We’ve all been there.

Has this ever happened to you? You hear someone call your name, and you turn around and recognize a person you’ve definitely met before. You’re about to strike up a conversation, but you get hit with a reality check when you realize you don’t remember their name, even though they so clearly remembered yours! Sweat begins to bead on your forehead; your “Hi!” trails into a “Hiiiiiiiii…” without a name to follow it…as your disjointed greeting lingers in the air, you can’t tell if they’ve caught on to the fact that you have, in fact, forgotten their name.

We’ve all been there, and whether it’s the person in the elevator you vaguely remember from NSOP, or the kid in your class whose notes would really come in handy during your midterm study sessions, nothing kills a good interpersonal connection like completely forgetting their name. Don’t worry, we’ve all got a lot going on, and it’s not like the last twenty months have been a breeze, socially speaking (or in any other sense, really).

Luckily, we at BwikiHow are here to get you where you need to go! That is if where you need to go involves deflecting, misdirecting, confounding, bamboozling, circumventing, evading, sidestepping, vaulting, backflipping, front flipping, cartwheeling, gaslighting, gatekeeping, and girl-bossing your way out of an awkward conversation with someone whose name you don’t remember.

Let’s face it, standing there and snapping your fingers and saying “uhhhh…” is really played out, so here are a few alternatives to keep in mind!

  • Ask them to translate their name into Norwegian, then quickly become fluent in the Norwegian alphabet to figure out what their name is.
  • Explain that you forgot their name because you suffered a heroic head injury while single-handedly preventing a sabotaged train car from flying off the train tracks, a la Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 2 (2004).
  • Ask them if their name is engraved on Butler Library; if the answer is ‘no’, that rules out about 10 names, which is a start!
  • Think of a random name and gaslight them into thinking it’s their real name.
  • Ask for their 23andme or Ancestry.com results, then track down their closest family members to find out their personal information.
  • Ask for their Instagram handle; better yet, ask for their Snapchat username, and try to guess their real name based off whatever mildly embarrassing username they gave themselves when they created the account in 2015.
  • Ask for their phone number, then use *67 to call them and ask about their car’s extended warranty until they give you their personal information.
  • Address them exclusively as ‘sport,’ ‘comrade,’ ‘viceroy,’ ‘guv’nah,’ ‘surgeon general,’ ‘grand admiral,’ ‘knight of the round table,’ ‘JJ Abrams,’ ‘Coach Belichick,’ or ‘Chief Justice Roberts,’ and hope they don’t notice that it’s out of the ordinary.
  • Ask them if they’ve ever published a scientific paper! If they say yes, you know you can automatically find their name on the Internet.
  • Take the L and just ask them what their name is—it’s actually way less awkward than any of the above options (except for referring to them as ‘guv’nah,’ of course).

Now, go out into the world, and take with you these words of wisdom. Do not take them lightly, for one day they may be your salvation. May your future interactions be rid of memory-related awkwardness!

But seriously, just ask them their name.

Image via Jake Torres of Bwog