Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: gellchom on May 07, 2013, 01:57:53 PM

Title: "Who am I?"
Post by: gellchom on May 07, 2013, 01:57:53 PM
It happened again the other night at a party.  This just drives me up the wall.

A woman came up to me at a party and said, "Do you remember me?  Who am I?" and then stood there waiting for an answer.

I dimly recognized her, and I had a pretty good idea about who she was (a friend of a friend whom I've met a couple of times when she came to our town for family events; my husband had mentioned the day before that "that friend of Durwood's who's Lulu's aunt" would be in town this weekend), but it didn't bubble up to the surface fast enough.  I certainly don't remember her name.  (I bet she didn't remember mine, either -- I'm probably just "Durwood's friend" to her, too, which is fine.)  I managed to get out of it fairly gracefully somehow.

What is the point of that question?  Haven't they ever been in that situation themselves?  Why would they do that to someone?  Yeesh. 

I hate hate hate when people do this.  I used to joke that if I ever had a huge pile of money, I'd fund a foundation to stamp out the practice. 

What do you say when people say that to you?  (If no one ever has, lucky you, and I sincerely wish no one ever will.)  All I can think of is "Oh, PLEASE don't do that to me!" or on a bad day, "Yes, I remember you -- you're one of those jerks who loves to put people on the spot and embarrass them by forcing them to insult you."  No, I'd never say that!  But I'm stumped for a polite answer.
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on May 07, 2013, 02:03:23 PM
"Captain Jack Sparrow? My that's some disguise! You've outdone yourself!"

Seriously though, I don't like this either.  Especially when they say "Oh I haven't seen you since you were about this big! I------I"

And you expect me to remember you...how?  Though to that kind of response SnarkyPirate would be tempted to say "Nope, but maybe with some hypnosis I'll be able to unearth the repressed memory."  >:D



Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: daen on May 07, 2013, 02:03:51 PM
"No, but I'm horrible with faces - it's a curse."

Or, to the crowd at large, "Excuse me, we have a lady over here who has forgotten her identity. Can anyone help her?"  >:D Tempting, but no.

I'm reminded of a story a friend of mine told. He had been interning in a church for the summer, and a few weeks in, a lady came up to him after the service and said, "Do you remember me?"
He didn't, but he glanced down and saw that she was carrying a Bible with her name embossed on the cover. Unfortunately, her hand was obscuring part of the print. So he said, "I'm not sure of your surname, but I'm pretty sure your first name is Elizabeth."
She was charmed. And I was impressed at his ability to think on his feet.

<<edited because I finally remembered the word "surname.">>
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: MrTango on May 07, 2013, 02:06:31 PM
First of all: Wow...what a ridiculous way to treat someone. (Her putting you on the spot like that).

My response would have been: "You mean you don't remember?" [dramatic music starts] "You must have" [Pause that would make William Shatner cringe] "AMNESIA!" [dramatic music swells].
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: lowspark on May 07, 2013, 02:10:45 PM
I'm just honest. I have a terrible memory for names anyway, plus, due to my personality (I stand out!) a lot of people know who I am whereas I don't always know them beyond their face being familiar (if that). So, just something like, "Oh sorry, I know that I know you but I can't place you." To be honest, I'm not that worried about hurting someone's feelings if they are not worried about putting me on the spot so it's just an attempt to be polite as opposed to trying to figure out how not to admit I don't know who they are.

Thinking about it, that exact thing doesn't happen to me all that often. It's usually more a case of someone talking to me and assuming that I know who they are. In that case, I will say something like "Please remind me what your name is" and comment on how I'm terrible with names (and often they don't remember mine either so we're in the same boat). But of course, that situation isn't what you're asking about, eh?
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: Kiara on May 07, 2013, 02:15:32 PM
"You're Jean Valjean!"

No?
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: rose red on May 07, 2013, 02:18:06 PM
I know what I want to say >:D, but I go with "Sorry, I don't remember you.  Let's get reintroduced."
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: sweetonsno on May 07, 2013, 02:19:37 PM
I love, love, LOVE all of these creative and lighthearted responses that everyone has been coming up with. (Filing them away for later.)

