We’d all like everyone to remember our name – even people we don’t see often. But the truth is, as this research shows, names are simply difficult, and it doesn’t help trying to embarrass people when they forget. Have you ever met someone who taunted you with, “I bet you don’t even remember my name!” In those cases, even when I do remember I pretend to forget just to make them mad. (I can’t help it.) The truth is, it happens to all of us so don’t feel slighted or awkward.
I’ve known singer Michael W. Smith for years. I directed two music videos for him that both were broadcast globally. I’ve hosted him on a panel at a major convention. But last night I ran into him backstage at an event here in California and he was clueless. Obviously, he pretended to know me, but I could tell by his blank stare that nothing was registering. But I didn’t make him feel awkward or embarrassed. Michael’s a great guy and I knew he was thinking about the concert he was about to perform and so I let it go.
One of the techniques I use is to simply “re-introduce” myself when I see someone who might not remember my name. It takes the pressure off, and gives them a nice out. Give people a little grace. I find it tough to remember someone I just met yesterday and if we’re honest, most of us are not that different. Don’t challenge people or try to humiliate them because they forgot your name or who you are.
After all, we’re all famous in our own minds…..
What’s the most awkward situation you’ve ever been in when you failed to recognize someone?