The Lost Arts – Introductions

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Shawn MacKenzie: This whole idea has me thinking – I wonder, aside from the generational or regional differences, if the modern cyber world in which we live doesn’t foster distance. We use e-monikers, avatars, and digital personae, which may or may not be based in truth. To actually meet someone face-to-face takes one into a whole new – very real – world. You can no longer hide behind aliases and cyberian anonymity.

*   *   *

I remember…years and years ago…how, when people walked into the same room, or happened upon each other on a city street, or bumped into each other at the drug store, introductions ensued.

“Oh, hi, John. May I introduce my mother, Lois Sanderson? Mom, this is John Smith, my friend at school.” They shake hands. Chit chat a bit. Ask and answer a few questions.

Many times in the last few years, I’ve been the stranger in the room. I walk in. No introductions. Another person walks in, no introductions. A couple walks in, no introductions.

I have been in situations where I have to introduce myself. I’m not shy, so I say things like “Hi, I’m _________’s _______. Who are you?” Or “Hey, you must be ________, I’m ______.”

If you have an encounter (same room, city street, drug store) and you think, perhaps the person you are with and the person you ran into might not know each other, you should extend an introduction.

It’s not complicated. Though I do remember from Emily Post that you should “present” the older person first. Hence, I would present my mother to the younger pal o’ mine we ran into.

But even if you don’t follow Emily Post (and who does any more), you should at least say something that resembles an introduction.

A few comments about introductions, from friends…

Shawn MacKenzie: Hmmm. We are a curious species. I remember when I came to Vermont people greeted/introduced each other differently than in MN – always a handshake but often only first names. It would be sad if it’s another sign of declining civility.

Jessica Messinger: Perhaps making introductions is a lost art, or feels too formal for today’s society. I try to introduce people, but sometimes I forget names (even if I’ve known them since I was little!) and then it’s kind of awkward to make introductions,

Nancy Winden Gooch: Forgetting names is often my excuse. Embarrassing! I still think about those “rules” when I introduce people, although I don’t always get it right.

Esther Hastings Miller: This has bothered me, too. I remember practicing in grade school how to introduce people…older people first, women before men, etc. Maybe that’s overkill now, but I still appreciate being introduced when two people meet who know each other and I don’t know the third party. I usually try to do the same.

Ilil Arbel: It is one symptom of a strange decline in general manners, but I realize that perhaps that is how my parents felt as my generation grew up. Customs change. I don’t like the current manners, but I feel I must adjust.

*   *   *   

I don’t like adjusting to things that I feel are rude, or at least not very nice. You stand with a friend…another person walks up…how hard is it to say, “Hey, do you know so-n-so?” Not hard at all.

 

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4 Comments

Filed under Personal Articles, Uncategorized

4 responses to “The Lost Arts – Introductions

  1. I’m “old-school.” I always introduce my friends to other people whom (who?) I’m with. It would seem strange – as you say, rude not to. But yes, I have been in rooms with younger generations and they don’t even think of introducing me to the others or vice versa. The best word I can think of right now is that it is very disenfranchising. It makes me feel that I don’t belong, or that I don’t matter. May we teach others perhaps how important introductions are by doing it ourselves in each group situation. Great post, Karen!

    • karenrsanderson

      The “don’t matter” thing resonates with me – I sometimes feel that way in these situations. And people should not have to feel that way. Thanks, Pamela.

  2. In our family, we still introduce people, even the younger generation does it. I haven’t really noticed this isn’t being done anymore. I have no problem introducing myself either.I taught people how to introduce themselves when networking while job searching. It is very important for us to maintain this custom.

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