Manner Monday®: Introductions

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Q: “What is the appropriate way to introduce a same-sex couple? I have asked the couple and they each have differing opinions.  One prefers not to be introduced as married but his partner prefers to be introduced as a married couple.  I have known them for a long time & know the struggles they have each had, but I find it difficult to introduce them while not offending one or the other.” Thanks – Tracey

A: The formal rules of an introduction can still apply in this situation without mentioning marital status. One of the most important components of the old-school formal introduction rules state that you are to say the most important persons name first (lady vs. man, senior manager vs. junior, older vs. younger, etc.)  To help you from getting caught in the middle, I would stick to that rule, keeping it simple and introduce them by their names adding a conversation starter of common interest that will help guide the conversation. For example:

‘Mary, I’d like to introduce to you Bob and Tom. Mary is the director of the ABC Foundation; Bob and I met while working on the XYZ non-profit board. And Tom is an avid supporter of the LMN project’

One mistake when making an introduction is giving too much information or making too-personal comments. Offering up TMI (too much information) during the introduction can create an obviously awkward situation (like the one posed in your question) and doesn’t leave anything for the newly acquainted individuals to find out during the resulting conversation. Keeping it simple, will keep you out of the middle of their relationship!

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Thanks for reading!
– Carey Sue

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