Miss(ing) manners?

Karen wrote:

Sean,

I am sick of living here in Iowa because of one thing.  People don’t introduce you when you are encountering new people.  I moved here from Wisconsin almost 9 months ago and started dating a guy a few months after that.  Since then, it’s been a socially awkward mess.

My boyfriend is a relatively social person (he Dj’s at clubs and bars) so we’re always going out, but when we go places, he never introduces me.  We just stand there at talk with people until they either make an awkward introduction and ask my name, or the conversation ends and they leave without ever knowing who I was.

I grew up with my parents teaching me to be polite and introduce people to other people and to make introductions a part of every day life, but here, it seems like everyone is out for themselves.  What’s up with that?

Karen

Karen,

I experienced the same thing while living in Iowa and it was maddening, so I feel for you.  I don’t know if it happens in other states, but it definitely happened 99% of the time in Iowa and it was one thins I hated about the state.  It didn’t matter what city I was in there, people didn’t do the “introduction thing”.  When I confronted a girlfriend about it once, she told me that she “figured I could handle that by myself..”.

Manners change as our culture modernizes, but from a social aspect, introductions should never be missed.  Life is about connections, and if we fail to make those connections with other people (or for our friends, family, etc.,), we are doing our lives a disservice. Think of an introduction as opening a door between two people.  If the introduction is made and nothing ever happens, then it was still nice to open that door for them.  However, if an introduction happens and communication flows back and forth between those people, many good things can happen as a result.  I think of some of my friends and I never would have even met them without being introduced.

My friend Dennis for example, was an outspoken guy who always sat behind me in my Econ class and History of Broadcasting class.  Dennis was smart…TOO smart..and I often felt like he wouldn’t be friendly if I struck up conversation with him.  For some reason, his table mate Ashley introduced us and we became friends.  He and I worked together at the radio station and he is one of Olivia’s godparents.  My another friend of mine was the same way..another friend, Joe, introduced us.  My friend Kris was friends with some twins we both knew in South Dakota.  The twins introduced Kris to my brother and I and we eventually became close friends.

Yes, I could have taken the steps myself, but familiarity adds to the introduction.  Having one person in common helps people feel more comfortable.  If all else fails, the “So, how do you know ___ (person that introduced you two)?” question can always be used and that can spur some further conversation.

How many doors are you leaving closed?

Sean

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