When I hear the word manners, I think of two things.
- Forks. Lots and lots of forks. And
- Big hats.
But obviously, that’s not all that manners encompasses. Every time I hear of manners classes, I roll my eyes. But then when I am in a situation where I need to introduce my friends to each other or pick out the right fork, I’m just like . . . “Uh oh.”
Well, no more uh-ohs from this girl! What about you?
So first, let’s talk about the basics.
Now I don’t know about you, but being a homeschooler never lent itself to introductions. Most of my friends were in the same circle, and the circles don’t mix. But now that I’m getting older, the circles are mixing. Like those single jars of peanut butter and jelly at the grocery store (WHOSE IDEA WAS THAT).
What I’ve found to work like a charm is introduce the person, include where you know them from, as well as a fun fact the people could bond over. For example:
“Mrs. Hahn, this is Alice. She goes to school with me, and she’s an amazing artist! Alice, this is Mrs. Hahn. She’s a really good family friend and she loves cooking microwaved meals for her family.”
See? (Psst . . . for tips on remembering names, visit this post)
And notice how I introduced the older person to the younger person (POINTS!). That’s seen as respectful (although if I were the elderly person, I’d just be insulted to know that in the pair I’m considered “older”).
Now, a lot of times you’re going to meet new people and not have an intercessor to break the ice. So just go simple and say, “Hi! My name is Samantha. What’s your name?” Oh, and something else. If you know the person from somewhere, don’t just ask “Remember me?” because if they don’t remember you, you’ll both just be standing there awkwardly.
You: Well this is awkward . . .
Other person: #STALKER
So! Just give them a little reminder. “Hey, my name is Mary Ellen! I pushed you over in the mud back in preschool. It’s good to see you again. Mudless and all.”
Once you’ve introduced yourself comes the really awkward “now we have to talk” realization. When you were younger, it was okay to randomly ask “what’s your favorite color?” or “what animal do you like?” to keep the conversation going. But now, it may be best not to be so random.
Perhaps you’re at a graduation. Ask how Mrs. Hahn knows the graduating senior. Or maybe you’re at a wedding. Ask how they liked the cake, or comment on the main colors of the wedding.
Basically, just remember how selfish humans are. We do love talking about ourselves! So just keep them babbling for thirty minutes and they’ll go home thinking you’re the sweetest person ever . . . when in reality they gave a running commentary of their life story.
Okay, and two other tips. If you’re talking to a group, keep making eye contact with everyone. You’ll notice that if you come into a conversation and the person doesn’t want you there, they’ll avoid eye contact with you. But if they do want you involved, they’ll pull you in by consistently peeking over at you and including you. It’s like an invitation.
And also . . . listen. Yeah, we’re all guilty of this. Ask a question, phew my job is over. OH NO they stopped talking! Now I have to ask another question. Ah there they go rambling. My work here is done.
Nooooooo! You asked the question. Listen to the answer!
And for bonus points, remember to . . .
- Use polite words (please, thank you, etc.).
- Be respectful when talking to adults.
- Tell the story the way it happened (Yes, I’m preaching to myself. I am the queen of exaggerating.).
- Use discernment. Don’t gossip or dis other people. Everything you think doesn’t have to be said!
Well, look at you, you polite person you! Grab a fancy embroidered napkin, a big hat, and a fork ’cause I’d like to have a tea party with you!
Forgetful like me? No problem. Download our free little miss manners reminders list by clicking the image below!