I think it's odd for someone to ask (demand) that you tell them who they are in relation to you. However, I don't really object to "Do you remember me?" as an introduction. There's something very unsettling about having someone who you don't know know you.

The polite response, I think, is a short apology and admission that you don't remember them.
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: Thipu1 on May 07, 2013, 02:35:54 PM
Librarians get this all the time.  A person may have spent a half-hour at the Library in September of 1989 to get an answer to a long-standing question.  No one else could help but we found the answer he needed in 20 minutes. 

We made a much larger impression on his mind that he did on ours.  For him, we performed an amazing piece of research.  for us, it was all in a day's work.  He remembers us and thinks we should remember him. It doesn't always work that way.

The best thing you can do when faced with a situation like this is to frankly admit you remember the face but not the name.   

Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: nuit93 on May 07, 2013, 02:42:39 PM
"2...4...6...0...1!!!!!!" with dramatic flair.
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: bansidhe on May 07, 2013, 02:51:55 PM
The best thing you can do when faced with a situation like this is to frankly admit you remember the face but not the name.   

Unless you're like me. I remember names quite well - even difficult ones - but I have a very tough time recognizing people. After some years of embarrassing situations, I've taken to explaining to people that I've got a fairly substantial degree of face blindness and asking them to either tell me their name or give me a clue about how I know them. That usually gives me enough information to come up with a name so at least the person knows I haven't entirely forgotten who they are.
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: DottyG on May 07, 2013, 03:06:13 PM
Quote
"You're Jean Valjean!"

:)

Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: heartmug on May 07, 2013, 03:10:03 PM
"No, but I'm horrible with faces - it's a curse."

Or, to the crowd at large, "Excuse me, we have a lady over here who has forgotten her identity. Can anyone help her?"  >:D Tempting, but no.


LOL!  Sooooo tempting.
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: Outdoor Girl on May 07, 2013, 03:13:24 PM
I always get thrown when I meet someone out of context.  Like running into the receptionist at your dentist office in the grocery store.  I know I recognize her but I can't figure out from where because the context is completely different.

The other issue I have is that my parents were well known in their relatively small town - My Dad is a retired teacher, my Mom was a home care nurse.  Mom was very active in various volunteer pursuits and my Dad still is, despite turning 79 in a few weeks.  So a lot of people know who I am but I have very little clue who they are.  And to make matters worse, my Dad has a terrible memory for names and faces.  It isn't unusual for us to be out together somewhere, have someone come up to us, greet us both by name and stand there having a conversation.  After they've walked away, one of us usually whispers to the other, 'Who was that?' and the other replies, 'I have no idea.  I was hoping you knew.'

So yes, I do hate the 'Do you know who I am?' line.  I want to do the 'This person can't remember who they are; can anyone help them?' thing but I don't.  I usually go with something like, 'I'm sorry, I just can't place you.  Remind me, please?'
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: Margo on May 07, 2013, 03:16:36 PM
I've never had anyone ask me who they are - i agree it's a really rude thing to do, as it puts you on the spot. I also have face blindness, and I do normally tell people when I meet them, and explain that if I seem to ignore them, I'm not being deliberately rude.

Because it is so hard for me, I am always *really* impressed with those who can recognise and remember people.




Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on May 07, 2013, 03:31:55 PM
Now usually if someone comes up to me and there's someone with me they don't know I have employed the "Oh let me introduce you to my friend!  This is Carol, Carol this is..." and usually they'll fill in.

In fact I might be using that on Sunday as I have learned some names of the people at church but not all of them.  I can recognize people really well but when it comes to a lot of people it takes me awhile to remember them all.
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: Thipu1 on May 07, 2013, 04:43:33 PM
The context can make a great difference. 

Back in our running days there were many people with whom we were quite friendly on Saturday mornings at the reservoir.  Everyone there wore shorts or sweats.  Meeting them when wearing business attire often resulted with one party or another saying 'Oh, you're X!  I didn't recognize you in clothes!'

Runners understood.  Non-rumnners were certain to look at us oddly. 
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: gellchom on May 07, 2013, 04:46:21 PM
Now usually if someone comes up to me and there's someone with me they don't know I have employed the "Oh let me introduce you to my friend!  This is Carol, Carol this is..." and usually they'll fill in.

