How to Make Introductions Like a Gentleman

by Brett & Kate McKay on August 10, 2010 · 54 comments

in A Man's Life, Money & Career, On Etiquette

Have you ever been at a party with a guy who runs into somebody he knows and starts yammering away while you stand there awkwardly, holding your drink? Man, I hate when that happens. You’re left in social limbo. I usually have to just take things into my own hands and introduce myself, which is fine, but the exchange would have been much smoother had my friend introduced me to his buddies.

Being introduced invites you into the conversation and makes you feel like part of the group, which is why making an introduction shows your respect for your guest. Neglecting to make an introduction leaves a person feeling ignored and, well, awkward. Making introductions is particularly important in business settings as they establish a rapport of respect, get relationships off on the right foot, and give you an aura of being confident, prepared, and in control.

With our more casual culture, the art of the gentlemanly introduction has disappeared, but we’re here to help bring it back.

Making introductions used to be a much more formal affair, with bowing, scraping, and a lot of rules, but nowadays just remembering to make them sets you apart from the cads out there. So there’s no need to adhere to ironclad laws or be all flowery about it. Keeping it simple and respectful goes a long way, and doing so requires following just one basic guideline:

The Big Rule

The overarching principle when making introductions is deference and respect. You show chivalrous deference to women by introducing the man to the woman. You show respect for your elders by introducing the younger to the older.  And in a business setting, you show respect to higher-ups by introducing the person of lower rank to the person of higher position. Below we break down this rule into a few easy to understand examples so you can see how this works.

Business Introductions

Situation: Introducing business associates of different ranks

  • How to do it: Introduce the person of lower rank to the person of higher rank, regardless of age or gender.
  • Example: “Mr. CEO, I would like to introduce Mr. Frank Underling from accounting.”

Situation: Introducing a business associate of any rank and a client

  • How to do it: Introduce the business associate to the client, regardless of rank, age, or gender.
  • Example: “Mr. Client, please meet our Vice President of Marketing, Andrew Smith.”

Situation: Introducing two business associates of equal rank

  • How to do it: Introduce the person that you don’t know as well to the person you know better.
  • Example: Let’s say your manager, Foster Knight is meeting the manager of the Detroit office, Cynthia Brown. “Foster, I’d like you to meet the manager of the Detroit Office, Cynthia Brown.”

Social Introductions

Situation: Introducing a man and a woman

  • How to do it: Introduce the man to the woman
  • Example: “Amanda, this is Jake Nelson who has been helping me study for the bar.”

(Note: In social settings, a man is always introduced to a woman, regardless of the individuals’ ages.)

Situation: Introducing a younger person and an older person (of the same sex)

  • How to do it: Introduce the younger person to the older person.
  • Example: “Mr. Mothballs, I’d like you to meet my friend Roy. He’s my roommate in college.”

Situation: Introducing a person and a relative

  • How to do it: Introduce the person to the relative.
  • Example: “Dad, I would like to introduce my girlfriend Carly.”

Situation: Introducing one or more persons and a group of people

  • How to do it: Introduce the group to the individual(s).
  • Example: “Sarah and Andy, I would like you to meet Mike, Bruce, Jim, and Harvey.”

Notes on group introductions:

  • Say the names of everyone in the group slowly so that your guest will have a greater chance of remembering them.
  • If your bring your guest to a small gathering, you may introduce him or her to everyone there. If you bring your guest to a large party, just introduce them to whom they’re sitting by or those people who enter into a conversation with the two of you. Don’t bring them around the room and introduce them to every single person there.

What to Do When Being Introduced

Remember that first impressions are always the time to shine, so when being introduced to someone, look them in the eye, offer a good handshake (when meeting a woman, wait to see if she extends her hand first), and say something like:

  • “I’ve really been looking forward to meeting you.”
  • “I’ve heard such great things about you.”
  • “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
  • “It’s great to finally meet you.”

Then, immediately follow-up with a conversation starter. “Rodger told me you’ve been training for a marathon next week. How’s that going?”

