Last week Suzy Bubble of Style bubble had a mild rant on her blog about a journalist mixing her up with another woman in a magazine. While there is no excuse for a journalist not checking his facts, she also goes on to say that many people mistake her for someone else all the time and that she gets rather annoyed by that. While I can surely sympathise with her feelings, I like to offer a point of view from the other side. From someone who can never recognise anyone, which of course is ME.
It’s been a problem since childhood and I’m not totally sure what causes it. It certainly does not help that I have bad eyesight (which cannot be corrected with glasses) but I’m sure that is not the only issue, as my husband and son seem to cope with the same issue (although less extreme as mine).
Let me tell you, it is extremely annoying. Not only will people always be offended when they find out I don’t recognise them, I can also never be spontaneous at parties and walk up to someone I met once or twice before. Either those people will have to come to me, or I’m just being labeled as arrogant or a snob. It’s cost me numerous friendships and opportunities.
When people do come up to me and start talking to me in a way that clearly signals that they know me, I start searching my brain for clues. Where do I know this person from? I usually nod politely and let them talk in the hope that they touch on a topic which I will recognise and establish the link. Sometimes that tactic works and sometimes it does not and I have to embarrass myself again to ask who she / he is or the conversation just stops and either of us will move on.
What to do?
Now, when I meet new people I often give them a warning. “Please don’t think I’m rude when I don’t recognise you next time; I can never recognise a face”. They smile and say “sure”, but the reality is that when that next time happens, they don’t understand it and can barely hide their annoyance. I guess it’s difficult to understand for someone who can still recognise the face from someone they last saw in childhood. It’s hard for them to grasp the concept that I can’t even recognise a face I saw the week before.
I have also installed a little app on my phone Evernote Hello, which is a tool that helps you to record the name, image and details of the person you meet and the event where you met them. Of course that would only help if I really start studying all those contacts and their faces before I attend a meeting where I may see any of them.
It’s one of those things that I will just have to live with and I just have to hope for the understanding of others. So please don’t be offended when I don’t say hello when I see you on the street. Chances are I had no idea I just passed someone I know….
Do you recognises faces easily? How do you react to someone who does not recognise you?