Connecting isn’t always about remembering someone’s birthday and the name of their beloved golden retriever. It’s about the thin thread between you and what you do to strengthen it.

As the digital side of your life grows, it’s likely you will experience some of those “Who are you again?” moments with increasing frequency  — someone who seems familiar because you’re connected on relational media or someone else who you met once connected with online, but now forget their name at a gathering.

One option is to limit yourself to relationships where you remember all the names and details. And there is a limit.

The other option is to shift your perspective.

It’s natural to feel awkward. The question is now what to do about it.

Some have suggested tactics which are slightly manipulative (“What’s your name? No, your last name? …implying that you really did remember their first name).

Rather,

  1. Exercise your EQ muscle, get over it, and forget trying to be cool.
  2. Remember that, unless they’ve got perfect memory, it’s likely they do the same thing.
  3. Stick out your hand and say, “In case you didn’t remember, my name’s Roger Courville. I recognize our paths have crossed in the past, but my mind is failing me at the moment. Remind me again what your name is and how we connected?”

The worst that can happen is that you’ve been honest. Nobody on the planet remembers everything.

The best that can happen, however, is that that thin thread of connecting is now strengthened instead of feeling wobbly — and I don’t have to tell you the many places that can lead.