How do you cope gracefully when you forget somebody’s name, or don’t even remember meeting them before—and they clearly know you?

This is a quandary I’m quite familiar with. Although I try my hardest to pay attention to people’s names and personal details when introduced, I have met a lot of people during my life and it feels impossible to remember them all!  The most important thing is to smile warmly and greet the person as if you’re thrilled to see them, then ask a question or two—like “What are you up to these days?” It’s good manners but also smart detective work, since the stranger’s response will hopefully provide some hints as to whom he or she is, or (if you at least can place the face) give you time to try to recall the name. Another strategy is to introduce the person to somebody else who you do know (“Have you met my friend Catherine?”) in the hope that the mystery man or woman will provide their name in response. Whatever happens, try not to be embarrassed about the whole thing—it happens to everybody, and as long as you are warm and friendly nobody will be able to fault your manners.

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