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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How to introduce people

Want to hear a fascinating little etiquette tip? When you're introducing someone, you should always say their name first and their relationship to you second.

Wrong: "This is my sister, Lucy."
Right: "This is Lucy, my sister."

That way, you spotlight the person--not their connection to you. It's a small thing, but it makes a lovely difference! I just learned this, and I'm doing it from now on.

What do you think? Great? Random? Who cares? xo

(Photo by the Sartorialist)

169 comments:

sherri lynn said...

I love etiquette tips! I'm going to do this from now on. Thanks for sharing!

Sweet Pea (formerly Alice) said...

Cool! Interesting... I hardly pay attention but it's a good tip!

Just a Silhouette

Sara B said...

Love it! That makes a lot of sense and I will try and remember to do that from now on. Thanks!

Jenna Lee said...

I think it flows better. Saying someones name first makes the introduction go easily. Otherwise I feel like you wane to wait to shake their hand until you hear their name. Good tip!

Sarah Bradley said...

Great tip! I love this!

Joanna Goddard said...

jenna lee, you're right...you're like, ok, i'm dangling here :)

TheLocativeCase said...

Joanna--

I think that's a wonderful tip, especially for new couples! We all know that moment when you're first dating someone (and you really like them!!!) and you bump into someone on the street and you think "oh no! what do I call him?!" or "what will he call me?!" I used to just say the dude's name with no title or connection, but I think this is a better way to handle it!

Dionne said...

Never thought of that before, but it makes sense.

When I saw this post title on my news feed, i thought you would be giving pointers ala Bridget Jones' Diary, introductions "with interesting tidbits", lol.

SarahAnn said...

Oh I love etiquette tips! This is a GOOD one! The little things really do count!

JeNifer said...

Random AND interesting! :) I never knew this before. It sounds so much better and makes more sense. You bet I am going to try to remember to do it. Thanks for the tip!

Manolos to Asolos said...

Lovely tip, easy to remember! Thanks!

: )

Tiffany @ Savor Home said...

Great tip! I would then say, "Hi Lucy, nice to meet you," as opposed to just, "Nice to meet you." Saying their name back helps me remember it!

Keri @ Blue-Eyed Runner said...

Thank you!!! I never knew that!

Joanna Goddard said...

tiffany, good tip. and Dionne, maybe next time, haha! :)

amber, theambershow said...

I normally love stuff like this, but this is one that made me say "Who cares?!"

Saying "sister" and "Lucy" in one sentence means those words are happening within a second or two of each other. I don't think either gets to be highlighted. Still, I'm glad I know there's a proper way to do it!

What order are you supposed to introduce people in, though? I know there's a rule for that, too, but I can't remember. To me, this is more important to be mindful of.

Anonymous said...

i love little tips like these. I will definitely use it. Usually, I say the connection first. I really love learning etiquette.

Anonymous said...

Great!

wildchild said...

ooh, i never even thought of that. good to know

Jennifer said...

Plus, grammatically, it signifies that you're addressing Lucy rather than introducing her to someone. I'm an English nerd.

Magda said...

That is actually a great tip. And I agree with Tiffany. Saying the other person's name is always a sign of respect and thoughtfulness. Thanks Joanna!

hedonista said...

Great!

Lisa Maria said...

I love little things like that! Last summer a friend told me she learned growing up in the South that it's polite to always say "you're welcome" after someone says thank you. Now that I'm more conscious of this, I always say it rather than shrugging off a compliment. I'll definitely be thinking about my introductions now, as well!

Caitlin said...

Interesting! I didn't know that, but will definitely remember it for next time.

naomi: said...

great tip! introductions are very important (in my opinion) - good to know!

quintessence said...

Definitely great. And that's what's also so great about almost all etiquette - there is a good (usually kind and considerate) reason behind it - it's rarely ever random!!

Mary said...

Also, you should introduce the "lesser" or younger person to the person with the higher posistion or the older person.

Example:

"Ted (boss), this is Roy, my assistance".

or "Grandma, this is Tiffany, my babysitter".

