20 answers total)
If there is anyone else around, the best thing to do is quickly introduce yourself by name to the others. One-on-one seems tough though, but I am sure someone here will come up with something.
posted by Falconetti at 3:51 PM on April 16, 2006

Just tell them your name and how they know you immediately upon greeting them: "Hi, Amtho - [I'm] SashaPT - we met at the meeting/concert/party last week." Do it compulsively, and never wait until you see the oh-shit-what's-her-name look in their eyes. People really appreciate it, even if they remember your name right off the bat.

Previously: here here and sort of related here.
posted by SashaPT at 3:59 PM on April 16, 2006

Are they supposed to know your name? If not then say Hey John, you may not remember me, Gungho, We met under that table during the A-Bomb drills back in 1963...or something like that.
posted by Gungho at 4:02 PM on April 16, 2006

I've been on the receiving end of what Sasha suggests and always appreciate it, especially if the person does it quickly and moves on with the conversation. I often forget to do it but when I do it's never been awkward.
posted by dclawyer at 4:09 PM on April 16, 2006

Yeah, if there's any chance at all they won't remember me I just say "Hi -- Joey Stobart" or whatever my name might happen to be.
posted by unSane at 4:12 PM on April 16, 2006

Another technique (when I can sense they've forgotten) that I've used...

I tell a recent (made up if necessary) short anecdote. Something like:
"You won't believe this, I almost forgot my cell [car, keys, etc.]. I would have too if my secretary [wife, cousin, etc.] hadn't called out 'Jeff, you forgot your cell!"

Keep it relevant to the conversation.
posted by filmgeek at 5:18 PM on April 16, 2006

"... and I thought to myself, 'cogat, you really should ... '"
posted by cogat at 5:26 PM on April 16, 2006

"Hi John, Myname Here- we met at X? How are you?"
posted by headspace at 5:33 PM on April 16, 2006

There is a minor recurring character on The Office that always introduces himself as, "Bob Vance, Vance Refridgeration." The humor comes when he will say this line over and over, saying it in full to every person in the room, never abbreviating. It's funny because he's so compulsive about it, but I think it's somewhat applicable here because the point is that if you get into a habit of always providing your name when you meet someone, you eliminate the awkwardness that you mention. Obviously you don't have to take it to that level, but if you try to always provide your name early on in the conversation, it might become habit.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:53 PM on April 16, 2006

Gotta agree with the crowd, I think it's best to say "Hi Jenny, I'm Michael, we met at that party last week". Personally, I have to remember to try and do this, especially with my first and last name in professional situations.

Derail: How did you get "good at remembering people's names?" I'd be interested in any techniques you can share.
posted by ranglin at 6:56 PM on April 16, 2006

amtho's fiance - if you don't mind my asking, how did you become good at remembering peoples' names?
posted by Afroblanco at 8:06 PM on April 16, 2006

Hi, I'm Alan, cool to see you again.

no sweat, it's as easy as putting your name in front of them. If only I could remember their names ...
posted by anadem at 8:43 PM on April 16, 2006

"Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration."
"Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration."
"Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration."
"What line of work are you in, Bob?"
posted by intermod at 8:44 PM on April 16, 2006

As for remembering names (probably discussed in one of dem links above that I'm too lazy to check), I try to always say the name of the person when I'm introduced to them. "Hi Bob!" It helps.
posted by intermod at 8:45 PM on April 16, 2006

intermod is right - audible repetition is the way to go. It increases the likelihood that I'll remember a name by about 80%.
posted by FlamingBore at 9:38 PM on April 16, 2006

I once heard an audio clip of George Harrison saying to someone, "Hi. My name's George. What's yours?" It was so natural, and so unaffected. I think that is a great way to introduce yourself to new people.

As for people you haven't seen in a while or who might not remember your name, I like something along the lines of, "Hi Bob, it's Tom. How have you been?" Short, simple, and gracious.

I work at a college, and before that, a high school, as well as having worked on dozens of plays and hundreds of events, so I've met many thousands of people. Even some of my favorite students, I have a hard time remembering their names, particularly if I haven't seen them after several years, or the context is different.

I know I always appreciate someone helping me with their name.
posted by tbird at 11:46 PM on April 16, 2006

I completely agree with the "Hi Bob, I'm Joe, we met at ...". I have no problem with saying to someone " forgive me, I'm horrible with names, what is yours" but a lot of people do. I've gotten to the point where I actually think of it as rude to put someone on the spot by calling their name and not giving yours. Doing your best to remember the names of those you meet is admirable. Taking the extra step to avoid putting them in an embarrassing position is, as you say, gracious.
posted by Carbolic at 11:59 PM on April 16, 2006

One minor but graceful variation on the "Hi, I'm Tim..." theme I've seen is to put a thoughtful pause in while appearing to come up with their name. I.E.

"Hi, I'm Tim .. and I'm pretty sure you're Tom?"

That way you get credit for remembering their name, while letting them off the hook and acknowledging that names can be hard to remember.
posted by tkolar at 10:47 AM on April 17, 2006

Like it or not, remembering someones name when they forget yours implies a value relation i.e. they made a bigger impact on you than you made on them, which implies higher status.

Id suggest just say "Hi" and dont say their name.
posted by tranceformer at 3:01 PM on April 17, 2006

Or just say "we met before, my names X" and who cares
posted by tranceformer at 3:02 PM on April 17, 2006

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