Introducing two or more of your friends to one another can be beneficial for everyone. Your friends might make some new friends, and you’ll feel more comfortable inviting a mix of people you know to group events.
Here’s how to make introductions.
1. Don’t set up surprise one-on-one introductions
Most people won’t be pleased if you bring someone else along when they expect to meet you one-on-one. If you want two of your friends to meet, raise the idea with each friend separately. Make it easy for them to say “no.”
For example, you could say to your friend:
“Hey, I had an idea the other day. Would you like to meet my friend Jordan, the author I was telling you about? Maybe we could all go to the book fair next month. Let me know if it sounds fun.”
If both friends sound enthusiastic, set up a time and date where you can all hang out.
2. Learn basic introduction etiquette
According to the Emily Post Institute, you should follow these tips when introducing people:
- If you are introducing Person A to Person B, look at Person B when beginning the introduction, then turn to Person A as you say Person A’s name.
- Use a brief, polite introductory line like “I’d like you to meet…” or “May I introduce…”
- If you’re introducing someone to a group, name each group member first. For example, “Sasha, Ryan, James, Rei, this is Riley.”
- Always speak slowly and clearly so that both people have a chance to hear the other’s name.
- If your friend prefers to be known by a nickname, use it instead of their official name. Use your judgment when it comes to surnames; in informal situations, they aren’t usually necessary.
3. Know the proper order of introductions
Who do you introduce first? It depends partly on who, if anyone, is more senior or has more status. For example, if you are introducing an older friend you have known for many years to a new acquaintance, etiquette experts would advise that you introduce your acquaintance first. Traditionally, if you are introducing a man and a woman, you should introduce the man first.
4. Give some context when making introductions
After you’ve made an introduction, give each person some additional information about the other. This helps both people understand the other’s relationship with you and can help them start a conversation.
Let’s say you are introducing your friends Alastair and Sophie at a party. They both work in cybersecurity, and you think they might get on well.
The conversation could go like this:
You: Sophie, this is my friend Alastair, my old college roommate. Alastair, this is Sophie, my friend from work.
Alastair: Hey Sophie, how do you do?
Sophie: Hi, pleased to meet you.
You: I think you two have very similar jobs. You both work in cybersecurity.
Sophie [to Alastair]: Oh cool, where do you work?
5. Help move the conversation along
If one or both of your friends are shy or find it difficult to talk with someone new, don’t leave them alone immediately after making an introduction. Stay around until the conversation starts to flow. Draw their attention to things they may have in common, or invite one friend to tell the other a brief, interesting story.
Here are a couple of examples:
- “Anna, I think you were telling me the other day that you want to get a Siamese cat? Lauren has three!”
- “Ted, tell Nadir where you went climbing last weekend; I think he’d like to hear about it.”
6. Introduce your friends while doing an activity
Your friends may feel less awkward meeting for the first time if they have a shared activity to focus on. For example, if you want your friend Raj to meet your friend Liz and they both like art, suggest that the three of you check out a local art gallery together.
7. Get creative with your introductions
In most situations, it’s best to make your introductions straightforward and simple. But if you’re introducing people at a special event, you could do it in a creative way.
Here are some examples:
- If you’re throwing an informal party, you could ask everyone to write their names on disposable cups when they grab a drink.
- If you’re organizing a more formal gathering that involves a sit-down meal, consider using place settings with decorative name cards. Write each person’s name on the front and back so that it’s easy for everyone at the table to read.
- Use a simple game as an ice breaker. For example, “Two truths and a lie” is a fun way to encourage members of a group to introduce themselves to each other.
8. Introduce friends to each other online
If you think that your friends might get along well, but you can’t introduce them in person, you could introduce them on Facebook or other social media, via a group chat (using WhatsApp or a similar app), or by email. Always get your friends’ permission before passing on their contact details or adding them to a chat.
If you’d like to go further than just sharing contact details, you could kickstart a conversation between them. For example, you could:
- Send them both an email in which you introduce them to one another.
- Creating a group chat for the three of you. After you’ve made basic introductions, start a conversation by bringing up a topic you all enjoy. If they want to continue a conversation alone, they start messaging each other directly.
9. Know that your friends may not like each other
Sometimes, two people simply do not like each other, even if they have a lot in common. Don’t try to force a friendship by suggesting they meet up again. You can still invite them both if you’re hosting a large event—most people can be polite in such situations—but don’t try to make them engage in conversation.
Common questions about introducing friends to each other
Should you introduce your friends to each other?
If you think they would get on well, introducing your friends to each other could be a great idea. You may all be able to hang out together, which could be fun. If you are out with a friend and run into someone you know, it’s good etiquette to make introductions.