Erin Elise’s Emily Post Post: Introductions

It has been quite some time since I have updated my blog so I figured what better way to update it than by adding a new section?  This new section will be referred to as “Erin Elise’s Emily Post Post”.  It would be easy for me to sit here and say things like, “Kids these days just don’t have manners anymore!” But let’s be honest with ourselves, I think we all know plenty of adults who possess questionable manners as well.  So, since manners are not taught in schools, many adults don’t even know how to teach their kids proper manners, and I don’t expect you to read the 800 and some pages on etiquette from Emily Post, I have decided to share bits and pieces with you through my blog.  I hope that, over time, we will create a more pleasant world full of people who know how to open doors for strangers, reply to an R.S.V.P., and send out a thank-you card in an appropriate time frame. 

The topics in this section will likely follow my frustrations with the world.  So don’t be surprised if many of these posts are related to proper table manners.  I encourage you to comment on my blog with your personal experiences with the topic, your thoughts on if the proposed manner is still current or outdated, and your questions or suggestions for future topics. 

Today we are going to focus on a topic that is near and dear to my heart, introductions.  I am a huge fan of entertaining and I do my best to make sure that all of my guests feel acknowledged and welcomed;  which is why I find it so frustrating when I go to the gathering of another’s and I am not treated with the same regard.  If you are having guests in your home, know that you are mostly responsible for the introductions. 

Emily Post’s section on “Greetings and Introductions” is 20 pages long, which means there are a lot of formalities that would only be used today in the royal palace.  In fact, one whole page discusses how to introduce and address “the help”.  Since no one I know actually has “help”, we will just stick to the basics. 

Let me start by saying that, unless you severely botch an introduction, any introduction is better than no introduction at all.  Introducing someone lets them know that you value their presence and you want them to feel comfortable.  Nothing is worse than standing in a room full of strangers and having NO ONE acknowledge you.  Sure, we’re all grown adults and we can make the introductions on our own, but that can be incredibly uncomfortable and many of us are not that outgoing. 

When should you introduce someone?

Well, according to Post,

“Introductions are required on many, many occasions; and especially when two strangers meet in the company of a mutual friend.  It is inexcusably rude of the one who knows the other two to chat with one and leave the other – unacknowledged and left out – standing by as if they do not exist.” (Post, 1992)

This is the biggest mistake that I see take place in my age group.  I can’t even tell you how many times I have been at a party and I have walked up to two people talking and had that exact situation happen.  Or, they will go on to include me in the conversation and we will talk for the next twenty minutes, but then I will realize that I still have no clue who the other person is and then it just feels awkward to ask.  So, do the courteous thing, when someone new walks up, finish your thought and then promptly introduce them.  Gentlemen, trust me when I say that women will find this to be an attractive an endearing trait. 

While a hostess will generally introduce people when they come to a party, don’t expect her to introduce people that she doesn’t know.  If you have brought a guest with you to an event, it is your responsibility to introduce your guest.  Now, unless your guest is a prized pony, don’t parade them around the room for the sake of introducing them to everyone in attendance.  Do, however, make introductions whenever an introduction is possible.  Again, this is something that I see happen a lot in my age group.  If you are bringing your significant other to a social engagement, know that that person is likely already nervous about meeting all of your friends. Help ease their trepidation by making them feel like a welcomed part of the group. 

How do you introduce someone?

I would be okay if everyone went with the basic, “Erin Elise this is so-and-so, so-and-so this is Erin Elise.”  That would be a huge improvement on its own.  However, why not up the ante? 

Post provides us with three basic rules of introduction:

                1. A man is always introduced to a woman.

                2. A young person is always introduced to an older person.

                3. A less important person is always introduced to a more important person.

                  (Post, 1992)

So how is this done in practice?  Here are some examples:

“Erin Elise, I’d like you to meet Mr. Smith.”

Or, in the reverse:

“Mr. Smith, I’d like to introduce you to Erin Elise.”

You would either start with the woman’s name or start with the man’s name but introduce him to the woman.  In the case of a less important person being introduced to a more important person, this would mostly be done in a professional or official setting.  For example, I wouldn’t try to differentiate which friend in more important to me before I make the introduction. 

If possible, always try to include your relationship to the person whom you are introducing.  Including your relationship let’s both parties know how you know each other and it can aide in them carrying on a conversation with each other if you have to depart.  I like to take it a step further and try to provide information during the introduction that either party might find interesting.  If a friend of mine is a travel journalist and another friend just returned from a trip abroad, I might include that in the introduction.  For example,

“Dave, I’d like you to meet Kelly, she is a travel journalist for XYZ Magazine.  Kelly, Dave just got back from a month long trip backpacking across Europe.”

Again, I have set the scene for them to find something to talk about so that I may go on to greet other guests, fill the punch bowl, or sneak a drink of vodka from the freezer. 

These are some basic guidelines to get you started and to help you become a better host and guest.  As I mentioned above, please feel free to share your comments.  Particularly, I would like to hear about your best or worst introduction ever. 

May tomorrow find you to be a more well-mannered individual. 

 

 

 

Post, E. L. (1992). Emily Post’s Etiquette. New York: HarperCollins.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Aunt Beulah
    Jul 01, 2014 @ 15:01:24

    Such a helpful post. Introductions do ease social situations, except, as you so aptly put it, “unless your guest is a prized pony, don’t parade them around the room for the sake of introducing them to everyone in attendance.” That situation is uncomfortable for everybody, especially the guest.

    Reply

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