Last week we learned how important it is to re-introduce yourself when you see someone you know in public. This week, it’s all about the reverse. What the hell do you do when someone comes up to you and doesn’t introduce himself or herself, and you have no idea who the hell they are?
I’d suggest asking them who they are, or how you know each other, but, I did this once and it had a dreadful outcome. Right after I asked, they replied, “We slept together.” I replied, “O. I… Sorry, I… about that, see…” and went on to explain how people who work in show business meet more people in one year than most people meet in their entire lives. This sounds like such a silly excuse to use in real life, but it’s true.
To avoid any kind of sticky situation, my advice is to simply say, “It’s good to see you.” And smile. This sentence works if you know the person AND if you’re just meeting them for the first time. If you’re at an event showcasing your work, like a premiere, or whatever, it’s good to follow that up with, “Thank you for coming” or “Thank you for being here.” Those replies will always work in your favor.
Now, if the other person persists and continues to have a detailed conversation, and you still have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about, you could always change the subject into a topic universally fresh – such as the purpose for the event you’re both attending. Or, if you truly want to avoid the person, pretend to get a phone call and excuse yourself. No cell phone handy? A trip to the loo might take care of that.
Likewise, if you’re in a situation with a person whom you totally remember but can’t stomach talking to—like a stalker or something—the best reaction is to still say, “Good to see you, thank you for coming,” before walking away from them. If they follow you, you can always alert security.
Another great plan of action is to have a pal present who can save the day. A secret sign or gesture, a code word perhaps, could alert your friend to spring into action and drag you away for an important matter that needs addressing immediately.
The bad part about the reverse situation is being taken advantage of. See, I know many people who have very famous friends. I’ve met some of these very famous people, but there are others I haven’t. If I wanted to meet these other very famous people, I could just walk up to them, introducing myself as “We met at so-and-so’s movie, party, or fill-int-the-blank.” And I guarantee you that very famous person won’t actually know whether we did or didn’t.
I don’t think this is a very bright idea, but it could actually work if you know all the right people and are familiar enough to carry on a short conversation long enough to be photographed standing next to them for some stupid Wire Image shot.
Working in show business might have a lot of perks, but sometimes by being in public it opens up a huge can of beets that no one really wants to eat.