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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Social Gaffe

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not very graceful in social settings, nor am I very good with names. It's true that though I might have already met someone and been told their name that I'll often forget unless I find a way to use their name almost immediately. It's a weakness I recognize in myself, and I am trying to work on it.

At the very least, though I'm not good with names, I typically remember a face and pride myself on at least committing part of the introduction of a person to memory. And, being a socially awkward person, I'll admit that I recognize them and apologize for forgetting their name. Usually at that point, their name is committed to memory.

My point is that I'm far from perfect -- but I feel I at least make an effort.

But something that I can't stand are self-important people who might have met me on multiple occasions and yet, each time act as if it's the very first time we've met.

Normally, in a social setting, I lie back and take it and don't make an issue of things. After all, we all make this mistake, don't we? My manner has always been to try to make the other person in a social situation feel good and relaxed. I'll ignore gaffes and minor things rather than making a big deal out of them.

But last night at a social gathering, I just couldn't let it pass.

Last night, this woman whom I've met, had conversations with and socialized in a relatively intimate group setting for the past half dozen years tried introducing herself to me as if we didn't know each other and had never met. Yes, I'm impressed with the attempt at the social nicety of introducing herself, but the fact that she didn't realize we'd met and conversed on numerous occasions felt like a gigantic slap in the face.

This particular woman who is generally pleasant and nice, has consistently given me the impression that she looks down her nose at most of the rest of the world and that, to be in a conversation with someone unimportant like me is her version of "slumming."

So while normally, I let such things pass, this time I couldn't help but respond by saying:

"Hi, Madame[name excluded to protect the innocent], I'm Mark. We've met about 5 or 6 times now at this annual party."

Of course, the best part was just seconds later when, simply moving on rather than respond to my comment, she made the same gaffe and introduced herself to Francine. Fran responded by saying. "Hi, I'm Francine. Mark's wife. We've also met several times."

Strike Two on Madame.

I believe at that point she stopping introducing herself to the same crew she "met" every year and seemed to relax into just enjoying the gathering rather than risk a third strike.

Our work done, Fran and I went back to socializing with people we quite looked forward to spending time with and usually only saw once or twice a year at this lovely annual gathering of friends.

1 comment:

lime said...

rock on. i am evil enough i might have begun giving a false name and making up biographical data about myself.