Even in today’s more causal society, making an introduction is an important tradition and social grace. There is no worse feeling than being in the company of a friend or significant other while they bump into someone they know or while mingling at a party and you are left on the sidelines to introduce yourself. In the case of a date or relationship, the choice for them not to introduce you raises a few questions: Are they unsure where the relationship is headed? Do they not want to share too much information with others too soon into a relationship? OR Do they just lack civility and good manners?
It’s always best to make introductions from the beginning of meeting another person. Depending on age, gender and relationship there are a few aspects that will affect how you do introduce one person to another. Below are some guidelines.
1. Age before Gender: The younger person present is always introduced to the older person present. It shows a level of respect and regard for the eldest person. An example of a man in his 40’s and a woman in her 20’s meeting at a party would go something like this: “Mr. Dawson, I’d like you to meet Maria Smith”. This is not only true because a lady is being introduced to a man, the same holds true if a younger man were to meet an older woman.
2. Ladies First- When introducing two people of similar age, perhaps at a dinner party, within a college class, at a church group, etc., it would then be appropriate to introduce the man to the woman. An example of this would be: “Maria, I’d like you to meet one of my dearest friends, Tom Green.” Immediately afterwards, the man can be addressed with, “Tom, this is my college roommate Maria Smith”.
3. Add Interest & Detail- Don’t become so caught up in formalities that the introduction feels stale. People are naturally curious and always enjoy knowing how the person who is doing the introductions knows the other parties being introduced or how they met. Using Maria and Tom as my examples from above, you could take things a bit further and say: “Maria, I’d love for you to meet one of my dearest friends whom I traveled all around Europe with last year, Tom Green.” Tom, this is my college roommate who just received an internship on wall street.” Likewise, you always want to keep the focus on the person, emphasizing them: “This is Maria, my roommate.” instead of “This is my roommate, Maria”.
4. Tricky Names- Everyone likes to hear their name pronounced correctly, sometimes it takes more than one try for that to happen. When introducing others be sure to say the names as clearly as you can so the other people being introduced will hear the proper pronunciation. If there is another natural moment to repeat the name, feel free to do it if you feel the other person didn’t catch it. You can always ask the person whose name is a challenge for you to say it correctly and to forgive your mispronunciation.
5. Taking Action vs. Doing Nothing-If you find yourself in a situation where you’re truly stumped as to which order to introduce one person to another or the introduction is with someone of high rank,etc., instead of bowing out gracefully because you’re afraid to make the wrong move, do the best you can. Make an introduction in the best way you know how is far better than not making any introduction at all which is considered to be rude.
Have you ever experienced an awkward introduction? What made it so?
Thanks for Reading!