Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

I Have the Honour of Presenting…

There are any number of ways with which you may introduce or be introduced to someone. And if you’re like me, all of them make you break out into a cold sweat.

I’m terrible with names.

I once introduced a girlfriend to my Uncle, who is an M.D. . I introduced her to Dr. C. . He grinned and asked what else I called him… I blanked. In fact, I’ve just done it again remembering the incident. Of course, Uncle Nick (phew!) would never remember my gaffe; but I continue to be mortified to this day.

One of the subtle ways to project your elegant nature is to not only remember a name, but be able to introduce several friends to one another.

I’m terrible at this.

In fact, the only fighting chance that I have is if Mrs. E. briefs me on the way into the party. It’s something that I picked up from my father and mother. On the way to a party, they would go over the guests that they may encounter. If memory serves, Mom was the keeper of the intel, unless it was a military thing, and then it was Dad’s turn to go over the hierarchy of rank and who was attached to whom. It is a strategy which I highly recommend. Writing and arranging place cards can also set names in my head. But it is an awfully formal dinner party that would warrant them and I really can’t seat more than six at my table. Six people’s names I can usually handle.

When I’m the one in the middle, I tend to muddle through until one guest meets another and I make do with a rather lame “Oh, I thought you two knew each other….”

Don’t be surprised if one day we meet and I can only remember a screen name. Easy? Yes. Not the most elegant moment, though. It is one of my resolutions to do better at introductions so that by the time of the annual New Year’s fête and Anniversary soirée I will comport myself better at the door.

Do you have any tricks for remembering names? Or is it natural for you?

8 thoughts on “I Have the Honour of Presenting…

  1. I have always carried cuecards in my purse with everyone’s details written on them. If I realise I cant remember the name of the person on the other side of the room I duck into the ladies room and check my cards – I may know so-and-so is married so someone I know but I cant remember his name…the quick peek at my cards will jog my memory so I can approach him and greet him by name.

  2. My husband and I carried a copy of the school directory in the glove box and quickly reviewed it on our way to any school function. Sometimes, I take the person’s hand and look right at them and say, “You may not remember me, I’m –,” and with luck (but not always), the other person will pipe up and say their name, too. But this doesn’t always work either! Often the other person will simply say, “Of course I remember you, –,” which only serves to make me feel worse. At events where we are seated at a dinner table with other guests (galas, dancing club, etc.), we find that most people sort of walk around or reach across the table, greet or extend their hand to everyone else and introduce themselves. Then the challenge is remembering names through the salad course!

  3. The day following an event, I recall everyone I’ve met and associate a unique, special or amusing characteristic about the individual. Doing this has two benefits. First, if I can’t remember their name I can immediately ask my wife or a coworker. Second, the characteristic I’ve remembered is often a good ice breaker the next time I meet the person.

  4. I get paid to meet people all the time. I suffer from the same affliction. I have no tips for remembering names because it just takes me a few times with the person to do so.

    SO, I rely on a genuine and friendly smile and the frank admission (if pinned down) that I don’t remember their name and it will take another time meeting them because I have a synapse problem! I have never had anyone do anything but laugh at this and tell me their name over again. Honesty. It can be elegant if done with an honest smile.


  5. I have tried many things, repeating the persons name in my mind while looking them in the face helps. I love Princess’s Idea of notes in the purse! Even a little stack of stickies for an evening bag!

  6. If you are intend on hosting parties, then it is essential to remember names.
    But minds do tend to wander when one is tense. The real crime in society is to actually forget that you’ve met someone countless times~ never mind about getting the name right! And there are self involved people who do this all the time.

  7. I blank quite often and just try to say something vague like, “I so wanted you two to meet. May I get either of you a drink?” Then dash to the bar, hoping my addled brain will kick into gear.

  8. The Elegantologist and I are birds of a feather – I’ll never forget a face, or even a voice, but the names escape me repeatedly. I’ve tried the old repeat-their-name-immediately gambit, plus several others, to no avail. My fallback has been to apologize for my forgetfulness, briefly explain I’m visually not aurally oriented (v. true), and ask for their name again. I’ve decided an apology and the direct approach is better than trying to cover myself at the risk of a greater faux pas.
    When I was in the married condition, I too used our drive time to brush up on the names – especially in school-related venues, where I always learn the kids’ names before their parents’. Flying solo this year might be quite an exciting adventure.

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