Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

what to say in English when you have met someone before

Have you ever run into somebody that looked familiar to you?

Did you ever realize in the middle of conversation that you did in fact know them?

Is there a way to get out of this situation and say the right thing in English?

This happens often and there are some phrases that can make things less awkward.

We’re going to look at what you can say and how you can make these situations a bit more comfortable.


It’s All In How You Handle It

Is it ever awkward when you don’t realize you actually know someone after talking for a while?

How did you feel in this situation?

This happens to all of us at some point in time, but it’s all in how you handle it.

You just might find that having the right words to say makes you both feel better.

You want to be gracious and honest in your admission, and then move on with your conversation.


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The Perfect Phrases For This Situation

You recognize that it’s all in how you handle it, often with a smile and eye contact.

You also want the right thing to say to ease any awkward feelings so you can both move forward.

Here are some phrases you can say in this situation to make it better for both of you. 

  • I knew you looked familiar/You seemed familiar: You are recognizing the familiarity and therefore clearing the air. You can then move forward with this admission with ease.
    • “I knew you looked familiar, I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you at first!”
  • I had a feeling: You thought there was something you recognized about them or that you had met at another time. Now you are putting that out there so that you can move forward.
    • “I had a feeling that I knew you–I remember you from class years ago. Great to see you again!”
  • I had a suspicion: Something about this person seemed familiar and you thought that you knew them, but you weren’t quite sure.
    • “Something about you seemed so familiar to me–I had a suspicion that we were at the same business conference. I wish I would have said something sooner!”
  • I knew I recognized you! This is something you might say in a situation where you went in knowing that they were familiar to you. It may be a good thing to say earlier on because you knew there was a connection but you just weren’t sure what it was. 
    • “I saw you from across the room and I knew that I recognized you! I couldn’t remember where we had met, but now I do and it’s so great to see you.”


You would typically choose one of these phrases to say in such a situation.

Any of them can help to show the connection and ensure that you can move on in a more comfortable way.



Don’t be embarrassed if you find yourself  in this situation.

If you have been talking for a while, there’s a chance this person also didn’t recognize you.

It’s all in how you handle it and now you have the perfect phrases to use as well.

Knowing how to handle such situations is an important part of making connections.


If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can. 

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