Other Tips

  • Rely on common sense when choosing whether or not to use a person’s title when making an introduction. In formal situations and when the person has not given you permission to use their first name, use titles like Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc.  A good rule is simply to refer to the person as you normally refer to them. If you’re introducing your boss and you call your boss “Mr. Cooper” at the office, don’t suddenly call him Bob.
  • Always stand up for introductions.
  • Make sure you know how to pronounce people’s names correctly when making introductions.
  • Say something interesting about the person you’re introducing so that the person he or she is being introduced to will have an easier time remembering their name and transitioning into conversation. Like so:
    • Sam: “James, I’d like to introduce you to my friend Eddie Hill. Eddie caught a 20 lb bass last week.
    • James: That’s incredible! Where were you fishing, Eddie?
    • Boom-instant rapport.
  • When being introduced or making an introduction outside, remove your hat and keep it off until you part ways again.
  • If outside and wearing gloves when meeting someone, remove your glove before shaking his or her hand.
  • What do you do when you’re introducing your guest to another person and realize you don’t remember their name? Say to the person, “Have you met my friend John?” The person will then hopefully reply with, “No, I haven’t. I’m Sophia.”

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joshua August 11, 2010 at 12:15 am

I have often wondered the precedence of introductions. it would appear that it goes rank, sex, age, familiarity. is that correct?

for example lets say you are at a neighborhood gathering and you want to introduce little miss Muffet (age 8), and old man Tuffet (age 88), and you know each about the same. I learned that advanced age often counts as a rank in social situations and trumps sex. is that wrong?

2 Daniel P. Brown August 11, 2010 at 12:50 am

I’m not sure if it’s on your reading list or elsewhere for the website, but I’d like to recommend How to be a Gentleman: A Contemporary Guide to Common Courtesy by John Bridges. It is helpful for situations such as those covered here and many more and a good reminder of what a gentleman was and should be today.

3 Alexander August 11, 2010 at 1:12 am

Nice guide. I always wondered how to properly introduce somebody to a group of people without the generic, “Hey, Everybody, this is my friend X. X, this is everybody!”

4 Harry August 11, 2010 at 1:22 am

That’s odd, when I had to learn this stuff in the Army, the one ironclad rule was that an individual was always introduced to the group first, you have it the other way around. The others were all rules of thumb and oddly didn’t have a hierarchy beyond that one trump rule.

5 Brett McKay August 11, 2010 at 1:35 am

@Joshua-
Gender typically trumps all, but I think in the case of a little girl and an old man, the old man would “outrank” her since she was a child. Not sure, but I wouldn’t sweat the gray areas like that. The rules are just a guideline and the important thing is to be respectful.

@Harry-
All the etiquette books I consulted said to say the name of the individual first and then the names of the group (even back to 1881). But perhaps the military has a different rule.

6 Trevor August 11, 2010 at 2:37 am

What should one do when introduced to a woman who does not extend her hand for a hand-shake, I find this situation quite hard to read and often awkward??

7 David August 11, 2010 at 4:28 am

Trevor: With the influx of peoples from cultures where women and men don’t have physical contact as casually as western cultures I’ve found the safest bet when meeting a woman who doesn’t take the initative to be a polite semi-bow, almost a nod but a little more formal. The only trick then is keeping track of your hands so you don’t look silly in the process.

As a bonus doing this enough eventually can work as a “get out of handshake free” card if people believe you’re doing it sincerely.

8 Sean August 11, 2010 at 8:53 am

@Trevor – I go with a smile and a nod of the head.

Many of my wife’s friends are Jewish, and depending on their level of observance, the women won’t touch men including a handshake. It does get strange when you get introduced to a couple and you shake hands with the husband but not the wife.

Sean

9 Jordan August 11, 2010 at 8:55 am

Excellent! This is very practical.

Does anyone have any tips on remembering the names of those in a group to whom you’ve just been introduced? I’m always impressed when someone remembers my name so soon after meeting me, and it’s definitely a struggle for me.

10 Rick G August 11, 2010 at 9:08 am

It’s all rank guys. It just so happens that women are held in higher esteem than us.

11 Days and Adventures August 11, 2010 at 10:02 am

I’ve just bookmarked this. The last one especially, is gold. Thanks!

Marc

12 Kyle Fadeley August 11, 2010 at 10:06 am

I have always found with introductions, that being over-formal is always the safe bet.

For example, if I use “Mr.” when i should have used their first name, they will say “call me Bob! Mr. smith is my father’s name” which creates a light atmosphere.

