How To Greet Someone If You’re Not Sure If You Know Them

How To Greet Someone If You’re Not Sure If You Know Them
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Some of us just aren’t great at remembering faces, which can result in an awkward moment when we think we’re meeting someone for the first time and they say we’ve met before. Or even worse, we think we’ve met someone before and greet them that way, only to find out they have no idea who we are. Here’s a one sentence trick to avoiding these embarrassing moments.

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On NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast, they share a simple way to find out if the person you’re greeting is a stranger or someone you should know. Aim to say this in a light or neutral tone so it comes off as natural. As you shake their hand or give a quick wave, say, “Hey, do I know you from somewhere…?”

If they say no, play it off with, “Oh, you just looked a little familiar. Wonderful to meet you!”

If they say yes and mention how you know each other, follow up with, “Yes, that’s right. So good to see you again!” Of course, this only works one or two times with the same person, so if you have a strong feeling you’ve met them before (and maybe used this trick), go for something more general like, “Hey, how are you?”

As with any type of warm greeting, the key to making this work is to send signals that you’re pleased to meet this new person (or see them again if it turns out you know each other). Give a genuine smile, use a light inflection when greeting them, and be an active listener.