Joanna Goddard said...

amber: you introduce the person who is less "important" (ex. your brother) to the person who is more "important" (ex. your boss).

so you would say, "Mr. Jones, this is Nick, my brother."

i can really geek out on all this stuff, i love it! :)

Joanna Goddard said...

yes, mary!! haha, jinx.

making50fabulous said...

I think I usually just tell people the other person's relationship to me and skip their name completely. So that's wrong? ha ha

Joanna Goddard said...

Lisa Maria, that's a great one! i usually say, "of course," or "no problem," after someone says thank you, but now i'm going to be a southern lady and say, "you're welcome." :) thanks for the tip!

Corrie Anne said...

That's really sweet. I'd never thought of it before, but I like it! :)

C. Tvillingmamma said...

I agree! Goof reminder,thank you!

Micaela said...

Very interesting! I like it a lot. I think I'll even start doing that with my baby - his name always comes up late in the conversation!

nickandnoragettingmarried said...

Good advice! But I think in the moment I always say it wrong or forget to do introductions entirely or say something like, "Bill, this is Janna. Janna, this is Bill. Bill works with me. Janna and I like potatoes." And everyone is confused.

Sage Crown Parker said...

i love it and will do it from now on too! i'm a wedding photographer so this information is so very very important to me and i find that almost no one offers up the relationship to a person when introducing them, so strange! so i'm always asking how they know the bride and groom. i hope everyone reads this that is attending a wedding :) lol

i also wish that i could be your intern. good luck with the hunt.

HiLLjO™ said...

good idea! this will help me to introduce people to Shawn, my husband ;o)

Lara Kasabian said...

Love tips like this! Thank you :)

sarah nadine said...

great. random. i care :)


xo

sarah nadine said...

p.s. if you were to consider an "editorial intern in canada" ... i'd be all over it!

JoL- Amazon freak-a-zoid said...

def a good thing to know; I'll do my best to keep it in my noggin (and most likely will - hubs & I are the BEST at randomness)

PS - RE: intern - I don't think I've ever wanted to live in NY so bad......

Lotta said...

Etiquette is so nice! Funny you don't use "you're welcome" as a response 'cause people who study English as second language most probably will learn that! :D I don't know maybe it's more British??

jeanette from everton terrace said...

I adore that you shared this. I would love to get back to a world of proper manners :) The hair on that cute girl in the photo is what I long for. Mine is a little too short at the moment but think I'll grow it into that :)

thinkpriddy said...

GREAT!

Mariel said...

So interesting! Will definitely be trying that from now on! x.

K said...

Name first makes it stick better, too. If I hear the relationship first, it's all I can remember, then I forget the name!

Ana Magdalena said...

great tip, such a small tip & it can make a great difference.

rosepetalsandlace said...

I think it is sweet and kind. I never thought about the order it is said it but when you do think about it saying the relation first focuses on you.

I really like it.

Maggie said...

Such a great tip! I also try to include something interesting about how we know each other, or their job, or a common interest because I HATE when I get introduced and I'm all "Hey nice to meet you! .... (awkward face)" Much easier to jump off of something like, "This is Megan, my friend. She just got back from Ireland!"

Bronwyn said...

Wow, this is such a good idea! And quite polite...
I'll definitely do that!

windeater.blogspot.com

annie markantonatou said...

i didnt know this! so it's good for the person we have the connection?

http://anmarkdesign.blogspot.com/

littlewinterbride said...

Love this! I need to start doing this. But one question regarding introductions, what do you do when your in the middle of introducing people and you go blank on one persons name? This has happened to me more then once. What would be the most graceful way in that situation?

Aya said...

Oh I love etiquette! This tip is subtle but all those subtle things add up and make a difference.

Re: Internship...if only I lived in New York.

Catherine Masi said...

Great and thoughtful tip.

Espen said...

I didn't even know it mattered. This is such great advice!

Karin said...

Like my dad always says...6 in one hand and a half dozen in the other. I don't sweat stuff like that...just be casual and yourself with people, the wording shouldn't really matter. :)

Wendy said...

I think its a great tip ~ introduce the person instead of their "role" first!

Diana Mieczan said...

It totally makes sense. I love this tip! Thanks, Joanna:)

Joanna said...

I totally care. Keep them coming!

nicole said...

love this tip!

jociegal said...

I love this tip! Thank you!! It's always nice to know the correct way to do something.