In contrast, if i use a person’s first name when i should have used a proper title, they will usually stare awkwardly, or if they are really nice they will politely correct me.

Especially because I am under 20, i would rather people be thinking that i am over-formal than ” one of those ignorant little kids”. That may be extreme, but still. It’s better to be over-formal

13 Hawk August 11, 2010 at 10:14 am

I have another overlooked, but important, courtesy akin to removing your hat. If you are wearing sunglasses when introduced to someone(or just having a conversation, for that matter) REMOVE THEM! That is a fairly irritating annoyance I see regularly.

14 Dave August 11, 2010 at 10:26 am

I always wait for a women to extend her hand first. I’ve observed older women typically notice this, and they almost always smile as a result and offer their hand. I think there is something quaint and gentlemanly about not thrusting for someone else’s hand, and particularly not that of a woman’s.

15 Playstead August 11, 2010 at 11:31 am

Great topic for a post — this can be tricky. After all these years I still suck at introducing people. The most important part is that you actually do it and don’t leave anyone hanging.

16 Brucifer August 11, 2010 at 11:42 am

I’ve always found it quite boorish for chaps to pull the “Call me Bob! Mr. Smith is my father’s name.” Or the “Don’t call me Sir, I work for a living. (common among current or ex-military Enlisted ranks, trying to set themselves apart from the indolent Officer class)

Suck-it-up that you are a Man, and thus due certain social salutations! Suck-it-up that you are a grown Man and no longer a gangling kid at your fathers feet!

Such speech patterns usually masks one’s own insecurities about being a grown-up, about being as good as your father and about being your own man.

And don’t pull the “informality card” because you are desperate to come across as unpretentious “just plain folks.” I had a multi-millionaire welcome me aboard his yacht with that sort of “Aw, shucks” crap. With all the heavy gold bling around his neck and wrist, he wasn’t fooling anybody.

If you want to come across as an down-to-earth egalitarian gentleman, act like one! Don’t vainly try to announce it! Over-modesty is indeed its own type of vanity

17 CoffeeZombie August 11, 2010 at 11:43 am

I second the idea of bowing when the woman does not extend a hand. It gives you *something* to do in that awkward silence that is normally filled by a handshake, and, if the woman is classy, she may respond with a slight bow or curtsey of her own.

I have never heard these rules before (introducing the lower rank to the higher), so this is new to me. I will do my best to remember this next time I have occasion to. However, what of a situation in which you must introduce yourself? Perhaps in, to quote Obi Wan Kenobi, “a more civilized age,” if you wanted to meet someone you might rely on a common acquaintence to make the introduction (which is probably ideal even today), but this is not generally the case now.

Perhaps we could get an article on this, as well? Or, at least, some good recommendations on ettiquite resources?

18 Randy August 11, 2010 at 1:12 pm

What I have never been slick at is introducing myself in an INFORMAL situation. Like when I am as a business meeting evening social gathering, for example, or at a family picnic or someplace where I would really like to join in a group of guys. I guess I should have joined the fraternity in college after all…. I still hate feeling shy, lonely, and awkward, dangit!

19 Brian August 11, 2010 at 3:40 pm

@Randy-
A couple of thoughts on introducing yourself to a group of guys (or a group of people for that matter)…
- First, if you know at least one person in the group, I like simply walking up next to that person, shaking their hand and after greeting them saying something like “Dave, I haven’t met (or been introduced) to everyone yet.” Unless your friend is clueless, they’ll run with that and introduce you to everyone.
- Assuming you don’t know anyone in the group, just remember that wherever you are, you likely have something in common with them since you are all at the same place. I always like to start with an ice breaker comment and then move straight to the introductions which I like to include how I know the person who is hosting the party, gathering, reason for the business social gathering, etc.
– If you over hear what they are talking about and have a comment, butt in to the conversation at an appropriate time and comment briefly, for example “I agree, in fact I used to own one of those and sold it for that same reason.” The point is to offer a quick comment about what they are talking about. There may be some follow up comments and then you move directly to the introductions as in, “I am Brian, I’m Dave’s neighbor.” Or, “I’m Brian, from Accounting and have been working on the forecasting project with Dave.”
I’ve always found these to work for me.

