A case of mistaken identity

This morning while I was walking into my office building, I happened to glance up and make eye contact with a man just in front of me. He was walking into the building as well. He took a cursory look at me, and then looked more intently and said, “Hey, how are you doin’!” At first I wasn’t sure if he was even talking to me, because while he did look familiar (and I’m assuming that simply because we work in the same building), I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to him.

He continued along a script of small, long-time no-see talk. His face was away from me, so for a moment, I wondered whether he was talking into a cell phone ear piece, but no, he was still talking to me. I squeaked out a “good” in response to his question, but was mostly quiet and unresponsive. I followed him the stairs with my head ducked and escaped as quickly as I could into my suite of offices.

Looking back at it, I wish I had just gone along, responded as if I knew him as well, but in the moment, I felt crippled and cowed by equal parts awkwardness (for me) and embarrassment (for him). I realize that’s a little silly, but I couldn’t shake it. I wonder how he felt afterwards and if he ever realized that I wasn’t the person he thought I was.

What do you do when someone mis-takes you for someone else?

0 thoughts on “A case of mistaken identity

  1. EdVS

    smile. be nice. hopefully if he sees you again, he’ll realize he made a mistake (they always do) and if he acknowledges that to you, say you knew that, but you wanted to be nice. never know, you just might have made a new friend. for what that’s worth!

  2. Owen

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if strangers were always so concerned and polite? And wouldn’t it be nice if everyone responded in kind?

  3. howard

    There’s a boss in another department at work who has been calling me “Ray” for years, asking me how I’m doing. I corrected him a few times, but now I just play along. Not sure why.

  4. Aasmodeus

    Agree with EdVS. I play along, because hey, 1) I might have actually forgotten (oops!), or 2) I might actually make a new long-time friend, __you never know__. If they’re that brave and willing to extend themselves, I figure they deserve a little “pay it forward.” Except, paying it backward, instead…


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