The problem: I was at a party with a friend when I saw a high school classmate I was really close to a long time ago. When she headed over to us, I enthusiastically greeted her and introduced her to my friend. The problem is that I called this classmate by the wrong name. After doing it a few times, she gently corrected me. I was embarrassed and so was my friend. This happened a few weeks ago, and, while I quickly apologized, I still feel stupid. Should I send her a note?
Low road: The good news is that you instinctively avoided the low road. That would have been a defensive comeback like, “Oh, right! It’s just that you’ve changed so much.” Ouch.
High road: You’ve obsessed about this for way too long, and she’s likely forgotten about it. Everybody confuses people’s names on occasion (ask my kids about me), and, heck, you hadn’t seen her for years.
But, sure, there’s no harm in sending her a note, as long as you keep it light and self-deprecating. Maybe something like, “Dear Amelia/Jenny/Barb: It was so great to see you and I’m still kicking myself for forgetting your name. I will never forget you, nor how much fun we had in high school. You look great, and I was so happy to hear about the career path you’ve chosen. I do hope to run into you again, soon. I’ll be the one wearing a name tag.”
Send questions about life’s little quandaries to firstname.lastname@example.org.