Q: Please tell me the proper way to introduce one to another. Is it Mrs. Important I want you to meet Mr. unimportant? That is woman to a man, older woman to another woman or man, older man to younger man?
A: There are several different components to a making a good introduction. Looking people in the eye, speaking clearly, and using forms of address that everyone is comfortable with will give you a base line that should get you through most situations.
Your question specifically addresses the order of the introduction. You have the basic concept correct in the example given (Mrs. Important, I would like you to meet Mr. Unimportant.) although the way you phrase it as a “rule” is inverted. Traditionally, the person who is named first is being shown a degree of respect or deference based on seniority or prominence and is having the introduction made to them. In most circumstances, these four basic guidelines will see you through:
- A younger person is introduced to an older person. The older person’s name is stated first. (“Aunt Ruth, I want you to meet my roommate, Mimi Jackson. Mimi, this is my aunt, Mrs. Cox”)
- A person of high rank or special prominence is named first and receives the introduction. The lesser rank is introduced to them. (“Bishop Gordon, may I present my husband John?”)
- When introducing family members to others, the other person’s name is generally said first if the people being introduced are of roughly the same age and rank.
- Traditionally in social situations, men are introduced to women.