Angie said...

I love that tip!

I am terrible (really terrible) with names so when I introduce someone I try to use their name again a couple of times in the first few minutes in case the person I'm talking to is as forgetful as me!

mina said...

I read this book in high school called 'The Fabulous Girl's Guide to Decorum'. As the title might suggest, it's a bit silly but I enjoyed the light read and it is filled with tips like this. I think you might like it. :)

Bethany said...

Interesting. I bet it helps people to remember the name of the person they've been introduced to as well.

Jana Miller said...

Yes...think I read that in a book called how to talk to anyone. I'm till working on that one.
xo jana

Sarah Baucom said...

Good etiquette is always in style! Thanks for the reminder!! I own the Kate Spade Style/Manners books and I love them, they are filled with beautiful images and quips like the one you mentioned!

marjibeth said...

Great! I've been introducing for years and years, and I still spaz my way through introductions. This is wonderful advice, and I will definitely remember that ... thank you.

should I work for free? said...

hi
looking for an editorial intern
I highly recommend:
http://shouldiworkforfree.com/
xx

s a m said...

This etiquette tip is great Jo. A daily dose of Emily Post!

KristiMcMurry said...

I never would have thought of that! how interesting. I hope I remember that next time I'm introducing someone.

Tigercub said...

As a NY'er in DC, I noticed that after the introduction, ppl tend to respond "Nice to see you" instead of "Nice to meet you." I learned this is the Southern way to avoid saying "nice to meet you" to someone you may have already met but forgot. I can't figure out if this is more polite, or actually less!

elizabeth said...

Great!

Accidental Euphoria said...

I love it! I learned the same idea in graduate school when discussing students and it makes so much sense to translate that everywhere.

nicole said...

Great tip!

I am bad at remembering people's names. I have a go-to trick when I have forgotten someone's name and am attempting to introduce them, to say, my husband: I'll start by saying, "This is Jim, my husband..." and the OTHER person, whose name I've forgotten, will typically offer their hand AND their name! Whew. (Crisis averted.)

Does anybody else do this? ha. xo.

anna p. said...

i thought i was doing it wrong all along, but i wasn't! ;) thanks for this great tip!

hello. said...

i love good manners :) i have a friend who always shares something positive + interesting about each person whenever she does an introduction which i think is neat also.

Alexandria said...

I love it :) I think manners are highly underrated. Let's bring it back!

Rebekkah said...

I'm in school working on my Masters in Social Work and one of the things they really stress is using people first language...just like this! I think it's a great tip and puts the importance on the individual and not you :)

Leah said...

I was always taught when introducing people, you should also include information about them.

This is Lucy, my sister, she is a chef.
This is John, my co-worker, he is an avid snowboarder.

It helps when the people you are introducing have something in common!

Jessica said...

Love this! It's the little things that can make the biggest difference!

xoblissxo said...

And to think I've been doing this wrong ALLL along. GREAT! thanks for the tip, and I'll be sure to keep this in mind during my next introduction!

tc said...

oh i love this! i'm a forgetful person and so i've also learned that you're supposed to say a person's name 3X in the first conversation with them. that way you don't forget their name, and in hearing their name, they'll believe you care about them. little tricks...

Kristina said...

Like Rebekkah, I work in a field (special education) that stresses "people first" language. I always try to say "I work with children who have autism," and try to avoid using the phrase "autistic children." Doing so takes a little bit more time and effort, but I think it's well worth it. The value of a person as their own unique individual is more important than their profession, connection to you, or diagnosis.

Laura Marie said...

Really, really love this--it's totally one of those tiny things that makes all the difference... thanks for sharing! :)

DINAH CLAIRE said...

Oh, I don't know, I don't see the harm in highlighting the persons personal connection with you first. "This is my father, Tom Humphrey"... "my best friend, Lane"... It seems to me to subtly imply how proud you are of that connection! Though, I can see how this etiquette works with less personal contacts, "This is Leo Spaceman, my proctologist." Yes, that seems much better.

Samantha said...

What do you guys do when you're introducing someone and blank on their name? Is there a way to gracefully recover from that?

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

I really hate it when people aren't introduced with their first AND last names.

