When a mutual friend makes an introduction between two strangers, it should mean something. An introduction means that the mutual friend vouches for the integrity of the person to whom you are being introduced. This mutual friend also believes that the two have something in common and will get along. Therefore, use good judgment when making introductions to your family, friends and professional colleagues. There is nothing more upsetting as to find out that the two people you introduced are now at odds with each other and further, are angry with you because of having met the other person in the first place. You can see the responsibility with introductions!
When making introductions, use these pointers as guidelines:
- Do not introduce those who you do not like or respect.
- Do not introduce those who you hardly know.
- Do not introduce those with whom you are trying to end a relationship, whether personal or professional.
But once you have established that two people should meet, introductions can be fun. Here are basic rules to introductions:
When introducing yourself:
- Remember to smile.
- If you are seated, stand to greet the other person.
- Always shake hands. Failure to do so is considered rude. Grip hands firmly, meeting at the crux between the thumb and index finger, then shake twice from the elbow.
- “How do you do? I’m Molly Jones.”
- Then say something about yourself. “I’m Gretchen’s cousin from Chicago.”
- Please note: You should never say, ‘Pleased to meet you,” because you don’t know the person yet. Although “How do you do,” is not a pop greeting, it is the standard and will hold up if your manners are ever scrutinized.
When introducing others:
- The person of lower rank gets introduced to the person of higher rank.
- Children get introduced to adults. – “Mrs. Williams, I’d like to introduce my youngest sister, Kim. Kim is home from college. Kim, this is Mrs. Williams, my piano teacher.”
- Friends get introduced to parents. – “Mom, Dad, I’d like to introduce Jeremy. Jeremy and I are going to research our reports together. Jeremy, this is my mom and dad, Mr. and Mrs. Sanchez.
When you are in a group:
If you are in a group and you’re making many introductions, include a bit of information about each person. This will encourage further conversation amongst the strangers.
Be you young or old, you can always remake yourself. You find this need when you discover how you have grown. A remake can be any change that you want. Do you want a career change, from the corporate to the educational world, a change from living in the city to the suburbs, or vice versa? Do you need to admit that you are never going to get in those size eights and so size 10s are calling you to discover their styles and adventures? Or maybe you want to get into those eights, because you still like them, and they are symbolic of your healthy past. Have you added a leaner diet and everyday exercise to your life? It’s not too late! Start with fifteen minutes a day, a big salad for lunch, and go from there.
These etiquette club members want to know more about appropriate dress, because they were drawn to learning about how they could improve themselves, inside and out, from practicing outward manners to discovering a gracious life, all of it free, if you want it. Find out who you want to be, and then remake yourself.
During this holiday season, plan on experiencing a play, the opera, or the ballet. They add that special holiday flavor to this joyous season. Usually you will find more young children and adults who are not regularly opera patrons in the theaters enjoying the traditional Christmas classics such as “A Christmas Carol” or, “The Nutcracker Suite,” so have extra patience for those who may not be pros at theater-going. It is that special time of the year when we come together as neighbors to give thanks and to celebrate our good fortunes. But whatever play or ballet you plan to attend, make your experience enjoyable from beginning to end. If you are a novice at theater-going, and want to add to the experience of everyone, and not detract, the following are questions people generally have for etiquette opera, along with the answers.
What do I wear?
First, there is no longer a dress code for opera, but fastidious people like to make it a special occasion and dress up. And with that said, no one should go to the theater in jeans. A good rule of thumb for proper dress is, the better the seats, the dressier you might want to be. For a school matinee, a crisp white blouse and blue or black skirt are perfect for students. Adults, for casual wear, think afternoon luncheon wear for the day, and business dress for the evenings. Dressing up for special occasions is part of the fun!
How will I know what’s going on if the opera is not in English?
Most opera houses make it easy! There are super titles in English projected above the stage of most opera performances. That means that if the opera is sung in Italian, you’ll be able to follow the story by reading the lines as it is performed. You don’t have to know anything at all about the opera to follow the drama, moment by moment.
When should I clap?
