The other day I was shopping with a friend when we bumped into a woman she knew. They chitchatted briefly, but from the general tone of the conversation and the way my friend had not yet introduced me, I could tell that she had forgotten the woman’s name. To rescue her, I stuck my hand out and said, “Hi, I’m Peggy.” The woman greeted and said, “Hi, I’m Janet.” Problem solved.
After we parted, my friend thanked me for intervening. I just hope the other woman didn’t notice!
If you find yourself blanking on a person’s name, and happen to have someone else with you, try introducing your friend. Usually, once one person identifies themself, the other will follow suit. You could also try saying something like, “When’s the last time we bumped into each other?” I would avoid saying something along the lines of “What brings you to this neighborhood?” A friend once tried that, only to realize that the person owned a boutique right next door, which she should have known about.
And if you’re worried about forgetting someone’s name, try repeating it after they introduce yourself. Example: “Nice to meet you, Marcia. I’m Peggy.” It helps it stick in your mind.