It can be upsetting or embarrassing when someone asks who is this from a text, email, or phone call.
Try to not take it personally, some people are terrible about remembering faces or they have a great deal going on at the moment.
If you get a request of who this is, give them enough clarification that the light bulb goes on! Tell how exactly you know each other or through which mutual acquaintances the connection came about.
Strive to Identify Yourself from the Start
Get in the habit of identifying yourself when possible. If it is professional contact, try to include letterhead or other information with your business details on it.
That should be enough to jog their memory.
Think about what they will know you the most from. You don’t want them to reply that they still don’t know who you are.
What to Say:
“This is Ken from (insert business name) and we spoke briefly on Friday at the seminar. I am calling to follow up so we can schedule a time to talk about possible projects together. Can you give me a call back at your earliest convenience?”
“Hi, you don’t know me but we have a mutual friend in common, Karen Smith. I am putting together a surprise party for her and your information was given to me as someone to invite. Kindly review the attached information and let me know if you can make it!”
“My name is Mark and you signed your son up for recreational football. I will be one of the coaches. We are having an informational meeting at 4:30 pm on Monday at the grassy area behind the school. I look forward to meeting you and your son.”
“My name is Michelle, I work for Ken Stuart. He asked me to contact you to schedule a working lunch meeting. Would Tuesday at 12:30 work for you?”
“I am putting together a clothing drive at the school for winter jackets, hats, and scarves. I was told you are in charge of the PTA and I was wondering if I can speak at your next meeting to get the word out there. My name is Claire and my number is (insert here).”
How Do They Know You?
When someone says who is this, share how they know you.
They may have gotten a new phone and lost their contacts. They may not remember immediately who you are and need you to share some details with them.
Don’t expect them to be able to connect the dots, help them out.
What to Say:
“Silly girl, this is your best friend since grade school! Did you lose my number or did something happen?”
“We met at the park, our kids hit it off well and we exchanged numbers for a possible play date next week.”
“We were at the same booth for the school fundraiser and I got your number. Sorry, I should have identified myself in that message.”
“I work with your husband; we are trying to plan a surprise at the office for him and wanted to include you.”
“My sister has worked with you for years, I met you at a work function with her recently.”
What Is the Connection If They Don’t Know You?
Always give them more information than they need to make the connection. What would stand out about the interaction to help them remember you?
The more you share the faster that ah-ha moment will come to them!
What to Say:
“We had a good laugh at the airport waiting for our husbands to scramble to get all our luggage off that fast-moving carousel.”
“We met at the fashion show. I felt out of place in my outfit and you told me how much you loved my shoes and unique look. It sure made me feel confident to be there after that!”
“You were so helpful with my cranky baby at the parent’s night. I was ready to leave so I wouldn’t interrupt anyone. I was thankful you stepped in and gave me a hand.”
“We were both in a rush but doing what we could to help with the bake sale for charity. I loved your brownies and you were kind enough to share the recipe.”
“We met at a social hour for work last week and exchanged information. I was wearing the blue dress that you complimented.”
Put an Introduction into the Message from the Start
Don’t leave anything up to chance, put an introduction in the message from the start.
This will offset anyone feeling uncomfortable asking who this is.
What to Say:
“I enjoyed visiting with you at the coffee shop. You have great ideas and a wonderful laugh. I wanted to ask if you would like to meet up for coffee soon.”
“I was impressed with your ideas at the school board meeting. I also want to see those types of changes in place. I thought maybe we could collaborate on some options.”
“You were so informative when you spoke at the office, and I talked to you a bit afterward. You assured me it was fine to text you any questions I had.”
“I feel a bit forward asking, but it was so comfortable hanging with you and your family recently. I would like to invite you all over for dinner next week.”
“You are a breath of fresh air; I haven’t met anyone with an outlook on life like you. I was so thrilled when you gave me your contact information at the fair.”
Let Them Know It Is No Big Deal
When someone asks who is this, let them know it isn’t a big deal. You don’t want them to feel foolish that they had to ask!
What to Say:
“I have to ask sometimes too when I get messages, I am glad we got it all squared away.”
“I should have put my name and some other details in that message, lesson learned on my end.”
“It is no big deal; I am just glad we got a chance to connect again.”
Sophie Hammond is a journalist, psychologist, and freelance speechwriter for people in politics and business. She lives on the edge of the Rocky Mountains with her dog and a lifetime supply of books. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering through nature or journaling at a coffee shop.