In fact I might be using that on Sunday as I have learned some names of the people at church but not all of them.  I can recognize people really well but when it comes to a lot of people it takes me awhile to remember them all.

Yeah, I do that one, too, if there's another person handy and I get to it before being asked "Who am I?"  If I'm lucky, I have an instant to ask the friend to find out the person's name.

I've also tried saying my own name for them.  Many people appreciate it and take the hint to remind me of theirs, too.  But sometimes people get offended -- "Of course I know who you are!!" -- and don't realize that I'm doing it as much to prompt them to remind me of their names as I am trying to help them out.

Honestly, though, why on earth would anyone do that "Who am I?" thing?  They are usually really nice people -- why don't they realize how that feels?  I mean, they must have had it happen to them, too, right?  I guess they just aren't thinking it through.

Do you consider it an eHell damnation-worthy sin?
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: Bijou on May 07, 2013, 04:58:40 PM
I've never had anyone add the,"Who am I?"  That's a pretty challenging and kind of aggressive approach.
Usually they might say, " I don't know if you remember me, but (then add info about where we met)".
If they do say 'Do you remember me?" and I don't recall, I might say, "You look familiar but I can't quite place where we met."
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: Luci on May 07, 2013, 05:08:06 PM
At my dad's funeral, a woman came in and I kind of gasped and said, "Oh, Mrs. G," then explained to our son that she sang at our wedding, 38 years ago. Later, oddly, she came up to our 33 year old son and said, "Do you know who I am?" She was quite surprised when he had the answer!  :)

I wish it were always that easy! Usually, I have students ask me that, and I haven't seen them since they were 12, so I simply say, "I'm sorry." It's easier for Lucas since they were in high school and look more like themselves, but he doesn't remember names, so just tells them where they sat in the classroom. That satisfies them. Weird.
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: White Lotus on May 07, 2013, 05:09:04 PM
"If YOU don't know, we're in trouble, because I don't!" is what Evil Lotus would like to answer.

Good Lotus goes with, "I'm sorry, I don't, but I'm sure I know you.  Remind me."

I meet a lot of people and, while I usually do remember people, given time, it takes a while for the associations to surface sometimes.  I hate it when people do this, and always introduce myself if I think there is even a remote chance someone might not remember me.  "Of COURSE I know you," is a response I sometimes get.  I come back with, "How flattering!"
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: Library Dragon on May 07, 2013, 06:21:06 PM
Librarians get this all the time.  A person may have spent a half-hour at the Library in September of 1989 to get an answer to a long-standing question.  No one else could help but we found the answer he needed in 20 minutes. 

We made a much larger impression on his mind that he did on ours.  For him, we performed an amazing piece of research.  for us, it was all in a day's work.  He remembers us and thinks we should remember him. It doesn't always work that way.

The best thing you can do when faced with a situation like this is to frankly admit you remember the face but not the name.   

Yes!  Add into this church, my old church that is in my city, people that worked with my husband at previous hospital, the Army, etc., it gets over whelming trying to place people in their proper context.  I'm great with faces, but not names. 

I once spent a long time at a party talking to someone that looked familiar, but I could't place her.  Later I asked my husband if he could give me the connection.  It was his ex-wife! 
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: Figgie on May 07, 2013, 09:11:45 PM
I tell people that I lack facial recognition software. :)  Just making a joke about it seems to take the sting out of telling them that I don't know who they are.
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: DavidH on May 08, 2013, 11:52:43 AM
It is a pretty rude thing to do.  I think the correct thing is probably to say yes, but I'm terribly sorry that I've forgotten you name.  I'd be tempted to say yes, you embarrassed me like this the last time we met too. 

If I recall, gellchom, you are a rabbi's wife, which makes it even more awkward since you probably meet a lot of people in the congregation at the same time.  From their point of view, it's easy to remember who you are because of your role, so you can't even turn the question back to them.
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: Virg on May 08, 2013, 04:24:32 PM
Outdoor Girl wrote:

"I always get thrown when I meet someone out of context.  Like running into the receptionist at your dentist office in the grocery store."