20 RH August 11, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Yikes i didn’t know any of this. I’m glad i read this, my girl loves opra (both singing and attending) so she knows alot of people there. this should save me from makeing an ass of my self. Thanks Brett & Kate.

21 DeeMer August 11, 2010 at 5:20 pm

I’m a little bit confused here. You say to introduce lower ranks TO higher ranks; I understand that. In the first example, however, you say, “Mr. CEO, I would like to introduce you TO Mr. Frank Underling from accounting.” Is this right? Is there some trick in the English language I’m missing?

22 Solo August 11, 2010 at 5:32 pm

@Jordan: Try picturing someone with the name of the person that you’ve been introduced to standing right next to them as you hear their name. When someone says, “I’d like you to meet Bob,” you automatically see every other Bob or Robert or Bobby you’ve ever known. If you don’t know any, then think of Bobby Kennedy or Bob Barker standing next to them. Give it a shot!

23 Scott August 11, 2010 at 5:40 pm

I’m confused by the same example as DeeMer.

24 Joe August 11, 2010 at 5:53 pm

DeeMer, maybe a better way to remember it is that you speak first to the person of higher rank. So you would address Mr. CEO first, you would also address the woman first when introducing a man and a woman, and you would speak to the older person first when introducing people of different ages.

I have a question about a more complicated situation. Say I’m out at a social event with a group, and I meet a colleague who’s also with a group. But only my colleague and I know each other. How would introductions be done in that situation?

25 Drew Camino August 11, 2010 at 5:57 pm

What’s the proper etiquette when you’ve forgotten the person’s name? Especially in situations where you are meeting many people at a large party with some drinking going on, I’ve seen people conspicuously avoid introductions because they don’t want to show that they’ve forgotten your name.

If I’ve forgotten the person’s name, I will actually introduce them to someone I do know by saying something like “this is my friend George” or “let me introduce you to Bob”. I hope that leaving their name out of the introduction is inconspicuous, and usually the person introduces himself with a “hi I’m so and so”. I get a second chance to remember their name, and I also avoided being rude by not giving the introduction.

What’s your take when you find yourself in that situation?

26 Drew Camino August 11, 2010 at 6:01 pm

whoops, didn’t read the last bullet!

27 Eric August 11, 2010 at 6:09 pm

I disagree with the first introduction mentioned. The proper way to introduce to people of varying ranks is as follows:

“Mr. CEO, I would to introduce Smith.”

or, less formally (and in the event you accidentally mention Smith first):

“Smith, I would like to introduce you to Mr. CEO.”

In either case, the CEO is given the higher rank in the introduction. The initial introduction mentioned is backwards.

28 Brett McKay August 11, 2010 at 7:10 pm

@DeMeer-

I’ll just echo was Joe said in that the important thing is who you address first-the CEO. But Eric is technically correct that you would want to drop the “to” in “I would like to introduce you to.” I think it’s fine as that’s a normal way of speaking and I personally don’t get too hung up on the rules. But to keep things proper, I’ve made that correction.

29 Fr Eric August 11, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Good topic for all. Much of this has been lost. I learned by watching my parents and grandparents. Army book of etiquette (prior to WWI) and Emily Post are excellent sources.
Questions for the men:
Do you hold a door for women?
When meeting a husband and wife whose to which person do you extend your hand first?
On which side of a superior do you walk, right or left?

30 Chad Lucas August 11, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Brett and Kate,
I just want to say thank you for posts like this. Teaching etiquete is an important thing, yet many men lack the time to take actual classes. I have throughly enjoyed getting refreshers and small lessons on etiquete and common courtesies from your simple and well explained posts.
Thanks for making me a better man,
Chad

31 Lauren August 11, 2010 at 11:58 pm

I’ve never extended my hand first to a man and have always waited until he’s extended his. But, after reading this, I guess I am just making things awkward by doing that. Though, it’s rather uncomfortable to go first!

32 DeeMer August 12, 2010 at 1:17 am

Ok. I was thinking that the introduction was like a Direction, where you introduce FROM the lesser TO the greater. But it’s more like an Order of acknowledgment, starting with the greater. Is that right?

33 Alan August 12, 2010 at 2:47 am

Chivalry sucks.

