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When you can't remember somebody's name...

Discussion in 'Small Talk' started by Linkachu, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. Linkachu

    Linkachu Hero of Pizza
    Staff Member Administrator

    ... and they're talking to you, and they know yours just fine, what do you do? :X

    Personally, I don't let on that I've forgotten. If it's a student or random person I never really knew well, sure, I'll ask them what their name is again, but if it's a co-worker (past or present) or someone who's part of the administrative staff - like hell am I letting them know I forgot their name. And I forget names a lot. Faces I'm alright with, but names? It'll be the death of me. :p

    Thankfully the English language has many different ways of addressing someone without ever using their name. All you need is "Hey, you!" and you're good to go. XD
  2. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I can remember names easy but if I were you I would confess no matter how bad it is. You have nothing to lose anyway (unless you had some ridiculous bet about name remembering!)
  3. I generally hope that I'm in a situation where someone else will call their name, especially if I've met them more than once. If I'm in a one on one conversation, I generally just use "you" or some other moniker. Otherwise, it just gets awkward.

    Unfortunately, most people are pretty picky about their names. At kung fu, they seem to understand a lot more that names are sometimes forgotten, and no one seems to mind reminding you if you're talking to them after class. But here at uni, everyone's rather entitled it seems. I mean, I don't make a big deal if someone I've only met twice forgets my name, but apparently they do >_>;;
  4. Linkachu

    Linkachu Hero of Pizza
    Staff Member Administrator

    See, I would strongly disagree with that. Very strongly. SCT pointed out one great reason why, and she was just referring to Uni mates. When it's one of your bosses? ... Yeah. Just keep your mouth shut and smile and nod, then ask a co-worker their name once they leave. It's much safer. XD
  5. Sir Red

    Sir Red Charms' Caped Crusader

    I'm terrible at remembering names at first, and I usually just avoid using their name if I've talked to them numerous times and they know mine (which is always awkward when they greet me by my name :V). I just pray that somebody else says their name and I can catch it. I just try not to let it on that I forgot their name (unless I've only met them once or twice).

    After I learn their name I'll remember it for quite a while, though. -^^-
  6. My usual strategy is to ask them how to spell their name if it's feasible, and it's usually a reasonable request due to all the alternate spellings of even common names. Even if they have a name that's kind of obvious (like "Will" or something) then at least they'll say their name while making fun of you. Another good one is if you have the opportunity to get their phone number, like for a project or something, and then getting them to input their information into your phone. Sneaky sneaky.

    It would be nice if you could just confess that you're blanking on remembering someone's name, but some people find it really insulting if you don't remember their name. It's not really a big deal to me since it's just a thing I call myself.
  7. I rarely have this problem, if I'm honest ^^

    But hey, whats the worst that could happen?

    "No one, he's no one. A distant cousin of my aunt's nephew, twice removed. Lovely singing voice though, eunuch."
  8. Ooh, yeah I'm faced with this problem alot. I'm expected to know the names of my "superiors" and "inferiors", some I've barely known for a month, others since Kindergarten. However, I have many friends that I don't even know the names of ^^; However, I can deal with it easily.

    For one, you don't always have to adress them personally, just say something like "Hey" or "Excuse me" to begin your sentences. When your in conversation, just don't say their name. You don't know if you get it right if you just say something. Besides, that would be extremely awkward when he/she says "My name isn't Will. It's Euiproximateoplotomotocus". Really though, just smile and nod, or just walk in heavily gaurded. If they ask if you remember their name, then be honsest and say no.

    As an alternative, give them a nickname. Like "Excuse me Old Sport" (thank you Gatsby for that line). THat way you don't need to memorise names. I was called some girl's "Teddy Bear" until they finally learned my name, and then it was replaced by "Denden".
  9. I refer to people as "you" or just avoid using their name entirely. If they aren't as involved in my life as I am in theirs, then it works out pretty well.

    I actually got away with that with a girl on the bus who sat right next to me. We didn't talk much so it was okay.

  10. I just wait until it comes up, and try to avoid using it before it does. Last Friday we had to work in groups in my science class, and I was the one who had to write everything down. At the end when we had to pass it in I realized I had to write everyone's name on it and there was this one kid whose name I should have known since he's been in my grade my whole life. He has an older brother named Will who looks exactly like him, so all I could think of was Will, which I knew was wrong. Eventually I waited long enough and the teacher addressed him as Andrew, so I wrote it down and it all worked out.

    If I really don't know the person at all I usually tell them I don't know their name, but if it's someone who I really should konw their name I just wait.
  11. Magpie

    Magpie Feathered Overseer
    Staff Member Moderator

    I get this problem a lot at work. It's opposite my old school, so when all the kiddies finish for the day we get flooded with school kids and their parents. Loads - and I mean LOADS - of the parents seem to know who I am. Their older children will have gone to school with me or my Brother. They'll come over and be all 'OH! Ferne! How are you? Hows your mum/dad/brother? What are you doing now?' That's all well and good until they ask the dreaded question:

    'Do you remember my son/daughter?'

    I have no idea who the hell you are, let alone your child :V

    I tend to manage to get around it by saying stuff like, 'Of course, what's he/she doing now?' but still, I find the whole thing totally uncomfortable. Especially when they come back every week and I still don't know their names. I feel really rude for not asking anything about them, when they ask loads about how my family is doing - but it's gone on way to long now for me to randomly say 'Sorry, but who are you again?' XD

    Smile and nod - the key to any conversion~
  12. Nicknames, Screenames, Last names save my life everyday...

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