I read a great article the other day about social etiquette. When introducing someone with more than just a name, how do you normally do it?
“[My friend] ends up feeling like her occupation is the only way she can connect with people, and if they don’t find her work interesting enough, then she must not be very interesting.
And that’s a lie, of course.”
- From the Storyline Blog.
When you’re watching an old film where a bunch of characters are talking at a party – it happens in most Woody Allen films if you’re stuck for an example – you always hear them say “this is Frank, he’s a lawyer” or “this is Wade, he’s a professional wrestler.”
Well, Wade, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news.
More and more we’re seeing that a person’s job doesn’t have to be the very thing which defines them, if they choose not to let it.
For some it’s fine if you love and are dedicated to your job, but there are many people who prefer to be known for another aspect of their life – their hobbies, fandoms and other features.
Etiquette in geek culture
It’s especially true of geeks, for whom to paraphrase one of geekdom’s icons Simon Pegg, is about wearing your geek status with pride. Whatever you’re into the most is surely the most interesting thing about you to others – even if it’s for them to wonder how you can get so obsessed with Star Trek or zombie movies, you can always take the opportunity for a mini-squee. If nothing else the people you meet will certainly find it an interesting experience!
For me personally, meeting a new person gives me the chance to find out what they’re into, and find out if there’s some common ground we share.
In fact, more often than not you’ll find me very obviously displaying my own influences on what I’m wearing! Today for example, I’m rocking a Mirror’s Edge logo t-shirt, but even on a colder day you’ll be able to spot the SEGA badge on my jacket.
We’re thoughtful like that sometimes, us geeks. And I’m not suggesting you incessantly grill a new acquaintance to find out something interesting about them – just a few polite questions like:
- What are you into?
- What was the last film you watched?
- What have you been listening to?
Even if you don’t manage to figure out a talking point, you’ve at least passed the time getting to know each other, which is still very much a positive – I’d be very pleased to spend some time shooting the breeze with new people, especially as I’m currently trying my best to get out of an especially socially awkward stage of my life.
All it takes is a bit of positivity and no more than the usual dose of geeky enthusiasm. Try it yourself!