Yesterday evening I enjoyed a get together with a current and a former roommate at the R&R Public House. In an evening of enjoying great conversation, the phrase one of them used to introduce me to one of their friends that happened to be there at the same time. I was introduced this way, “This is Mike, he’s a yoga guy.”
What struck me at the time was, “hmm…that’s not really a great description, but I’ll go with it.” I suppose people pick a description of you that is relevant to the person they are introducing you to. I am guessing that since the person that I was being introduced to was a tennis instructor, using a sport type description was the most relevant frame of reference.
I suppose we all do this type of reference framing, to give the other person some sort of context to start a conversation with. I imagine there is a social psychology term for this type of interaction, but I don’t know it nor have looked into it deeper.
The fun of this realization hitting me mid-conversation was that I could try and change the conversation to find out more about a new person than just the initial description. This was like conversational aikido..back and forth until you can dig a little deeper than just the initial description. Granted, I do enjoy talking about yoga and all its benefits, but there is so much more to a person. What was great to find out was that this new person was originally from New York and we had a great time talking about upstate NY. Such a small world.
What I find important to remember is that there is always so much more beyond that initial description. Dig a little deeper and you’ll be surprised what you find.
What phrase has been used to describe you in an introduction that you thought didn’t quite do you well enough?
-Mike, ‘the yoga guy’ 😉