Dear Uncommon Courtesy,
Would you consider writing a post about what to do when someone you’ve met before reintroduces themselves? Do you tell them you’ve met previously? Do you just smile and go with it? I imagine there’s different protocol for the person doing this whom you’ve only met once before, compared to the person who’s ‘met’ you for the fifth time.
Introduced Again and Again
Miss Manners says that you just politely remind people that you have met.
Jaya: Was it you don’t remember meeting someone, or they don’t remember meeting you?
Victoria: They don’t remember meeting you was the question, but we can do both.
So this happens to me allll the time.
Jaya: Absolutely, on both sides. I’m usually not offended if someone doesn’t remember meeting me.
There are a lot of people out there! I’m not special
Victoria: Haha yeah! I think it’s fine, especially when you are meeting people in a crowd or its a dark bar situation.
Jaya: Yeah exactly If it’s going on like 5-6 times I’m also usually not offended, it just signals that I’m not gonna be best friends with this person, which is fine, I got friends. I’d be more offended if it were in a business situation.
Victoria: I think it’s totally fine to say “oh we met at such and such a place.” But I hate it when people are like “we’ve met” and are really short about it. It’s like, jeez sorry.
Jaya: Yeah, give someone a break! Plus that doesn’t help me, now I just know we’ve met but have no idea where.
Victoria: Oh and sometimes if it’s been a long time, and I knew they probably wouldn’t remember me, I won’t even say anything. I’ll just be like, it’s nice to meet you.
Jaya: Definitely. Also, if I get a sense I’ve met someone before but forget their name, I like having my husband or a friend nearby so I can be like “oh this is my husband Matt” and then he goes “Hi, nice to meet you, what was your name again?” and then boom, I remember their name.
Victoria: Hahah nice trick. Okay and then if you are the one who didn’t remember meeting them, I think it’s nice to apologize and then say something about being terrible with faces or whatever.
Jaya: Definitely. Or if they bring up the night you met and you remember it being particularly drunken/dark/hectic, mention that.
Victoria: Yes! Now, if this is like the 6th time you’ve forgotten them…..maybe just run away?
Jaya: But yes, if it’s the first time it’s happened, I don’t think you can really get mad. But yeah any more it’s like, this person is probably a jerk and you can avoid them. Or maybe has face blindness. Check that they don’t have face blindness first.
Victoria: And maybe do the super businessy thing of proactively saying peoples names when you meet them so you remember them.
Jaya: Ugh that never works for me. I do that every time I meet someone and repeat their name in my haed and then it’s immediately gone.
Victoria: Haha yeah, I don’t do names either. I just never say anyone’s name unless I’m yelling across a room to get their attention.
Victoria : Did you know that the princess of Sweden is face blind? That must be a nightmare in that position.
Jaya: I love how you just know the princess of Sweden is face blind.
Victoria: I am full of fun facts.
I think also if you forget someone but you sort of think you have met before you can just be like, hey how are you????
And then later be like omg this is so embarrassing I am blanking on your name.
Jaya: Yes! I pull “nice to see you” a lot when I’m unsure.
Victoria: Yeah, I am pretty good with faces but not with names.
Jaya: Definitely. I don’t know, I feel like everyone goes through this, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to be understanding when it happens.
Victoria: Yeah, totally. And I mean, if someone is just being obtuse about it and you’ve met ten times, just ignore them and write them off as someone awful that you don’t want to deal with.
Jaya: Absolutely, there are better things to focus on that one person who can’t be bothered with you.
Though again, if it’s in a professional setting it makes it harder.
Like if a partner at your law firm refuses to learn your name.
Victoria: Yeah, I was going to say, if it’s business and they are senior to you, just keep firmly introducing yourself to them through a smile with gritted teeth.
If they are junior to you, get them fired.