I fail to see what’s ‘manly’ about bowing and scraping to The Great Womanhood.

That someone actually asked if a little kid, being female, trumps the respect due to an elderly gentleman is just amazing – and sad.

Many women today don’t like chivalry as they feel it paints them as inferior. Many men, myself included, also don’t like it, for the same reason; it paints the man as inferior.

Sure, it’s traditional, greases the wheels of polite society and so on, just as it did to show disrespect to blacks or expect excessive respect from blacks, So what? Time to move on.

If I respect someone or am being introduced by someone I respect then sure, I’ll bow, shake hands or whatever. I refuse though, to bow before someone’s genital organs if we’re not actually having sex.

“Affirmative action” and other such stupidity is bad enough, without maintaining mindless chivlarly as well.

First step in being a man – respect yourself, and demand it from others.

If some grandkid of mine comes out with “Little Miss Princess, this is my grandfather…” I’ll kneecap him with my walking stick!

34 Ham August 12, 2010 at 6:44 am

Are there any tips for introducing your wife to others? Or do you just follow the rule for introducing a woman?

Love the post and love the blog! Keep up the good work!

35 Dan August 12, 2010 at 7:54 am

Re some of the comments above, I always thought is was improper for a man to extend his hand to a woman, nearly forcing her to touch a man she doesn’t know, and to only shake her hand if she absurdly extends hers, for the reason that embarrassing her is a greater social gaffe than her impertinence by initiating the hand shake. Today’s corporate women who jut their jaw and extend their hand to men are becoming tiring, if you ask me. It’s meant to be more of a slap in the face than greeting. All it takes is the slightest hesitation in accepting her hand to make her impertinence clear to everyone.

36 GCU Prosthetic Concscience August 12, 2010 at 8:50 am

I couldn’t read this without thinking of Bridget Jones introducing Mr. Fitzherbert.

37 Alex August 12, 2010 at 9:54 am

Interesting topic. I’ve always been polite when doing introductions, but I have never considered who to introduce who to first. I’ve never had it come up in a conversation, and I’ve never even thought about it. I am aware of the need to introduce people in business and in social situations – but’s never occurred to me that there’s some sort of rank of who should be introduced to who first. Interesting. One more thing to stress out about at my next meeting – ha ha!

38 CoffeeZombie August 12, 2010 at 10:37 am

So, another question I had while ruminating over these ideas. It seems like, in my experience, at least, it is most common in practice to introduce *both* parties. I.e., “Mr. John Smith, I would ilke to introduce you to Mr. John Deer, a friend of mine from college. Mr. John Deer, Mr. John Smith, my boss.”

There seems to be an advantage to doing it this way, particularly when introducing people from one circle into another, since you can give both parties an idea of who the other person is. My guess would be that the social ranking would then determine who you speak to first?

39 Eric Granata August 12, 2010 at 11:12 am

I really enjoy posts like this. Any tips for things that I do on a regular basis are greatly appreciated. I am terrible at introductions, but this post will change that!

40 Davidus Romanus August 12, 2010 at 12:54 pm

You see it in the old movies a lot. A person, especially a woman, refusing to talk to or have anything to do with a person to whom they have not been introduced. In the old days, it was like vouching for someone. If you introduced a person to someone and they were cheated, for example, that would reflect badly on you, and your social standing would sink lower. It made you very careful who you introduced to who, but also resulted in very clannish and cliquish behavior since you would be hesitant to introduce anyone you were not absolutely sure of.

41 Michael August 12, 2010 at 1:09 pm

If we’re going to move to a merit based society, yes, the more ‘significant’ person SHOULD receive the honor of being introduced to but WHY should a person with different genitelia merit the honor?
Either women are going to be equal or they are not, I try and treat women the same as I do men which is with decency and consideration in both cases.

42 Brett McKay August 12, 2010 at 1:44 pm

@Chad-

Thanks for the kind words.

@DeeMer-

The language is really hard to wrap your mind around-I had to think about it a lot too. Perhaps visualizing it this way will help. Less important people come to more important people, the more important person stays in one place and lets people come to them. So you’re standing by the VIP’s side as people come to meet them, and you introduce the VIP to these people as they come up. “Mr. President, I would like to introduce Robert Smith from Ohio.” Another way to think about it is that you can substitute “present” for “introduce.” So you can say that the “man is introduced to the woman,” or “the man is presented to the woman.” So you can visualize the man being presented to the woman, “Sue, this is Bob.” Again, the language can get you mixed up, so I recommend just concentrating on remembering that you say the most important person’s name first and the less important person’s name second.

