Let's play the name game.

By Betsy Cribb
June 15, 2019
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We've all been there: Someone walks up to you at a party; you've met her before, maybe a few times, and you should absolutely know her name. But your brain fails you spectacularly in that moment, and you have no idea what her name is. Here's how to gracefully handle the oops-forgot-your-name game.

You have a few different options.

Fake it ‘til you make it.

You can have a warm, friendly conversation without ever saying the other person's name. If you're lucky, someone else will join your conversation and introduce herself to the person whose name you'd forgotten. But that's counting on divine intervention. (Plus, if you don't remember it this time, without a refresher, you may not remember it next time either. Oof.)

Reintroduce yourself.

You can say something like, "It's so good to see you again. We met at ______; my name is _____." Most people, in this scenario, will respond in kind and provide their own names. It's effective, yes, but it is also helpful for the other party. Rather than putting the onus on that person to come up with your name (which he very well may have forgotten), you assume the responsibility of initiating that introduction and are reminded of his name in turn. Problem solved; face saved; you are a paragon of politeness.

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Be honest.

While the above options can certainly get the job done, in awkward matters such as these, it's often best to be humble, honest, and own up to your own forgetfulness. Recently, one of the members of our Facebook group, "There's No Excuse for Bad Manners," shared this delightful trick for graciously confessing your forgetfulness: "My mom always had the perfect solution to [forgetting people's names]. She would say to the person whose name she'd forgotten, ‘Please forgive me. I remember your smile but have forgotten your name.' The other person was more than willing (with a smile) to remind Mom of the name." Sweet, simple, and straight to the point. Mama always knows best.

And when someone forgets your name, be sure to show them a little grace. After all, you might be the one forgetting her name the next time. Oops.