I just came from a dog playgroup where I asked the owner of the black lab what her name is.  “Jill” she said with a smile.  Then I realized, I had already asked her that question.  Not once, but twice before!   It just didn’t stick in my brain so I had to go and ask her again and then again.  Thankfully, her smile seemed genuine.  I don’t think she was annoyed, but I was embarrassed.   She greeted me first thing with a cheery, “Good morning, Lisa!”   Why couldn’t I remember her name?

Well now that it’s holiday party season, the potential for such awkward moments is huge.  At corporate functions, it’s possible you’ll be greeting people you only see occasionally.  How do you handle not knowing what to call them?   And how are we supposed to remember the name of each spouse of each co-worker?

One good strategy if you’re not good with names is to enlist a spouse, date, or friend to help.  Have the person stick out their hand and say, “Hi, I’m so and so.  What’s your name?”  That almost always works.  Short of that, and short of nametags being worn (which the fashion gods would frown upon,) I’m a fan of the direct approach.  Apologize and say,” Sorry but I’m drawing a blank on your name,  I’m Lisa…”

Here are some other suggestions on handling those forgetful moments at social occasions:


Do you have any tips on getting through party introductions?  Do you use any tips like word association or a mnemonic device?