@CZ-
Here’s a passage relevant to your question from 1881′s Our Deportment:

“If gentlemen are to be introduced to one another, the form is, “Col. Blank, permit me to introduce to you Mr. Cole. Mr. Cole, Col. Blank.” The exact words of an introduction are immaterial, so long as the proper form and order is preserved.
The word “present” is often used in place of “introduce.” While it is customary to repeat the names of the two parties introduced at the close of the introduction, it is often omitted as a useless formality.”

But I don’t think it’s necessarily a useless formality, and seems like a fine way to go. You start with the proper order of names-most important first, less important second, and then reverse them in the repeat.

43 mens t shirts August 12, 2010 at 5:21 pm

This is probably my favourite article of the year! This is such a relevant topic in what I’m doing at the moment. I meet a lot of new people and I hate to ‘network’ (translated as bullshitting for a lot of people). If you can just remain straight, honest and polite with people, I find you earn their respect without appearing to try too hard.

Also,
“What do you do when you’re introducing your guest to another person and realize you don’t remember their name? Say to the person, “Have you met my friend John?” The person will then hopefully reply with, “No, I haven’t. I’m Sophia.””
Is a wonderful tip that I will implement myself – I’ve a terrible short term memory and often forget names during introductions etc.

Any tips for actually help to remember names? Or is that a silly question…?

Keep ‘em coming guys. Fantastic work.

44 Jeff Basiaga August 12, 2010 at 11:45 pm

I agree with the tip that says
ALWAYS STAND UP.

I can recall to my sophomore year in college, I went to lunch and was introduced to a few new guys at a lunch. One of the guys stood up and extended his hand despite the fact that he was dining.

It was one of coolest, most repectful acts of courtesy that I had seen. That was 20 years ago, since then, I have been to his wedding and have done business with him in our professional practices. I don’t even remember anyone else at the table or who introduced us.

Stand up. I have done it ever since during introductions and it has never failed me.

Jeffrey J. Basiaga., Jr.

45 Nick August 18, 2010 at 8:47 pm

One extra tip that was left out is that when being introduced in an outdoor setting, ALWAYS remove your sunglasses so that the person you’re meeting can look you in the eye.

46 Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin August 22, 2010 at 5:07 pm

@Joshua (#1): in BUSINESS situations, gender is neutral. Clients outrank coworkers, higher ups outrank subordinates, and those you know better outrank those you don’t know as well.

In SOCIAL situations, ladies ALWAYS outrank men, and ranking by age is subordinate to that. However, I do believe that all adults outrank all children. I would draw the line between girls and young ladies somewhere between thirteen and seventeen, depending upon decorum and culture. This line USED to be marked by the girl’s formal debut, but that is no longer customary; in the US, the Sweet Sixteen is only roughly analogous, as is the Quinceañera among some Latin American cultures.

@Fr. Eric (#29): Miss Manners is the proper spiritual descendant of Emily Post; her books regarding excruciatingly correct behavior are spot on, in both theory and practice. As for the questions:
Gentlemen do hold doors for those who have precedence over them. In social situations, this means women and older people; in work situations, this means superiors.
I would offer to shake the wife’s hand first, as she has precedence over him.
You walk between a lady and the curb, so that any splashes caused by traffic land on him instead of her.

@Michael (#41): any society that does not place the welfare of women and children ahead of men is committing suicide. Customs which reflect and reinforce “women and children first” are thus to be embraced.

47 Jeremy August 22, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Great article, only thing I disagree with is the suggestion to taking the gloves off when outside, if they are work gloves, absolutely, but when you are dealing with twenty below windchill, common sense takes priority in my humble opinion.

48 Sir Lancelot August 23, 2010 at 12:41 pm

“Many women today don’t like chivalry as they feel it paints them as inferior. Many men, myself included, also don’t like it, for the same reason; it paints the man as inferior.”

How can it paint both men and women and inferior? Quite the opposite – if anything it dignifies both men and women.

