Tall Poppy Diaries

Observations and musings on life as a happy high-achiever (or what the Aussie's call a "Tall Poppy" ). "Unless you choose to do great things with it, it makes no difference how much you are rewarded, or how much power you have." --Oprah Winfrey

Thursday, September 09, 2004


  Have Mercy On Us: Introduce Yourself!

I want to talk about an issue that plagues everyone on occasion--The Impolite Re-Introduction. As in, the random person who walks up to you in the grocery store and says, "Hi! You don't remember me, do you?" and waits silently with their arms folded while you stammer for a more socially acceptable response than, "No, I don't remember ever having laid eyes on you".

Or the person who walks up to you while you are having lunch with a friend (as I was yesterday) and says, "Wow, what are the chances of seeing you here" and starts trying to have an uncomfortably friendly conversation with you when you have no idea who the person is or where you would have been more likely to run into them!

Please understand...I am good at remembering names AND faces, but I am only human and would never expect anyone else to have total recall, either. The problem is that people feel like they "know" Hubby and me because our names and faces are so familiar from media exposure. Plus, they can sort of keep up with our lives since there are occasional stories about our family in the paper. So, if they met us ten years ago, they may have "seen" us in the media dozens of times since then. Yet, we would have only seen them ONCE! And whose faces and names are going to be easier to remember--those that are in the media or those that are seen or heard only once?

I'm not going to belabor this issue (boy, do I have stories I could tell... like when we are sitting in a restaurant eating dinner with our children and random men we don't even know--it's always men--just pull a chair up to OUR TABLE and start discussing political or legal issues with Hubby...), but suffice to say that there are polite ways to approach people you have met but haven't seen in a while.

Please, PLEASE be kind... unless the person is a really good friend, operate on the assumption that they don't remember your name. It's so much better for the person to be able to say, "Oh, of course I remember you" than to have to say, "I'm sorry...your face is familiar, but I just can't place it with your name" (which is my poor Hubby's favorite line and should be translated as "I have no idea who you are or where we supposedly met"). Next time you see someone who you want to reconnect with, but have only met a few times, try saying something like:

"Hi! I wanted to come over and say a quick 'Hello'. I'm Susie Smith; we met at the Arts Ball last year? " To which any man/woman worth his/her salts would reply, "Why, of course! I remember well. It's so nice to see you again. How have you been?" And then, if you are with friends, you can actually introduce one another and be all neighborly rather than either of you being utterly panic stricken.

It's just not nice to assume that the other person will remember your brief encounters with the same clarity that you do. And rest assured, your company will be avoided in the future if "familiar face" ever finds out who you are!

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