Head of Data Services, UK

In the early hours of yesterday morning, the wrong film was declared the winner of the Oscar for Best Picture. Overnight, YouGov Omnibus asked Britons what the most widespread cases of mistaken identity are.

The most common is saying hello to the wrong person on the street. Seven in ten (69%) of us have at some point gone up to someone and started chatting to them before realising they were a complete stranger. Nearing half (46%) have done a similar thing on the phone.

But we are not immune from such mix-ups in the home. Approaching four in ten (37%) Britons have mixed up the names of pets and family members while just under a third of us (31%) have got confused about our children’s names.

 

 

Thankfully, the mix-ups that are arguably the most embarrassing are also the least common. Slightly more than a quarter (27%) have called someone who wasn’t their parent “Mum” or “Dad” – something that can be excruciating when done at school to a teacher.

More personal still, one in five (20%) of us have called a new partner by the name of an old flame. But most embarrassing of all, one in twenty (5%) have said the wrong name during sex (including 8% of men).

So while the Oscars was the most public stage imaginable for getting a name mixed up, our fast turnaround research suggests it is probably not the most embarrassing.

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