The other day I had a conversation and shoved my foot so far in my mouth I’m still trying to remove it. You know those moments where you say something, and then immediately you know that it was the wrong thing to say and can’t fix it. When that happens to me I agonize and stress and think about sending long and apologetic emails which would only make me seem crazier than I feel. So in this case I did nothing, I’m just going to turn it into a blog post.
A few months ago hello giggles had a great post about names. The poster talked about how she never thinks people will remember her name so she finds creative ways to slip it into conversations. I feel kind of the same way. Especially because my name seems to be next to impossible to pronounce. Its Lah-ra, like Tomb Raider. Like pretend you’re British and then say my name the way it is spelled. For a long time I went by La-ra like a in “ate.” That was easier for people to say, but ultimately not what my South African parents named me. I’ve come to terms with the fact that people can’t say my name, I’m not so quick to correct them anymore. I tell the people at Starbucks my name is Laura (which it is DECIDEDLY not! I will correct you if you call me Laura), and I always kind of assume that no one is going to get it/going to care/going to know my name at all.
Which leads me to the gigantic open-mouth-insert-foot moment. I was walking with my Zumba teacher and she was saying how she always feels bad that she doesn’t know everyone’s name that takes her class. I told her I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I didn’t think anyone expected her to know everyone’s name. Then I proceeded to tell her how annoying it was to me that my pilates teacher on Mondays doesn’t know my name. It was a face-palm moment for me because there are a lot of things I didn’t say in this conversation. I didn’t say that it would be impossible for her to learn everyone’s name because people are constantly in and out of the class. Maybe she should know the names of people who never miss a class, but the rando people who come in and out, she’s not responsible for. I also didn’t say that I don’t miss pilates classes and I have introduced myself to the teacher at least three times and there are maybe 6 people in the class on a regular basis. Not to mention that she actually refers to people by name during class, but never me. I didn’t explain the difference to her and so, while I was trying to make her feel better, its possible, if she thought about it as much as I have, I may have made her feel worse.
In my case, with her, I did work pretty hard for her to know my name, at least I felt like I needed to (see: second paragraph). I slipped my own name into a conversation, we exchanged emails, but it wasn’t until I heard her refer to me by name in class to someone else after we had even been out for coffee that I was sure that she even knew it. But that doesn’t have anything to do with her necessarily, that has to do with me and my insecurity.
So to summarize: I expect my pilates teacher to know my name, but I wouldn’t expect my Zumba teacher to know my name unless I forced her to. I’m honestly not sure if any of this makes sense. Maybe, because I’m becoming friends with my Zumba teacher I see her as more of a person and less distant so I’m willing to cut her some slack. The bottom line is, I can’t figure out what the expectation is when it comes to learning someone’s name. Not to mention the fact that, once you reach a certain point, how do you ask or tell someone your name who should already know it.
Any opinions out there? Do you assume people do or do not know your name? How do you tell them what it is without embarrassing them or you?
Should I still be stressing about this 5 minute conversation that took place almost a week ago?