making-thoughtful-introductions [image via madewell because I couldn’t find one of my own to fit]

I’ve always felt strange about the most common question people ask when you first meet them. The totally harmless and innocent question, “What Do You Do?“. I even wrote a full post about it, mostly how I think we can do better at starting conversations and answering this question, to get to know people on less of a superficial autopilot way. There is nothing wrong with the question, not at all. It just also seems to bring instant flash judgements about someone based on their job. Most people I know, are not defined by their day job. They are so much more!

So thinking about the idea of starting conversations in a more meaningful way and answering the “what do you do?” question to direct the conversation to get a deeper answer (or cut the convo right off, it could go either way). I thought about how I personally introduce people, because this same idea of starting conversations better should most definitely also play into how I introduce others. First off I should start by confessing, about how truly bad I am at making even the most basic of introductions. It is something I fall short of almost every time it comes up, often I’m forgetful and other times it’s because I have forgotten a name (now you know why, every one). So for me, it’s about remembering to make introductions (and people’s names! this is a life long struggle) and I might as well focus on making those introductions, thoughtful.

I’m really going to try to focus on improving a) my memory, so making sure intros are not forgotten or left out (only being honest)  b) be more thoughtful and stop using their job title as an opening line and instead focus on introducing people with the reason why I adore them – hand off the best first impression. Because I pretty much know from the “what do YOU do?” question, that a job is a part of every ones story but it doesn’t solely define us (as it is only part of mine). If we all make flash judgements on the first thing we learn about someone, why not introduce the people we love with that great impression they have left on us.

*A reader introduced me to a wonderful article on the same topic: A Better Way To Introduce Your Friends At A Party, it’s wonderful and much more eloquent than my thoughts.

What do you think? Are you good with introductions, or is it just me? How do you feel about the “What Do You Do?” question?


    • Heart and Habit says

      I hadn’t previously read this, but thank you for sharing – it’s wonderful, much better then my thoughts on the simple concept. I added it to my post to share, thank you!

  1. Alia says

    I love that you posted about this topic! I recently attended a beautiful wedding where the “what do you do?” question was ever prevalent, so much so, that my husband and I began doing a cheeky score count and privately chuckled at how many times the conversation was veered toward this topic. True, as you say, it can be innocent enough. In a conversation lull or through sheer genuine interest, I’ve asked the question myself and I don’t at all mind being asked, however devoid of any real substance it can have airs of an ego boost between the who’s who of the party. I love and am inspired by driven, passionate and interesting go getters that ooze of pride for what they do – that’s intoxicating and awesome- but, feeling defined by your title or defining others by theirs is superficial and often deluding. Cliché but true, we are so much more than what we do!


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