You have a dentist office in your grocery store?  That's pretty convenient.

Seriously, though, Many people have this sort of problem, because we tend to use context to help us remember stuff, and names/faces are a big part of that.

Virg
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: Bijou on May 09, 2013, 03:45:37 AM
Outdoor Girl wrote:

"I always get thrown when I meet someone out of context.  Like running into the receptionist at your dentist office in the grocery store."

You have a dentist office in your grocery store?  That's pretty convenient.

Seriously, though, Many people have this sort of problem, because we tend to use context to help us remember stuff, and names/faces are a big part of that.

Virg
I think most people do have this problem.  I know I do.
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on May 09, 2013, 05:38:35 AM
I keep running into a couple I know from church.  I recognize them but for the life of me I couldn't tell you their names!  I was so pleased one Friday when I ran into a woman whose name I did know and she knew mine (she usually watches the babe in the nursery). 

I went up to the middle school last week to pick up my oldest son as he had stayed after to watch a basketball game between the 8th graders and the teachers.  One teacher held the door for me then asked me who I was looking for.   It was his science teacher and I didn't even recognize her, it's been so long since I've seen her.
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: 25wishes on May 09, 2013, 06:37:52 AM
Face Blindness!! Now I have a name for what I have. I just pictured large gaps in my brain, like swiss cheese, where those connections should be.

I can see someone 4 or 5 times, and then not recognize them the next time I see them. It is VERY embarrassing.
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: cwm on May 09, 2013, 08:38:40 AM
I have this problem a lot. I have a huge family on both my parents' sides, and family reunions are terrible. My grandparents on my dad's side were each one of 8 or 9 kids, and running into a family member in town when I know we're related and I know vaguely how, but I can't for the life of me remember his name is really awkward.

I suppose it's a good thing I've earned the reputation of a scatterbrain among my family and friends. Whenever I don't recall someone then either they'll know me well enough to realize that I'm terrible with names and faces or I'll realize that they aren't close enough to me that I should feel horrible for not remembering them. Awkward? Yes, absolutely. Are they putting me on the spot? Yes. But I don't feel bad for being myself and having the failings of my memory that I've had since I was a small child. It's only been in the last few years that I could pick some of my relatives out of a lineup, and I've seen them fairly regularly since I was a tiny child.
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: Kariachi on May 09, 2013, 10:03:16 AM
Even better at family reunions, the one's that think you should know them when you have no reason to.

Like, "I'm nineteen, the only other reunion I've been to was ten years ago and you didn't attend it. How the eHell am I supposed to know who you are?!"

Honestly, people need to stop with this mess. My favorite person I was introduced to at that reunion was a girl my age who walked over, introduced herself as my third cousin once removed, and then stood next to me while the rest of the family showed off old pictures. No stress, not expecting me to know her from Adam, just "hi, I'm me, here's how we're related, wanna go check out great-uncle so-and-so's pictures from when he was small?"
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: Blondie on May 09, 2013, 10:27:05 AM
I have used the "Now, I know I know you, but I am horrible with names!" and that seems to work. It hits both that I recognize them (ego) and I have flaws and they can feel superior for remembering my name when I can't remember theirs, which glosses over the whole I really don't remember them part of my statement...
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: gellchom on May 09, 2013, 12:16:08 PM
It is a pretty rude thing to do.  I think the correct thing is probably to say yes, but I'm terribly sorry that I've forgotten you name.  I'd be tempted to say yes, you embarrassed me like this the last time we met too. 

If I recall, gellchom, you are a rabbi's wife, which makes it even more awkward since you probably meet a lot of people in the congregation at the same time.  From their point of view, it's easy to remember who you are because of your role, so you can't even turn the question back to them.

Bingo!!!

Actually, he's a cantor, not a rabbi, but exactly the same situation.  And it's a very large congregation, and of course not everyone attends services and other events as much as others.  So I often find myself not knowing names I probably should, in addition to zillions that I couldn't reasonably be expected to.  I hope they don't realize!

But to be fair, this "who am I?" bit doesn't seem to come from congregants.  It's not even always older people.  I simply cannot fathom why anyone would do this.  But it's happened to me several times over the years, both when I was a kid and now, too. 

