We all agree: meeting new people is generally awful. You have to start entirely from scratch, ask about music and background and siblings, basically asking all the questions you need to get a C in High school French. Besides, you already have enough friends. You have one for every day of the week! In fact, the only thing worse than meeting new people is when those people turn out not to be new.
You know the type. They recognise you from another night out, or that pot-washing job, or 10 minutes ago when you last tried to run off. They’re friendly, and zippy, and who knows, in time they might even challenge Jessica for the spot of ‘Thursday Friend’. The problem is, you can’t enjoy it. Because you’re desperately trying to remember their name.
It’s happened to us all.
It is truly, truly excruciating.
But now, thanks to this list-based bible, you shall never suffer again.
- Ask them if they have a nickname.
A good start: this has about a 50% hit-rate. Nicknames are usually quite unoriginal, and even the worst Sherlock can work their way back from ‘Daveman.’ Obviously there’s a chance you might get a ‘Cheesestring’ or ‘Bedwetter.’ But at least that gives you something to talk about until you try your next approach.
- Introduce someone else.
A brilliant trick – if your acting’s up to it. Simply haul your friend from the other end of the kitchen-cum-living room, and say the magic words: ‘have you met Steve?’. Your mystery acquaintance is bound to reveal their secret identity (i.e. their identity) then. Be warned, though, this can backfire when your mystery friend looks to you to introduce them and you’ve got a big fat zilch.
- Think really hard. Really really hard.
It’s in there somewhere, so go into your mind palace and just Derren Brown it. Start with A and work through the alphabet. You can skip X completely, so that narrows it down (beware Xaviers though). The feeling when you get a direct hit is 100% worth the effort. Although of course you will seem fairly odd as you mouth the alphabet song mid-chat.
- Ask them their name.
Trust me, it’s better than it sounds. In fact it’s bloody genius. I would explain, but it’s easier just to read this short play I’ve prepared on the technique:
You: sorry, what’s your name again?
Mystery Friend: (hurt, confused) erm, it’s Michael…
You: (smiling, magnanimous) Of course. No, sorry, I meant your surname?
Mystery Friend: (relieved) Oh! It’s Carmichael.
You: Your name’s Michael Carmichael?
Mystery Friend: Yes my parents are scum.
See?! Genius. Utter genius.
- Replace their name for the word ‘Mate’.
Pal or buddy also work.
- Call them Emma.
Everyone’s called Emma. Or Tom, if they smell of Lynx. It’s a ballsy move, and only recommended for the cockiest chatter. You can also try unisex names such as Sam or Jo(e) to double your chances. And, if they correct you angrily, just hippy your way out of it. Say, ‘aren’t all names just artificial anyway?’. Then mention something about monks or India.
- Be honest.
Just say you’ve forgotten. It’s social suicide of course, but you’re tired and you’ll probably never see them again. Explain to them that you have one of those memories that only remembers memorable people. Then gaze at them steadily and announce: ‘your move.’