What's in a Name?

Irmas Kalniņa

Hello, my name is Irma, I’m pleased to meet you...?

I’m sorry, I didn’t hear your name...?

This is quite an awkward moment and leaves me hanging in mid-air with one thought—should I get up my nerve and ask and what's your name? Or more sneakily, I’m sorry, I didn’t hear your name...?

First, let’s start with the impression this leaves in those critical first few seconds of meeting someone. Having a positive attitude means being welcoming of another person’s efforts, because let’s face it—for some of us, walking up to a complete stranger, saying hello, and introducing ourselves is just not easy. We might be feeling shy and reserved; or feel reluctant, having language barriers or other cultural standards. Or maybe we just woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

Let’s get back to that uncomfortable moment and what goes through my head. First I think—oh, they must think I know them because everyone else does and they are

  1. famous and well-kown; or
  2. feeling inadequate saying their name because everyone else knows who they are—why else would they stand mute?
    Quick digression: a friend recently told me about an extremely embarrassing moment at a casual event. He shook hands with a Latvian man, then introduced himself and asked, And your name, please? The gentleman replied with a smile, It’s Raimonds Vejonis, the newly-elected president of Latvia. My friend (not from Latvia but lives here) wanted to crawl under a rock and disappear. Luckily, Mr. Vejonis just laughed and took it in stride. But my friend was mortified that he had not recognized the President of Latvia. Ekkk!

The solution?

How can you help if you're the host or hostess of a social event?

In one particular situation, a couple might be invited to your party and be the new faces in a very closely-knit group. Should you see this and go into action introducing them and telling the other guests a little about them? Absolutely! Friends, meet Paul and Linda. Linda and I take yoga classes together twice a week. Paul is her husband, and they just bought a summerplace here. An introduction alone might suffice, but it helps a great deal to establish some common ground among your guests. Why are they there? What do they do? How do you know them? This gives your existing group fodder for discussion with the new guests.

We begin 2016 with fresh inspiration and a challenging new goal: to write Latvia’s first blog about etiquette! My goal is to write this blog in an informal way, with humour and examples from real life situations. I wish to share my experiences, observations, and opinions not only in these blog articles but also in my Facebook postings. Most of all, I want to help those who want to help themselves in getting the most out of their daily relationships with friends, family, colleagues, and clients.
Learn more at Irma Kalnina Consulting!

Blog entries