Do you suppose that the people who pull this tell themselves, "It's their own fault if they're embarrassed; they should remember me"?  I don't think they stop and consider that the person is a whole lot less likely to be thinking, "Oh, I'm so awful for not remembering this lovely person" than "!!%&$! you for putting me on the spot like this!"

Out of context is usually the problem, I agree.  And when it's only out of context for one person, that's doubly unfair!  I mean, if you run into your dentist at the supermarket, it's equally out of context for both of you.  But take this lady I wrote about.  I only know her at all because of a mutual friend in Israel.  She was in last week from Florida for a bat mitzvah.  Now, when she comes here, I'm one of the few people she knows in this city, and she knows I'm the cantor's wife, so she expects to see me at this synagogue.  But I'm not expecting to see her.  So I'm at a real disadvantage, because she could be anyone I've ever met, from anywhere -- if I had done it to her, she'd only have to go through at most a dozen names of women she knows, but only slightly, in this city.

I think I once posted about a time I was talking to some congregant's relative from out of town who said she had been here for "the bar mitzvah."  THE bar mitzvah?!  We've been here almost 31 years, and there are up to 50 in a year.  So, from her point of view, having only been here once, "the" -- but how could she possibly expect me to know what she meant?

I admit I'm not as good with names or faces as I'd like to be.  But I think that this is just mean -- forcing me to insult them if I can't immediately remember.  DavidH, I'll never say it aloud, but your response of "I'd be tempted to say yes, you embarrassed me like this the last time we met too" is just what I'll think inside to make myself feel a bit better!
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: TootsNYC on May 10, 2013, 12:38:20 PM
I get the "Do you remember who I am?"

I always think, "If you thought there was the tiniest likelihood that I might forget, why didn't you just remind me from the get-go?"
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: VorFemme on May 10, 2013, 03:42:19 PM
Face Blindness!! Now I have a name for what I have. I just pictured large gaps in my brain, like swiss cheese, where those connections should be.

I can see someone 4 or 5 times, and then not recognize them the next time I see them. It is VERY embarrassing.

I am not completely face blind - I just figured out in my thirties that I must be a born dressmaker.

I spent several years "recognizing" people by their clothes (when your head is at or only slightly above the level of their belt buckle, you don't get a good look at people's faces).  About age nine or ten, I got tall enough that I wasn't craning my neck at a 90 degree angle backwards to see adult faces - but I was so near-sighted that clothes were easier to see from a distance.....as long as not every guy at church wore a navy blue suit with a red tie.....then I got glasses at age ten. 

And I was lazy enough that I still looked at clothes first, then height, hair color, etc. and faces LAST - because they still didn't come into clear focus until I was fairly close.  By then, people with normal vision were already talking to me and calling me by name - so I had to try to figure out who they were BEFORE I could see their face!  As I got older and my glasses prescription got updated more often, it got easier to see things and I got better at faces.....but it is still easy to fall back into old habits sometimes, in a large crowd and remember that Second-Cousin-Twice-Removed Hattie (who played the piano at the wedding of my Mom & Dad) is wearing a light blue dress with blue & white flowers printed on it and has light blue hair (she was eighty the last time I saw her) and First-Cousin-Three-Times-Removed Franny is wearing a blue dress with red & white flowers on it and has silvery white hair.  And Great-Aunt Ginnie (who was a nurse in WWII in the Waves & married Grandpa's brother) is wearing a gray dress.  Or something like that......because at 80-something, they are all white haired, wearing similar glasses, and are shorter than they were the last time I saw them at a family reunion eighteen years ago.  Heck - I have more gray hairs than I did back then and my then-ten-year-old DD is now married, working, and has a kid of her own (And isn't free to come to the reunion!)
Title: Re: "Who am I?"
Post by: Aquamarine on May 11, 2013, 01:57:12 PM
It's rude to put people on the spot like that.  They would get an "I don't know who you are, my name is ________ from me.  If they kept on about remembering them from some random past event they would get the "Sorry but I absolutely do not remember you, if I did remember you I would have said so."