We’re in the midst of wedding season, and with that comes the inevitable re-meeting of long-lost relatives, bridesmaids you barely met at a drunk bachelorette party, and high school friends of your college friends who visited once and slept on your dorm room floor.
AKA: ‘Tis the season to forget everyone’s name.
Some people are better at remembering names than others. These smug assholes are generally the ones who use aforementioned question/accusation “I bet you don’t remember me, do you?”
Listen, Beautiful Mind, if you bet that someone doesn’t remember your name, then you are also betting that you’re about to make that person feel super awkward. And you’re saying that, while you have a great memory, you acknowledge that you are a forgettable person. So let’s erase that phrase from our small talk arsenal, shall we?
Can’t we just agree that, in lieu of name tags, we all accept that our name is not the top priority in relative strangers’ lives? Can’t we just embrace the re-introduction?
I, for one, cannot remember anyone’s name…ever. Sometimes I can’t even remember having met them. It’s kind of sad, actually - but at least I make pre-emptive efforts to diffuse the awkward. Even when I am entirely positive that I have never met someone before, I hedge my bets with a “I feel like I’ve met you before, right? I’m Caila.” I do it in that super-convincing, hesitant-quizzical, “I’m sort of embarrassed that you might be a stranger” voice that seems spontaneous and awkward, but - in fact - is the most confident phrase I’ll ever say, having rehearsed it countless times since my memory started dulling around age 18. I even use such slight of hand tricks as asserting that we must have met through (INSERT NAME OF SOMEONE I SAW THE STRANGER HUG EARLIER AT THE EVENT.)
About half of the time, I have met the person. 25 percent of the time I haven’t met the person but they feel bad that they don’t remember me and spend the rest of the event trying to figure out where we’ve met, and the other 25 percent of the time I have a new friend who’s name/existence I will forget at the next social gathering in five years.
Ok, so these methods that have helped in my social success may be considered “incredibly dishonest,” or “terrible.” But at least my methods are flattering and make people feel memorable, which is almost as good as actually remembering them in the first place.