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Blogher: The Excitement Continues

No, I Don't Remember You

by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief of Social Media Strategy at xynoMedia

Grill When you criss-cross the country as much as I do in a given year, you start to see and meet the same people. Eventually, people start to attend events just to hear you speak.

However, the more you're on-the-go, the more people you meet and it becomes increasingly hard to place when, where and how you met someone. Ok, it's not increasingly hard - it's hell. At least for me it is.

It's not even about having a senior moment (I'd be the first to cop to it if it were), but rather overload...too much information...too many faces to remember.

Earlier this week I was on a conference call with a new social media strategy client. I knew some of the people on the call well and others I had met only briefly. As we're getting the call started, one woman pipes up

and demands to know why I can't remember her. She told me when, where and how we met and I still couldn't recall. I felt slightly put upon and I thought she was rude to put me on the spot like that. I mean, after the first time I tell you I don't recall us meeting, in the words of Mrs. Bucket (pronounced Bouquet...tee...hee), "Leave it, leave it, leave it!"

I CAN, however, recall flying into Boston directly from speaking at a conference in Chicago to speak at a Marketing Profs event. I woke up the morning I was supposed to speak and didn't know what town I was in. I lay in bed for about 2 or 3 minutes and STILL didn't know where I was. I then got up, opened the window, looked outside and remembered that I was in Boston. (After that conference, I promptly took myself home and stayed there for about a month.) So, I say all that to say, if I can't remember what state I'm in sometimes, how can you possibly expect me to remember that I met you for 3 minutes at a conference 2 years ago?

What's worse, I find that women do this more often than men. Why, I don't know. Which is why I'm writing about it on this blog. Part of marketing your business is networking and if your networking includes putting people on the spot, you're networking efforts won't go far.

So, if you do this to people, please stop. It's certainly OK to say something like, "I think we were on the same panel at NetPromoter in San Fran..." It is not OK, however, to grill someone. If you slip up, just apologize and keep the conversation moving.

Now, I DO NOT say all of this to be rude. I am deeply humbled when people come to hear me speak. And, if you know me well, you know this to be very, very true. I just spoke to a group at Ogilvy's new digs on 11th Avenue (NIIICEE digs...rooftop garden nice) last week and the group wanted to know about me and how I started my career. I am still amazed when this happens. And, at one point during that meeting, I felt a deep sense of gratitude to the people who took time out of a beautiful evening in NYC to hear me speak.

I try to be as gracious as possible when people insist that I know them, but I admit that it does boil my water a bit -- especially when it happens multiple times at one conference.

If this happens to you, what do you do? How do you handle it?


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Lena L. West

@Bobbi(love your name!):

You're welcome - I usually write about what's on my mind or heart - sometimes it strikes a chord and sometimes it doesn't.

I like your style. It's all about being kind and giving the other person a break.

Great blog, BTW.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Bobbi Newman

Thanks for writing this, you got me thinking how I would handle a situation like this, so I might be prepared when it happens.

I'd say she was pretty far out of line. I think one of the kindest things you can do for other people is give them your name and maybe remind them how you met, even if you've met before, even if it was yesterday. Conferences are intense, some people have a hard time with names, expecting someone to remember you is unreasonable. Telling someone your name takes them off the spot. Its kind. Plus making someone else look bad never makes you look good.

Lena L. West


I can always count on you for the alternate perspective! I am going to try humor. You are the BEST! Thanks mucho!


You tell 'em! And if someone had the gall to ask me who the F I was, they would get a REAL answer. :)

Thanks to you both for reading and commenting!

Wendy Hansen

Hi Lena, you certainly caught my attention this morning! Back in the day, I traveled all over the country and on occasion could not remember my own name much less the names of everyone I met. As a corporate trainer, I often spoke on the phone with people I met on the road..."Remember me?" You're kidding, right? After several occurrences of feeling a combination guilt (for not remembering) and resentment (YOU met one person--me; I met 50 people, so unless you had purple hair or were wearing a clown costume, no I don't remember you), I decided to write a few lovely humorous, but pointed, responses I could use on the phone to redirect their attention.

"We met in (whatever city)? You were one of those wonderful women who impressed me so! I loved that event...how can I help you today?"

"Hmmm...help me out here. Were you the 43rd or 68th fantastic woman I met that day?"

"My dear, I wish I could say that I remember every wonderful person I've met on the road, but I simply can't...wait...were you dressed in red and wearing a Bozo the Clown nose?"

I apply humor to nearly everything in my life; and I've found that humor gets me through nearly everytime.

Best wishes to you...and thank you for all of your terrific entries. (P.S. And if we should ever meet in person or on the phone or in cyberspace, I'll be the one who references Bozo noses!)

Monica Rix Paxson

I love this! I've been on both sides. I find that people are often very angry because I don't remember them, but gads, I hardly remember anyone from a single meeting, so don't take it so personally. I even had a complete stranger stop me on the street, address me by name, announce we were in kindergarden together and did I remember him??!?! Just today I got this message from someone I've only known peripherally and they don't remember me (no reason why they should), but they decided they should?: "Monica, how do we know each other? You and I have 23 friends in common, and one being ***. WhoTF are you? I keep running into you." Hmmmm, how do I tell him? I'm Monica Rix Paxson babykins, and don't you forget!

Lena L. West


I could not have said it better myself!

At the end of the day, I really do want to remember and connect. It's not always possible though.

Thanks for the support and for reading and commenting!

Yvonne DiVita

I so relate to this, Lena. I meet people all the time - but often the people I "meet" are online (twitter or blogs or LinkedIn) and when I get to a conference, they think I will know who they are by that little tiny picture of them by their name.

I've been lucky, tho. Many of the women I connect with are kind and patient - they say, "Hi, Yvonne, I'm SoandSo - we've been exchanging blog comments" and then I can place them.

Luckily, I don't travel as much as you do. That would really wear my brain out! You handle these incidents well, IMHO. And, that's the best thing - you're our example.

Ladies, head's up - give us (and we'll give you) a break when it comes to trying to remember who you are and where we met you. Because in the end, for the most part, we really do want to remember!

Lena L. West


I'm glad someone else understands! :)

It gets hard, but I always think that I must stay appreciative.

The opposite side of the same coin is no one could be coming to see me speak AT ALL.

*Gasp.* Not good at all!

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Victoria Crowe

Wow, Lena, I can dig it when people have unrealistic expectations & preconceived notions of what we should remember/know, etc. Don't we women already know that OUR OWN high expectations of ourselves are more than what is necessary; let alone when a person we've obviously made an impression upon finds the need to "hate" by being so rude?!?
My guess is that she was having a bad day, to say the least; which does not excuse bad behavior... but I just remind myself of 5 little words when someone is very rude to me, as I smile politely and nod my head in agreement, every part of my being is screaming (silently)... IT SUCKS TO BE U(!!!)
Then I have a short bitch-fest with my one of my BFF's for a bit, refer to that person as something silly like, "Needs More Fiber in Her Diet", LMAO, and move on...
Thanks for sharing all that you share with us. You're an inspiration & I appreciate it!

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