Opera was designed for applause. Unlike a symphony concert, it’s generally OK to clap when someone has just finished a wonderful aria, which is a song. If you’re in doubt, just follow the lead of others in the audience.
Is there anything else I should know about being in an opera audience?
The rules of common courtesy apply at an opera, as they do at any performance: Never talk, whisper, giggle or laugh during a performance. Turn off your cell phone before the performance. Arrive on time. If the music has started, you may miss the whole first act! Avoid talking from the moment the overture starts until there is clapping; all of the music is important in opera, even when the curtain is down. Cover your mouth when you cough, and if you must use sweets or cough drops, unwrap them before the opera begins and keep the wrappers in your purse, to be discarded later. Above all, enjoy yourself.
When do I leave? Please don’t jump up and push your way through other patrons to beat them to the parking lot while actors are still on stage giving their last bows . Proper opera-goers stay seated until the last curtain falls, then they gracefully make their way out of the theater.
Staying up on current events is a must for interesting conversation at a party. Watch the news and read your local newspapers. Read books. Know what’s on the current bestseller list. Having this in your repertoire gives you the confidence to walk into a room full of strangers.
When at a party, give your full attention to the person to whom you’re talking. Being a good listener is a fine quality of a lady or a gentleman, and is greatly appreciated. When you listen, give eye contact, and be engaged with the talker. Ask a question about the comment to show that you have been listening.
Show interest in the person to whom you’re talking. Ask questions that lead the other person to talk about the things they enjoy or their achievements. Restrain your natural instinct to talk about yourself unless the conversation runs into a dead end. Letting the other person do the talking is always a winner. It keeps you in the mix of the party, and it will give you an opportunity to meet others. Which leads to the next tip.
Circulate. Make yourself known to people that attract you. There is a reason why these people are attractive. Engage in conversation with them to observe their good conversationalist qualities.
Don’t bring up religion, or your opinion about war, or your idea of a just society. It may induce an argument, and nobody wins when we walk away from each other huffy and indignant. When you are invited to a party, be it formal or informal, don’t hug the wall wishing you were at home with your favorite shopping magazines. Get in the mix. Good conversation just may be the beginning of a good friendship.
Sometimes a friend or family member can find him or herself a shut-in. Sometimes the condition is a straightforward observable illness – the flu, a broken leg, hospital recovery. When the condition is not as discernible, your family member or friend still needs your time, attention, and sometimes, your help. Here are a few tips to make a friend in need a lasting friend in deed:
Make telephone calls periodically to see if she needs an errand run – to the store, or return library books. Visit to make sure she gets out of bed, if medically permissible, and open up the drapes and blinds to let the day, a little bit of hope, and the sunshine in.
Bring your friend or family member his favorite music, whether it is on a cd or a gift of an ipod. Make it to his house at least one evening during the week to look at television with him to share his favorite show. Don’t disappoint him. Ring the doorbell at the appointed time to make his day. Bring popcorn to share, along with funny or pertinent stories while you pop the corn, and if possible, assist your friend to the family room and go get pillows and blankets to make the visit especially pleasant for your friend. That is how you keep a friend, and build friendship capital for your own time of need.
Men want to be gentlemen. One way to encourage gentlemanly behavior is to encourage his chivalrous acts. Chivalry is an influential part of a civil, pleasant society.
For men, here are a few tips:
- Make the assumption that women like chivalry.
- Open doors for them.
- Pull out chairs.
- Pay on the first date but don’t try for a goodnight kiss. When a man behaves like a gentleman, he should be rewarded with a smile or a thank you. Or maybe a second date.
For ladies, here are a few tips:
- Be gracious in receiving these kind acts.
- Be pleasant.
- Be patient enough for him to do these things.
- Always say thank you.
- Ultimately, he is choosing to be nice to you, so enjoy the nicety!
Ladies, encourage gentlemanly behavior by making sure that nice guys finish first. If you shun the bad boys, you will discourage their numbers. Recognize a man’s considerate demeanor as a strength, and let him know that you see it as such. Be receptive to a man’s positive inclinations and it will encourage more!