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Chapter OneGreetings And
Q. What are the traditional rules for making introductions ? Are there forms that should be avoided?
A. The overall guideline is that one person is introduced to another. This is achieved either by the actual use of the word "to"-"Mr. Benson, I'd like to introduce you to Mr. Smith" -- or by saying the name of the person to whom the other is being introduced first, without using the preposition "to." An example of this is: "Mrs. Newgaard, may I introduce Mr. Collier." In addition to the overall rule, there are three basic guidelines:
1.In social situations, a man is generally introduced to a woman. "Mrs. Pullman, I'd like you to meet Mr. Havlin." "Janny, this is my cousin, Sid Vaccaro." "Mr. DeRuvo, may I introduce you to my mother, Mrs. Smithson." In business situations, the man-woman combination is replaced by the next guideline about prominence or importance.
2.A less prominent person is always introduced to a more prominent person. This rule can be complicated, since it may be difficult to determine who is more prominent. There is one guideline that may help in some circumstances: Members of your family, even though they may be more prominent, are introduced to the other person as a matter of courtesy."Mr. Connor, I'd like you to meet my stepfather, Governor Bradley""Mrs. Anselmi, this is my aunt, Professor Johnston."
3.A young person is always introduced to an older person."Dr. Josephson, I'd like you to meet my daughter, Lily Peterson.""Aunt Ruth, this is my roommate, Elizabeth Feeney."
The easiest way not to slip up is toalways say the name of the woman, the older person, or the more prominent person first, followed by the phrase, "I'd like you to meet..." or "this is..." or "may I introduce . . ." If you inadvertently say the wrong name first, correct your slip by saying, "Mr. Heath, I'd like to introduce you to Mrs. McGregor."
The following are forms to be avoided:
• Don't introduce people by their first names only. Always include a person's
• When phrasing your introduction, avoid expressing it as a command, such
as, "Mr. Bonner, shake hands with Mr. Heath," or "Mrs. Digby, meet my cousin, Barbara."
• Try to avoid calling only one person "my friend" in an introduction. It can
imply that the other person isn't your friend.
• When introducing yourself, don't begin by saying, "What's your name?" Start by giving your own name: "Hello, I'm Joan Hamburg..."
• Do not repeat "Mr. Jones ... Mt Smith. Mr. Smith... Mr. Jones." To say each
name once is enough.
• Do not refer to your spouse as "Mr. Jansen" or "Mrs. J. " in conversation.
Rather, refer to him or her as "my husband" or "my wife" in situations where first names are not being used.
Q. Are there occasions when first names aren't used? What are they?
A. Yes, there are. When meeting one of the following people, first names may not be used except when they request it:
• A superior in one's business.
• A business client or customer.
• A person of higher rank (a diplomat, a public official, a professor, for example).
• Professional people offering you their services (doctors, lawyers, etc.). In
turn, they should not use your first name unless you request them to.• An older person.
Q. Is it necessary to specify my relationship to someone when introducing family members?
A. No, it is not necessary, but it is helpful to include an identifying phrase. This provides a conversational opening for strangers. Since you courteously give precedence to the other person when introducing a family member, the identifying phrase comes at the end of the introduction: "Mrs. Cottrell, I'd like you to meet my daughter, Deborah."
Q. How do you introduce a live-in partner?
A. Although you usually identify family members as such, you needn't identify boyfriends, girlfriends, or live-in companions with their relationship to you. Saying his or her name is sufficient.
Q. Should children introduce their parents by using first names?
A. It depends on to whom they are making the introduction. One should always use the name that the newly introduced pair will use in talking to each other. If you are introducing your roommate to your father, he would, of course, call your father by the tide "Mr." If you are introducing your roommate's father to your father, you would use your father's full name: "Mr. Davies, may I introduce my father, Franklin Palmer."
Q.How should stepparents be introduced?
A. There is nothing derogatory or objectionable in the terms stepmother or stepfather, and the simplest form of introduction, said in the warmest tone to indicate an affectionate relationship, is: "Mrs. Hibbing, I'd like you to meet my stepfather, Mr. Brown." Even if you call your stepfather by his first name, he should be introduced to your peers or younger persons as "Mr. Brown," not "Jack."
Q. How should ex-family memhers he introduced?
A. If the introduction is very casual and it is not likely that any of the people involved will see each other again, no explanation is necessary. If the new acquaintanceship is likely to continue, it is important to explain the relationship as dearly as possible. A former mother-in-law would say, "I'd like you to meet Mary Dunbar. Mary is John's (or my son's) widow and is now married to Joe Dunbar." Had Mary been divorced, the mother-in-law would say, "Mary was John's wife and is now married to..." Mary's introduction of her former mother-in-law will be, "This is Mrs. Judson, Sarah's grandmother," or "my first husband's mother."Everyday Etiquette. Copyright © by Peggy Post. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.