For example, I had a neighbor who I talked to across our yards on a regular basis. I saw her at the grocery store one day and had no idea who she was. OUCH!!!
Or how about the time when I was working at the counseling center in grad school. A client came in for an appointment. I walked out into the waiting room, smiled and said "are you here waiting for someone". She got a very perplexed look on her face and said "you". BIG OUCH!!!! I was her therapist, but I didn't recognize her face from the week before. Didn't help my credibility.
You would think that someone in the Counseling Psychology department would have recognized my glitch, but maybe it wasn't well known then. I just found out on BlogHer that there is a name for what I have. It is Prosopagnosia also called face blindness.
I have never had a severe case of it, and I seem to have gotten better over the years. Maybe I have learned to compensate. There are some people who don't even recognize their own children. My sister has it. There was one time she didn't recognize her ex husband (that might be a good thing) and another time she didn't recognize our younger sister (not so good). One of my daughters also has a mild form of it.
I have never liked big social gatherings. I thought I was social phobic or just shy, but in reality I always feared I would embarrass myself by not recognizing someone I know. That has happened. Now I know that I can just say, "I'm sorry, I have face blindness" and possibly that will serve as a conversation starter.
So to anyone whose face I didn't recognize in the past, "Please accept my humble apology. I am prosopagnosic."
Oh and about Brad Pitt. He said last year that he believes he is prosopagnosic. He will have a conversation with someone at a party and a few minutes later he has no recognition of their face. (I do that too, Brad) It causes him to stay at home a lot. Maybe Brad and I should get together and discuss our mutual problem. I promise you, Brad, I would never forget your face.
ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES