How to Remind an Acquaintance that You’ve Met Before

Dear Gwyn,

This morning while at a work meeting, a gentleman came up to me to say hello. I had met him once before, in fact even gave a presentation for him, but he proceeded to introduce himself to me as if we had never met. I, of course, followed suit by introducing myself (again), but still there was no sign of light.

So what should one do when in this situation? When a colleague who you’ve met before begins to introduce him or herself to you, is it appropriate to politely remind him or her that you’ve already met, or should you just let this forgetfulness slide? What about in a social setting, should the situation be handled any differently?

Thanks,
Forgettable in DC

Don’t we all want to be unforgettable; who shouldn’t recognize us after even the briefest of introductions? But it is always disappointing to realize that our names aren’t as popular as the Kardashians and our faces less memorable than Catherine Zeta Jones.  And when that acquaintance doesn’t  show even the smallest sparkle or recognition, well, what’s a girl to do?

More often than not, everyone appreciates a memory jog.  When your familiar handshake ends with a nice to meet you, use a few ques to key in the other party on your previous acquaintance.

  • Respond by saying, “Yes, it’s good to see you again. Didn’t we meet before at the aquarium?”  Posing the reminder of your previous meeting as a question keeps the conversation soft.
  • If your reminder is met with confusion feel free to add a little more detail.
  • Realize that unless you are looking to start a long-lasting friendship sometimes it is ok to call a spade a spade and let your unwitting acquaintance wander off none the brighter.

Truth be told, we may not always remember the people we meet either so a little forgiveness and understanding goes a long way.  Gauge how important it is to your relationship or work relationship and only pursue refreshing you friend’s memory as much as you feel is truly necessary.

Best of luck, Unmemorable in DC….er, Forgettable in DC

18 Responses

  1. Jim says:

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  3. Stephanie says:

    This just happened to me with a higher-up. Being stubborn to a fault, I refused to say “nice to meet you” back, thinking to myself “come on! we’ve met at least three times.” I just smiled and nodded like an idiot. My boss was standing right there. He probably thinks I have bad manners now. Ugh.

    • Gwyn says:

      It never feels great when someone “forgets” us. But next time you can easily wiggle your way out of the situation!

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