Samantha, my husband does this all the time! He has a little look/signal he gives me so I can introduce myself. When it happens to me, I wait for the person to introduce themself, and then I say something like, "Oh my, I'm so sorry! I was so engrossed in our conversation that I didn't even think to introduce you!" Or, if it is with a group who somewhat know each other, I say, "Oh, I'm so sorry, I thought you two had met before!"

Katherine said...

Great tip! Definitely sounds better saying the name first. Thanks for sharing!

thistle handmade

hautepinkpretty said...

that never even occured to me! Love the tip :) Thanks for sharing <3

alex said...

Woa, this is pretty interesting! I did not know this, and I think it does make a big difference! I'll start introducing people by their names first from now on!:)

victoria / cats dreaming in keylime said...

Great tip EXCEPT if you've forgotton the person's name. I always do the opposite b/c it buys me time. **sheepish grin**

Emily G. said...

I never noticed, but it's so true! I'm definitely doing this from now on. (:

halinje said...

hi everybody........
it is I,Iva;))))
great post
+ one of my favourite blog


http://halinje.blogspot.com/

East Coast-er Momma said...

Perfect!

Erin said...

Love it! I guess it's usually about me, "This is My sister...This is My child...etc." It's important to focus on the individual more than myself! I'm also cracking up. As a southerner who moved to NY, I had no clue why people didn't say "you're welcome" after a "thank you," but now I know they just didn't Know! The small cultural differences are interesting, as are the etiquette tips!

Collections said...

Great :)

Fashionable Collections

rachelinaustin said...

That's great! Thanks for sharing! I'll try to be more careful when I'm introducing someone. :)

Stu said...

I think I shall be borrowing this tip!

Melissa Blake said...

I was just about to add what Kristina said about introducing people with disabilities. Being physically disabled, I've always been conscious of using people first language, saying a person with a disability instead of a physically disabled person.

Great tip!

benson said...

...and if you see someone who you haven't seen for years; it's always nice to say "hello Joanna! Wow,it's so good to see you!" You've given them YOUR name just in case they are clueless as to who you might be :)Most of the time people may say "of course I remember who you are" but I often wonder if I've just given them a free ticket on the memory express.

benson said...

hmmm...that didn't print out the way I wanted:
"hello Joanna!.(insert your name here). Wow,it's so good to see you!"

kaela d. said...

great tip:)

Kristen said...

you wouldn't think, but after reading this, i totally understand. it's people first language. great post, and i'll be more conscious about it as well.

later daysss,
Kristen

Anneliese said...

great! i'm always up for improving my etiquette

CuriousMunchkin said...

I actually learned about this when I was 15! The homeschool group I go to had a class called "The Teen's Guide to Life" or something like that. We learned to do sooo many things like couponing, laundry(& ironing) cooking, home repair, etc. & etc.! It was awesome because everything was completely hands on. It was fun! :] Thanks for sharing this post, it brings back memories. :D

Jw said...

ooOooO, great tip! I would never have thought of that. I'm excited to show off my new etiquette next time I'm introducing someone.

Sarah O'Brien said...

I love this.

sofi moukidou said...

amazing outfit!

Gracie said...

I'll try this!

Ainsley said...

i think its great! i've never thought about it but it makes perfect sense. i even put myself in the situation, "this is my girlfriend, ainsley" and i didn't like it as much as thinking of the introduction as " this is ainsley, my girlfriend"

thanks for sharing!

urbanrhetoric said...

i love this, especially b/c (as others have noted) this will probably help me remember people's names better.

Taylor said...

I love learning new etiquette tips. It's all so fascinating and I'm sure I fail miserably at it. Introducing people is always kind of awkward. I'm usually the one standing there when my friends don't introduce me and then I have to interrupt the conversation and be like hey this is me! HI!

Sarah said...

I love etiquette tips and I really do think this one makes a difference!

Annalise said...

How wonderful - a great tip and one that I will definitely put to good use. Thanks!

Reyna @fashionmist♥ said...

Thank you for this tip! Would love to learn more! xx

jennaforjethro said...

I think it's much sweeter and personal saying it that way, i wont forget that one x

The Remarkable Redhead said...

