We’ve probably all found ourselves in the following situation: You’re out in public somewhere, and you’re introduced to someone whose name you already know — either through Facebook, or their blog, or their tweets, or their Tumblr, or their website, or your mom’s eHarmony profile.
It’s weird to tell them you know them (virtually), but it’s weird to not tell them, too. What’s the socially conscious woman to do?
- Say something nonspecific, if you’re not exactly sure where you recognize their name from: “I think I’ve seen your name somewhere online.”
- If you know them from their blog or their writing, let them know that you enjoy reading them: “I’ve read your blog and I really enjoy it.”
- If you know them through a mutual friend on Facebook, feel free to say so (and also, possibly, acknowledge briefly that it’s a brave new world out there): “This is a little weird, but I think I’ve seen you on so-and-so’s page…”
- Move on quickly after bringing it up. A quick “I know you” will relieve you of the awkward awareness you likely feel, and switching to a different topic alleviates the other person’s feeling that they need to remember who you are, too, while simultaneously giving the clear impression that you aren’t a stalker, just someone who is very net-savvy (which, of course, you are).
- Immediately launch into a disagreement with them about something they’ve written: “I saw your post about Atheism, and I think you’re going to burn in hell.”
- Get too specific: “You looked great during your Cancun vacation!” Even if you know that information, keep it to yourself.
- Pretend you have no idea who they are. This has the potential to come back and bite you in the ass.
- Expect them to know who you are, too (and don’t take it personally if they don’t — it’s a wide, wide web out there).
- Make it more awkward by talking for five minutes about how awkward it is. Say your acknowledgment and move on.