Ask Erin: Who are you again? What to do when you forget a name | Kitsap Week

Ask Erin - Richard Walker
Ask Erin
— image credit: Richard Walker

Dear Erin,

How do you handle a situation when you forget the name of a person that you have casually known for years?

Stammering in Seabeck

Dear Stammering,

The older I get, the more this happens to me. Just last week I ran into an acquaintance that I've known for 10 years. I remembered lots of details:  her children's names, her hometown and even her dog. But for the life of me, I couldn't recall her name at that exact moment.

When this happens — and it happens to the best of us, I suggest being overly polite and honest.

"I am so sorry, but I'm having a brain-freeze. Can you please remind me of your name again?" Then go on to point out that you do indeed remember the person, such as, "I know our children were in third grade together," or "I met you at the Robinson's party."

That way, the person knows you haven't forgotten them, just that you temporarily can’t recall their name.

If anyone has suggestions on what to do when a person persistently forgets that you've met before, send me your ideas. There is one person whom I have met probably eight times and each time she acts as if she's meeting me for the first time.

I am running out of politeness with her. And no, she doesn't suffer from prosopagnosia – a disorder of face perception. She remembers other people, just not me.

— Ask Erin is a feature of Kitsap Week. Have a question? Write Ask Erin, Kitsap Week, P.O. Box 278, Poulsbo 98370 or email Questions can range from advice to practical issues.


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