Three Simple Strategies for Getting Away with Forgetting Someone’s Name

How to Get Away With Forgetting Someone’s Name

We’ve all had that “What the hell is his/her name?” feeling.

It’s happened to each and every one of us. Some previously introduced person walks up and starts jabber-jawing as if he/she is a long lost friend, and God only knows what the hell his/her name is. So what do you do? Ask his/her name yet again? Avoid any sentences which may require the use of his/her name? End the conversation with some lame excuse? Ignore the person completely? Well, now there’s no need to do any of that. The following three strategies will guide you through this awkward situation as well as free you from the stress of ever having to remember a single name again.

The Spell-It-Out Maneuver

The Spell-It-Out Maneuver allows you to surreptitiously learn Mystery Person’s name by asking Mystery Person to spell his/her name correctly for you. First, following a cheery greeting with Mystery Person, maintain an upbeat tone and say the following: “You know, we just keep running into each other so often! I think it would be a good idea to exchange numbers.”

Next, retrieve your cell phone quickly. You may need to say something like: “Let me grab my cell phone and get this done right now. Perhaps we can schedule a lunch for next week. I know a great new Greek spot on Juniper.”

How to Get Away With Forgetting Someone’s Name

Who doesn’t love when someone insists on smelling his/her name correctly?

Next, say the following (and this is key): “I always like to make sure I know the correct spelling of all of my contacts’ names. Do me a favor; go ahead and spell out your first and last name for me.”

Next, enter Mystery Person’s name and number into your phone, and say thank you. If the name is easy to pronounce, then say the person’s name as you say thank you. If the name has one of those crazy spellings that you know you won’t be able to pronounce correctly when reading (and may very well be the reason why you forgot the person’s name in the first place), say the following:

“Wow, your name has a very interesting spelling. I bet there is a heck of a story behind it.”

Typically, because people love themselves so much, Mystery Person will launch into a brief history of their name and end up saying it out loud.

WARNING: Do not use the Spell-It-Out Maneuver if Mystery Person gave you a business card during your initial encounter, is some sort of manager or boss to you, or is blood-related to you.

The Endearment Offensive

The Endearment Offensive: A sweet way to do something so wrong.

The Endearment Offensive: A sweet way to do something so wrong.

If you are unable to use The Spell-It-Out Maneuver to determine Mystery Person’s name, you may need to use The Endearment Offensive. The Endearment Offensive involves you referring to Mystery Person with various terms of endearment such as “Darling,” “Honey,” “Sweetheart” and so on.

The Endearment Offensive does have certain usage limitations which are based on regional cultural differences throughout the United States. In the Midwest and the South, it is not considered sexist or demeaning to refer to a fellow professional as “Dear,” “Honey” or “Sweetie.” In Louisiana, for instance, “Baby” is a standard moniker. However, in states like New York and California, such names are considered offensive. For these regions, use “Sir” or “Mr. Man” for men. Use “Ms. Lady” for women.

NOTE: Many women do NOT like to be called “Ma’am.”

The Nickname Game

This strategy requires a bit more creativity than the previous two strategies, as well as an analysis of Mystery Person’s habits, personality and personal preferences. Now in all honesty, it seems that if you are paying this much attention to a person, then you should be able to remember that person’s name. However, many names have an elusive quality. Maybe Mystery Person’s name is rather exotic, or doesn’t quite match the person’s face. For example, actor Corey Feldman doesn’t really look like a “Corey,” and Charlie Sheen will never look like his name is actually “Carlos Estevez.”

There's never a shortage of folks doing strange stuff to earn them a suitable nickname.

There’s never a shortage of folks doing strange stuff to earn them a suitable nickname.

Behavior-Based Nicknames
When in the company of Mystery Person, pay attention to their physical habits and gestures. If Mystery Person always works out at 3pm each day, refer to her as “JF” for Jane Fonda or “JM” for Jillian Michaels. If Mystery Person always angrily tosses his ink pen during meetings, refer to him as “Penn.” If Mystery Person is prone to getting blotto drunk on singles’ cruises and/or making out with the general manager during company Christmas parties, refer to that person as “Hot Stuff.”

Conversation-Based Nicknames
When in the company of Mystery Person, pay attention to his/her conversational habits. If Mystery Person has an accent reminiscent of Tony Soprano, refer to him as “Jersey.” If Mystery Person always says the word “fantastic” while describing what he did over the weekend, refer to him as “Fantastic.” If Mystery Person always complains about someone stealing her coffee cup, refer to her as “Mug.”

Preference-Based Nicknames
When in the company of Mystery Person, pay attention to his/her likes and dislikes. If Mystery Person takes her coffee without cream, sugar or milk, refer to her as “No Chaser.” If Mystery Person always talks about sticking to the Atkin’s Diet, refer to him as “Carnivore.” If Mystery Person has an obsession with watching Project Runway because of his adoration for Tim Gunn, refer to that person as “Gunner.”

Celebrate your terrible memory with ease.

Celebrate your terrible memory with ease.

No matter your approach, always remember to nickname with caution. The Nickname Strategy requires you to be clever and always prepared with an agreeable reason as to why you’ve chosen to call that person by something that is not his/her name. For example use: “I always give cool nicknames to people I like most” OR “You know how military folks always give each other nicknames? Well, I consider you a brother/sister-in-arms.”

WARNING: Never tell Mystery Person that you’ve nicknamed him/her because you can’t recall his/her actual name.

With these three strategies under your belt, you are now free to go forth and forget anyone’s name without the least bit of frustration or guilt. You may also use these strategies to develop your own unique methods of forgetting someone’s name. Have a wonderful day, Sport!

Copyright © 2012 – 2015 Nikki Igbo. All rights reserved. Do not use or reproduce without permission.

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