Great tip! Thanks! It's definitely how I would prefer to be introduced.

http://splashofsass.blogspot.com

kelli case anderson said...

i love this thought (:

Carrie said...

I learned that the same time that I learned you're supposed to wear your name tag on the right shoulder so that when you shake hands it's in your line of site.

Who knew all this stuff?!

Kacie @ A Collection of Passions said...

I like to do things properly. Where does the "husband, please introduce yourself to that person because I don't remember their name" etiquette come into play. ;-)

Kacie
http://www.acollectionofpassions.blogspot.com/

Maria Ramona said...

i ADORE little tips like this. thanks Joanna!

Katie said...

I love it, give us more ;) Thanks!

themama23 said...

I love etiquette tips! "This is Joanna, my favorite blogger." ;-)

joannagoddard said...

aw, themama23, so cute of you!! :)

la la Lovely said...

Love this!

Erica @ Acire Adventures said...

interesting, but kind of "who cares?"
i doubt that 90% of people analyze which of the two comes first and what that means. most people forget that person's name the next day anyways, haha.

Kathleen said...

Did you know that you also are supposed to start with introducing the person you're with, then the person you've just happened upon?

And there are also a lot of other complicated introduction rules, like introducing the elder first to the younger, or the someone with a title to the non-titled...I think at that point I stop caring :)

Stephanie said...

I had no idea! So many ppl (incl. me) doing it wrong all the time. I'll have to remember that - highlight the person, not the relationship.

xo,
Stephanie (Big Mario Life)

Lashley said...

I'm totally stuck on the sister example. I have three sisters, so I would really say, "This is my sister Mallory" not, "This is my sister, Mallory" (sentence two would indicate that I only have one sister). Something about changing the order and adding the comma makes it feel inaccurate in the way the second sentence above is (even though it, in fact, does not).

All in all, it obviously makes sense to put the emphasis on the person (and his/her name) rather than their relationship to you. I'm much more likely to remember that someone was your college roommate and not that person's name if the name comes second.

melissa said...

i dig it! I'll do it!

Lindsay @ Delighted Momma said...

I've been doing it wrong all along!! Thanks for the great tip and correct way of doing it

Chaucee said...

nice! I'll keep this in mind for the future. i really like it.

Hazel said...

I have to admit that I had no idea that there was a right or wrong way to do this. I'll remember it though.

Mills (héron + hibou) said...

Love the etiquette tip! I hope you'll keep them coming.

Sydney said...

wow this really makes sense! i will do it from now on x

sydsense

Sarah said...

I realized this when a boyfriend kept introducing me: "This is my girlfriend, Sarah." I totally hated it. That relationship didn't last...go figure! From that moment, I've made it a point to introduce people by their names and not by their labels.

Joanna Goddard said...

yes, erin, i totally agree!! so fascinating. also, in england, if someone compliments your child, car, something like that -- it's rude to say "thank you" because they're not complimenting you. it's like, you didn't design and manufacture the car yourself! :) it's funny, when we first moved to the US, i thought it was so strange that people said "thank you" for compliments that we're aimed directly at them. :) cultural differences are so funny!

Holly said...

So subtle, but what a difference! I'll try to remember this spot-on tip.

Amalia said...

It's such as small detail that makes a great difference; to be remember by who you are and not someone's (label)

Anonymous said...

Rules of etiquette can be infinitely expanding and pedantic, and they're not always about politeness and civility. I'd put this one in that category. It's perfectly acceptable to do it either way.

It is usually more natural to state your relationship first. ("Oh! You must meet my brother, Mark!") And who says there's there's anything wrong with being identified by your relationship to someone? Would you be offended to be introduced as "my favorite cousin, Yournamehere"? Probably not.

I do think it's shocking how many people forgo introductions at all. That's impolite!

*My aunt once told me the rule that when saying or writing the names of a couple, one should use, "Laura and Mike Smith" instead of "Mike and Laura Smith" because the man's names should not be separated. Archaic and specious. (I guess women giving up their names altogether is still not enough!)

-Jennie

Anonymous said...

One more thing...I completely agree that when someone compliments your child or car that it's odd to respond with a "thank you"! I always just agree with them!

-Jennie

conversationpieces said...

Interesting... going to give it a go!

Wendy said...

