What To Say When Introduced – Emily Post – 1922

emily post as a young woman

I love history, especially when it shows us how women were “educated” to act in society and business. The following advice is straight out of Etiquette, by Emily Post published in 1922. This classic book set the standard for how “ladies and gentlemen” were to behave in proper society. Emily Post’s book had been the etiquette gold standard for generations. The following is from Chapter III – Greetings.

Something we should remember for your next networking function? Honestly, good manners are never out of date or style . . .

What To Say When Introduced

The correct formal greeting is: “How do you do?” If Mrs. Younger is presented to Mrs. Worldly, Mrs. Worldly says “How do you do?” If the Ambassador of France is presented to her, she says “How do you do?” Mrs. Younger and the Ambassador likewise say “How do you do?” or merely bow.

There are a few expressions possible under other circumstances and upon other occasions. If you have, through friends in common, long heard of a certain lady, or gentleman, and you know that she, or he, also has heard much of you, you may say when you are introduced to her: “I am very glad to meet you,” or “I am delighted to meet you at last!” Do not use the expression “pleased to meet you” then or on any occasion. And you must not say you are delighted unless you have reason to be sure that she also is delighted to meet you.

To one who has volunteered to help you in charitable work for instance, you would say: “It is very good of you to help us,” or, “to join us.”

Informal Greetings

Informal greetings are almost as limited as formal, but not quite; for besides saying “How do you do?” you can say “Good morning” and on occasions “How are you?” or “Good evening.”

On very informal occasions, it is the present fashion to greet an intimate friend with “Hello!” This seemingly vulgar salutation is made acceptable by the tone in which it is said. To shout “Hullow!” is vulgar, but “Hello, Mary” or “How ‘do John,” each spoken in an ordinary tone of voice, sound much the same. But remember that the “Hello” is spoken, not called out, and never used except between intimate friends who call each other by the first name.

There are only two forms of farewell: “Good-by” and “Good night.” Never say “Au revoir” unless you have been talking French, or are speaking to a French person. Never interlard your conversation with foreign words or phrases when you can possibly translate them into English; and the occasions when our mother tongue will not serve are extremely rare.

Very often in place of the over-worn “How do you do,” perhaps more often than not, people skip the words of actual greeting and plunge instead into conversation: “Why, Mary! When did you get back?” or “What is the news with you?” or “What have you been doing lately?” The weather, too, fills in with equal faithfulness. “Isn’t it a heavenly day!” or “Horrid weather, isn’t it?” It would seem that the variability of the weather was purposely devised to furnish mankind with unfailing material for conversation.

In bidding good-by to a new acquaintance with whom you have been talking, you shake hands and say, “Good-by. I am very glad to have met you.” To one who has been especially interesting, or who is somewhat of a personage you say: “It has been a great pleasure to meet you.” The other answers: “Thank you.”


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