What to Say in Awkward Social Situations
You’re stuck in the elevator with the CEO or at a game with ex–in-laws. Now what?
Waiting in line at the deli, you’re greeted by someone whose name escapes you.“I’ve found that it’s best simply to smile back and let them speak,” says Sirio Maccioni, owner of the famous New York City restaurant Le Cirque. “Never ask who they are. You’ll eventually figure it out from what they’re saying or by asking someone else once they’ve walked away.”
Another option: If the mystery woman didn’t greet you by name, reintroduce yourself. (“Oh, hi! I know I know you. I’m ―. Remind me how we met.”) “She’ll probably get the hint and tell you her name,” says Debra Benton, the author of CEO Material (McGraw-Hill, $25, amazon.com).
Of course, it helps to have backup. If you’re with, say, your spouse, you can introduce him by name and hope the semi-stranger responds in kind. It’s even better if your wingman (or child) is trained. “My family members know that if I don’t introduce them to someone, I’ve blanked on the person’s name and they need to step in,” says Susan Fitter Sloane, the founder of Global Matters, an international etiquette-consulting business based in Middleburg, Virginia.
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