A couple of weeks ago at church a friend of mine was introducing me to another friend of her's. "This is so-and-so. She's whats-his-name's ex-wife." She introduces me as a "stick person," the person who holds a "stick" on a survey crew. (Though it's really called a rodman and I haven't been a rodman for about three years.) I asked her why she always puts labels on people. Why doesn' she just say, "This is my friend?" Why the labels?
I suppose it comes from our need to identify people with something. We are someone's mom, sister, daughter. They are someone's boss, best friend, neighbor. He's a workaholic, a gossip, a jerk. We seem to put labels on people for good and bad reasons and rarely introduce them by giving their name and taking them, literally, at face value.
Maybe we introduce people with something in common: "This is Sara. She's interested in photography too." Or if we were trying to fix up a couple on a date we might include the fact they're single and their similar interests. But why not just give their names and let the other person find things out on their own? Why do we insist on labels?
What labels do people use to introduce you?