Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

College Student Mourns Ex Who Died by Suicide

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am horrible with names, and I rarely remember what people are called even when I have known them for some time. I know this is nothing to be proud of, and I’m not. It’s just true.

The most uncomfortable thing happened the other day. I was at an event, and a guy who lives in my building was there. He came up to say hello, and I greeted him. I was talking with a group of other people, but I couldn’t remember his name, so I did not introduce him. There was an awkward moment, and he just walked away. What could I have done differently? -- Forgetful

DEAR FORGETFUL: Rather than snubbing your neighbor, you could have introduced him to the group by saying that he is your neighbor and inviting them to introduce themselves to each other. Yes, that could be slightly awkward, but it would also be inclusive.

In some instances, you may have to admit that you don’t remember someone’s name in order to complete an introduction. In such cases, just be transparent. Apologize for not remembering the person’s name, ask what it is and make the introduction.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)