This whiny man-boy victimism is even more tiring than whiny feminism.

As for the old chestnut of women not liking chivalry I call bull on it. Not one single time I’ve received negative feedback from a woman for an act of chivalry, and that includes women of all kinds and ages. Just recently a girl on the train looking like your textbook radical feminist you seem to be so afraid of (tattoos, piercings, dreadlocks, the lot…) was trying to get her suitcase from the luggage rack. I walked to her, said “please, allow me” and proceeded to get her suitcase. Far from kicking me in the gentleman’s area and calling me a chauvinist pig, her face lit up with a smile from ear to ear and she thanked me. May I add I was dressed conservatively, which according to you should have make me look a patriarchalist fascist in her eyes.

Don’t be afraid of being a man.

49 Rhubarb August 25, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Re; Sir Lancelot’s post (#48), Re: Alan’s Post

I applaud you, and the other men in the world that act as you do, and I’m a feminist as well, these states are not mutually exclusive. My parent’s are very courteous, so perhaps it’s the way I was raised, but I’ve always appreciated the offer of help as long as I feel safe about it. (i.e. See the Hollabacknyc website for non-safe examples)

I’m a tiny woman, and when I couldn’t get a suitcase onto an airplane overhead bin, I asked a man straight forwardly if he could lend me a hand, since my other option would have been to stand on his armrest. He didn’t help, another person nearby did, but I was surprised by his ignoral. the least he could have done was acknowledge my question.

Bravo to everyone here who knows that being a gentleman or lady is just a way to show, as Eliza Duffey said in 1877, “Civilization…places us in a condition where we may recognize ourselves as belonging to a common humanity and in which the best good of each is subserved by permitting many ‘natural’ rights of individuals to be subordinated to the interests of all.”

Ditto, Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The power of manners is incessant, it is the beginning of civility to make us endurable to each other…to get people out of the quadruped state, to get them washed, clothes and set up on end.”

50 BigLon August 29, 2010 at 4:31 pm

“Situation: Introducing a man and a woman

How to do it: Introduce the man to the woman
Example: “Amanda, this is Jake Nelson who has been helping me study for the bar.””
Ah, I made this mistake the other day, introducing a woman to a man. Didn’t feel right, it was rather awkward. Immediately after having made this blunder I recalled this post. I definitely undervalued this article when I first glanced/skimmed over it two weeks ago. Definitely going to read this over more carefully and try to remember how to do introductions properly.

51 Miyago September 1, 2010 at 4:54 pm

Not only are poor introductions or lack of introductions annoying, but I can’t stand it when you meet someone new or with a group of people who don’t know you and they start conversations with people’s names who you don’t even know, assuming you’ll just piece the story together. For example, “Jane’s a great cook. She’s over at Marcy’s and I’ve got to meet with Ben so you can meet Jane and Steve.” So in my head I’m like, “wtf? Who’s Jane?” and this forces me to ask. The proper thing to do is introduce even in conversations, and instead say, “My sister Jane is a great cook… She’s over at her friend Marchy’s place, and I have to meet with her husband Ben first so that you can meet Jane and her husband Steve.” Get with it people. Women are incredibly guilty of doing this ALL the time…

52 Michael T September 8, 2010 at 6:27 pm

I’d like to see a followup to this article (by the way, nice job) that discusses two other facets of the process of introductions.

1) You’re the “introducee” and the person you’re with hasn’t had the good sense to read this spiffy article. What do you do and how do you do it? Or, if they do it poorly and you need to gracefully handle the social anvil dropped on your toe.

2) How to facilitate this without making someone look STOOPID. :)

53 Bryan Wallace September 8, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Say I am introducing my mother to my boss, what happens then?

54 A. Festin September 8, 2010 at 9:54 pm

This is wonderful – thank you so much for posting it!

And, yes, I – though being a bit feminist myself, and liking to be treated as an equal (though I hold that men and women aren’t “equal” but only “different in equal importance”) – love to have a man, or a WOMAN for that matter!, open a door for me, take off his hat or stand up when being introduced to me (having a man be introduced to me at all… I’m leaving this tab open for my husband to come across!), etc.

Fantastic article, I’ve already sent it off to all my friends! Thank you.

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