There is nothing more defining to your relationship with someone when they introduce you to someone else. It is customary that, upon introductions, you point out how you know the person: “This is my sister, Kayla”, “This is my co-worker, Jessica”, “This is my travel mate, Sarah”, “This is my boyfriend, Jimmy”. That way, the person understands your relationship to each other, and can serve as a conversation point. Perhaps, following introductions, you might then ask, “I have heard so much about you! Are you the sister with all the dogs?”, or, “Do you teach English with Britany? My high school English teacher changed my life”, or, “Your trip to Paris sounded like so much fun! What was your favorite part?”, or, if you find out the person has a boyfriend, you might just end the conversation there since it turns out they are off limits.
Of course, there are those times that you aren’t quite sure what your relationship to the other person is, you have been talking for quite some time, have gone on a couple dates together, you think they like you, but it’s still too awkward to have that, “So what ARE we talk?”, so you eagerly wait for them to introduce you to someone they know to determine what kind of tag your name is going to get. I once dated a guy and was so freaked out by the extremely awkward and uncomfortable status of being called “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” that, anytime the topic came up, I just, “la la la laed” in my head, pretended I didn’t hear those words, and changed the subject.
Secretly, you are hoping that you get introduced as, “This is the love of my life, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with her and buy her lots of presents, Britany”, or even, “This is my girlfriend, Britany”, or even, “This is the girl I have been seeing, Britany” would suffice. But, instead you get, “Hi, let me introduce you to…..Britany”.
Ok, so I don’t even get the benefit of being introduced as your “friend” (which, in my imagination, I would hope includes a sly wink and a nudge that would indicate we are headed towards #BAE status). But, this very generic introduction leaves me with nothing. If you were to say, “Britany, the girl I have been dating”, I would at least know that you have some interest in keeping me around, even if we haven’t made it official yet. Or, if you were to say, “My friend, Britany” without the wink and nudge, I could assume that you don’t see this heading any further, and I can spare myself the rejection from that awkward “What are WE” conversation, because as it turns out, we are nothing. I think I would even prefer to be introduced as, “Britany, you know, that crazy, obsessive girl that won’t leave me alone”, because it would save me from spending countless hours contemplating and talking with my friends about the uncertainty, than no introducational tag at all.
Introducing someone as, “This is, umm, Britany”, I think is just an easy way to say, “I am not really quite sure about you yet. I don’t want people to know your relationship to me just yet, in case you turn out to be crazy. But, I might someday decide that I do like you, and you are a person, so you at least deserve your name to be recognized”.
…I think I am going to just start being honest, and introducing people as they really are: “Hi, this is the guy who I met online and it turns out, he has a really good throwing arm, and I need him to win my softball league”, “Hi, this is the guy I met randomly at the bar one night, and I am hoping he has cuter friends”, “Hi, this is the guy that I am too nice to tell him his breath smells bad and to leave me alone”, “Hi, this is the creepy guy my friend dared me to go out with so I am only hanging out with him so my friend has to buy me dinner”. That way, upon introductions, he understands his place in my life, and we can skip the awkward “what are WE” conversation altogether.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Honesty is the best policy”, right?