The second day of the February Tumblr challenge poses the question: How do you introduce yourself to people? While I wish I could say that I float into a room of strangers on a cloud illuminated by my sheer awesomeness, the reality isn’t all that special. When I introduce myself to people, I begin with a genuine smile and a handshake followed by “Nice to meet you,” or something to that effect. Pretty standard stuff, ya know?
But in an effort to keep things interesting, I decided to compile a list of some of the strangest/most humiliating/annoying introductions I’ve ever experienced. Typically, I’m pretty lax on the “first impressions are everything” mantra, but when introductions go wrong, I’m forced to reconsider that stance.
THE WIMPY HANDSHAKE
I. HATE. THIS. But before I go too hard on those who begrudgingly dole out wimpy ass handshakes, perhaps they have legitimate concerns about catching germs or they have a hand phobia or something. Or maybe they’re just not into handshakes, but there has GOT to be a better way.
Maybe that was the case with one of my distant cousins, who I recently met for the first time. I offered my standard greeting and extended my hand but she stood there and glared at my hand like it was smallpox-infested. I was on the east coast, so maybe my Texas twang caught her off guard? Maybe the gesture was too formal (She didn’t strike me as a hugger)? I still don’t know but eventually she moved past whatever rendered her temporarily speechless and paralyzed. Then it happened. The weak ass handshake that consists of extending two fingers (most often, the index and the middle finger) accompanied by an under-eyed glare. If you don’t wanna shake my hand, then I’d rather you didn’t than offer me two fingers to shake. It’s just… awkward, and halfway tempted me to swear off handshakes altogether.
THE STRANGER WHO LETS YOU KNOW THEY’VE ALREADY BEEN BRIEFED ON YOU BY A MUTUAL ACQUAINTANCE
No matter what I think I know about a person prior to meeting the, that supposed knowledge will NEVER have an impact on the way I treat you, especially during an initial introduction. But some people simply cannot hide the fact that they’ve heard all about you from a relative, co-worker, friend or mutual associate before meeting you.
I once met a friend of a friend whose first words to me were, “Oh so you’re the one who worked with her,” referencing our mutual buddy. She then proceeded to side-eye me for the rest of the evening. Since I don’t have the most sordid past (in fact, it’s pretty damn boring), all I could think was what the HELL did this mutual friend tell her?!
Ugh, so this next incident took place at least six years ago, but it pisses me off til this day. I traveled with my husband (boyfriend at the time) to NYC. While there, we attended a church event with his family and I was reminded of how disgustingly patriarchal certain religions are, although it took me a while to recognize it for what it was. A male member of the church came around to greet the out-of-town family but when he reached me, instead of shaking my extended hand, he shot me cursory glance, then leaned over me and shook my boyfriend’s hand. I guess I was supposed to just sit there like an obedient little woman, but it made me feel like a cheap accessory. And to make sure I got the point, he looked back at me as if to say, yeah, I saw you…and?! All I could do was shake my head and send up a silent prayer for this ceremony to be over ASAP before I got to cussin’ up in these strange folks’ church event.
THE HUMILIATING INTRODUCTION
When I was in high school, I had a class with my crush, but other than small talk, we really didn’t socialize because I was super awkward around guys. My “best” friend, however, secretly took it upon herself to introduce me to him, not knowing or caring that I already knew him. She lured me out of the cafeteria by pretending someone had found one of my textbooks. Before I knew it, I was being shoved in his direction by her and her cousin. Interrupting the conversation he had going with another girl, they awkwardly introduced us to one another. He was gracious enough to go along with it, but I was completely mortified. Worst introduction EVER.
Bottom line is introductions should never be this damn complicated.
What are some of the strangest, best/worst, funniest introductions you’ve ever experienced?