Meeting new people is a common occurrence in daily life, but what are the expectations that Americans have of this ritual? What social norms are at work? Assistant Professor of Communication Danielle Pillet-Shore studies the details of introductions—the sequence of actions that people go through in order to introduce themselves or others. Earlier this year, she published her findings in Communication Monographs, the premier journal in the field of communication. Her article provides the first detailed empirical analysis of naturally occurring introductions and elucidates how those involved in introductions produce, use, and observably understand their own introduction sequences.
Do you recognize this finding in yourself? People who are being introduced typically try to overlap each other in the several steps of an introduction process. They also “sound-stretch” their utterances to create overlap. As Pillet-Shore explains, this practice displays that introduced people are “‘happy to meet’ one another simultaneously, a faceaffirming, jointly produced state-of-affairs that promotes and engenders affiliation and social solidarity in the very first moments of incipient social relationships.”