I think - interesting. It's wild how switching a few words around can alter someones perception (person verses connection).

Cassi said...

I understand and completely agree! I frequently reference my Emily Post, so I appreciate this post. Thanks for sharing! :)

L said...

I didn't know this, but I am pleased that I already introduce people the correct way, whew! Great post.

Tealady said...

Good tip, I also like to use people names when I don't know them well every time I reply to them; "Well Tom, it's interesting you asked" this helps me to always remember their name and also I think it makes the person feel more engaged with you during conversation. I freaking love your blog! I want to visit the US as I'm from the UK and want to see the other side if you like haha. You make me smile and luagh every tim I read your blog.

Kat said...

Great tip! I think it might help in remembering the name too. There is nothing worse that being introduced to someone and then forgetting their name immediately. So embarrassing.

Her name was Lola said...

S'wonderful! Thanks for the tip top tip. xo Lola

Nicky said...

ah, thank you for sharing! i am all about person centered language. my daughter has special needs and i cringe when i read things like "disabled child" "autistic kid" "special needs kiddo" etc etc. i don't know why we do that to people when it comes to special needs. i mean, we don't say a person with cancer is a "cancerous person." you know? instead if it needs to be said, i say, "my child who has special needs." because it is just one part of the amazing little girl that she is, it is not her definition.

Lindsay - Oh La La Mum said...

I love these little tips you share! It totally makes sense to say someone's name followed by his/her relationship but traditionally people do the inverse (myself included). Now I know better :)

me.anna said...

small tip, big effect, Thank you ;-)
kind regards from Germany

Aloysius said...

i wish people did this more often, i say.

http://palecloudedwhite.blogspot.com/

Chessa! said...

I learned something new today! I'd say great AND wonderful.

Rebecca - A Daily Something said...

What a helpful piece of advice...I've ALWAYS announced their relationship first and then their name almost as an afterthought. HOW RUDE!

Linda said...

Great! it's simple but much more thoughtful. Better
late than never in getting it right!! Thank you!

tara nissl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Teachers are taught to do this with children with disabilities.

Wrong: mentally retarded child
Right: child with metal retardation

Neha Kamath said...

i love this post.
its little things like this that make such a difference.

i am not so great with making any kind of conversation the first time i meet someone. i am a little shy and i don't end up speaking loudly enough.
but in reality i am a big chatterbox and people i know well always want me to shut up. its funny.

so when i have to introduce someone i start off at a good volume and then fade out so the last few words of my sentence get eaten up as a result of which names always get lost.

so thanks for the tip joanna :)
ill surely use it the next time im introducing anyone.

french toast said...

This is the 1st time I've ever heard of this, but it makes sense. Thanks for sharing the tips :).

Colleen / Inspired to Share said...

This is so brilliant! You should do more etiquette posts like this, Joanna! xoxo

Liz said...

I love this etiquette tip! This is such a subtle thing to change, but it does make a huge difference!

Louise said...

This is interesting, I've never thought about rephrasing like that! I always get confused when it comes to who you introduce to you!

http://basildevelopment.blogspot.com/

frecklesandfences said...

It's probably a "who cares" with most but I like to hear about funny/neat etiquette tips. It's like getting a note in the mail in a era of email/twitter/text. Thanks for the tip. From now on, they will be "Ken, my husband" and "Jacob, my brother"!

frecklesandfences said...

It's probably a "who cares" with most but I like to hear about funny/neat etiquette tips. It's like getting a note in the mail in a era of email/twitter/text. Thanks for the tip. From now on, they will be "Ken, my husband" and "Jacob, my brother"!

enterrement de vie de garcon Paris said...

Très beau sourire, j'aime beaucoup cette étiquette tip.

Séréna

pixelant said...

Such a great idea! I'm going to try that from now on!
Thanks!

Sacramento carpet cleaners said...

I'm very completely happy that I stumbled throughout this in my search for something regarding this.

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled upon this post from this summer and I think it's great. I hate going to a gathering where introductions are not even made. Terribly uncomfortable and I always make intro's...i just had never thought of this tip...thanks

Jean said...

this is so true! thanks for sharing!

Arianna Moreno said...

definitely putting this in my back pocket!

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