I did it again. Completely blanked out on someone’s name. I know this hurts people’s feelings, and it doesn’t happen often, but when it does it is really embarrassing. What do I do if it ever happens again?

When you encounter someone whose name you have forgotten, take the initiative, extend your hand and say, “Hi! I’m not sure if you remember me, but I am Jane Smith from the library book group.” Most often, the other person will do the same and respond with his or her name. If that doesn’t happen, and you don’t need to introduce the person to someone else, you can probably get away with your memory lapse. If you are with another friend and it would be awkward not to introduce them to one another, say, “It’s so nice to see you. This is Ann Brown, my neighbor,” and hope that the other person will say her own name in response, since you won’t have done so! If not, admit to your lapse and apologize.

 

I just sent a text to the wrong person. It didn’t contain anything inappropriate, thankfully, but was a mistake, nonetheless. Should I have followed up with an “oops?”

Yes, follow-up is a good idea so the unintended recipient isn’t confused about why she received it. A simple, “sorry, meant to send that to someone else and wasn’t paying attention!” text is sufficient. Hopefully, you never write anything inappropriate because things like this can happen, but if you ever do send mean or unkind or private words to the wrong person, the best thing to do is pick up the phone to explain and apologize.

 

I just received a wedding invitation addressed to me “and guest.” This is very nice, and I’d like to take someone I’ve been dating for a few months, and he said he’d be happy to attend. How to I respond and does he need to send a wedding gift?

When you send your response, include your friend’s name. This enables the bride and groom to include it on the place card instead of writing “and guest.” While your date may send or take a gift, he doesn’t need to, especially if he doesn’t know the bride or groom. A gift from him would not be expected. When there, stick with your date who likely won’t know anyone else. If you see someone you want to greet, take him with you. Don’t leave him standing or sitting alone.

 

A friend sent me a text saying he is having a party and to bring my own food and drink. Really? Is this acceptable?

Well, no. If everyone is bringing his or her own refreshments, then technically, the friend who invited them is not having a party and therefore shouldn’t be issuing invitations as though it were. He can mention to a group of friends that he is willing to provide the space for a gathering if they want to organize it. That’s different.

Questions for Catherine? Send them to [email protected]

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