Forgetting Faces

Two days of conferences. Or, as they’re alternatively known, the prosopagnosiac’s nightmare. (Person bad at remembering faces).

Bad ways to greet a prosopagnosiac:

“Do you remember me?”

An answer of no usually seems to offend.

(Offended tone & still not giving your name) “But we met at – “ (name event where there were lots of people, after which I’ve subsequently met a thousand more people. Give no clue what we talked about).

Good ways to greet a prosopagnosiac:

“Hello! My name is – and we met at -”

By turning your name tag towards me so I don’t give into the urge to do this myself.

Neutral ways:

“Hello!” (Happy face and look of recognition). I’ll probably work it out eventually.

Accidentally good ways:

Be visually distinctive and/or don’t ever change what you look like. Particularly your hair.

Drop clues into the conversation early. Like “It was a nice day when we got married. At that lighthouse” etc.

Say mournfully “You probably don’t remember me”. This allows me to say “No, I don’t remember anybody”. Though you’ll usually be happy to find I do remember you once you say who you are/where we met/what we talked about.

Accidentally bad ways:

Look like lots of other people I know.

Say “I’m bad at remembering names too”. Names and faces are a different thing. But this does make me feel a bit better.

Assume I’ll recognise you because you just spoke on stage. This is a very fair assumption, but it turns out I often don’t recognise people who’ve just spoken on a stage because then you were small and far away, and now you’re big and nearby.

Be somewhere that I’m expecting to see people I know, but in another context. For example, I recognised both a comedian and a poet in Hull today but assumed I was just imagining I knew them because I was at an event which wasn’t for comedians and poets. Also, be anywhere I wouldn’t expect you to be. Another town, an event for people who aren’t you, my bath etc.

If I’ve met you more than four or five times or seen your photo a lot then I’ll probably recognise you anyway. Also if we’re related/married. Maybe.

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