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The other day I went to a small event which I'd agreed to go to with a friend of mine. She came with her Mum, who I knew, and one other person, who I'd never met before.

Since there were no introductions extended to me, I didn't know what to do and basically ignored this other person, as I'm rather introverted.

After the event was over, I asked my friend who this person was, and it turned out that she was a friend of her mother's.

Basically I felt awkward because I didn't introduce myself to this person, so: How to introduce yourself to a friend of a friend?

I'm in the Philippines, and me and my friend are both half white and half Asian. Everyone else at the event was American. I'd say that the culture is more western rather than Asian.

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(Based on western culture, this may not apply elsewhere)

Since there were no introductions extended to me, I didn't know what to do and basically ignored this other person.

It can be hard to introduce yourself if you're an introverted person, but the best thing to you can do is approach this directly. Walk up to them, extend your hand for a handshake and say with a smile:

Hi I'm User18337

They'll shake your hand and tell you their name. At this point you can launch into a conversation asking them how they know your friend and general chit chat about the event you're at. Or if you don't want to chat you can just leave it at that, you've introduced yourself and that's the important thing. This other person might be in the same position as you, feeling awkward about not being introduced and/or not knowing what to say to you, so you'll be helping them out as well.

If this is too much for you or you don't have the confidence to approach this directly, maybe just have a word with your friend before the event so you know who's coming, or ask them to introduce you when you arrive if you're too nervous to introduce yourself.

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    "Or if you don't want to chat you can just leave it at that, you've introduced yourself and that's the important thing." Literally stopping the interaction here would be a little awkward, generally if I'm introducing myself to somebody, but don't want to continue past the name exchange bit (or even if I do) I generally acknowledge the introduction with a "Pleased to meet you" or analogous phrase. – spiral succulent May 30 '18 at 21:53
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    Commenting on the timing would be helpful. Popping up unexpectedly can throw the person off, making sure they are aware of what you are about to do can help the interaction go more smoothly. – Jesse May 31 '18 at 1:19
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Use the mutual friend to start the conversation, as that's the person you're probably both comfortable with. Approach the mutual friend (alone or even while they're with their friend) and say:

Hey [Friend Name], I don't think you've introduced me to your friend!

This method has helped me meet new friends at all manner of social gatherings. In my experience, my friend will usually take their cue to introduce me to their friend. Or sometimes the friend will even take the initiative and introduce themselves.

If you feel awkward or you're worried about how to keep the conversation going, I've found it's very easy to follow up with the classic:

Nice to meet you! How do you two know each other?

This usually opens up the conversation nicely and gives all parties involved some room to move the conversation to something they enjoy.

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    I've seen this done many times and it absolutely works. You could also say something similar directly to the friend-of-a-friend: "Our friend seems to have forgotten to introduce us. Hi, I'm [name], and you are?" while extending your hand to shake. – Kat May 30 '18 at 19:42
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You are located in the Philippines, but you say that the culture is western.

You may want to consider not only how you come across to the people you are with but also how you appear to others around you; if that's the concern you're expressing. You don't want to part ways and have everyone question your behaviour.

Here are short excerpts from one award winning site for manners and etiquette, Commisceo Global - it's useful to have more than one opinion and to be comfortable with the advice, search for similar guides.

I think that the Philippine approach would have been better, particularly the way family is viewed.

Phillippines Guide - Meeting Etiquette

  • Initial greetings are formal and follow a set protocol of greeting the eldest or most important person first.
  • A handshake, with a welcoming smile, is the standard greeting.
  • Close female friends may hug and kiss when they meet.
  • Use academic, professional, or honorific titles and the person's surname until you are invited to use their first name, or even more frequently, their nickname.

USA Guide - Meeting & Greeting

  • American greetings are generally quite informal and casual.
  • It is becoming more common in social situations not to shake hands upon meeting and simply smile or nod.
  • When people are introduced handshakes are common accompanied with a “How d’ya do?”, “How you doing?” or “How are you”? depending on where in the US you are.
  • Within business handshakes are generally expected when meeting and leaving.
  • Pleasantries are exchanged out of courtesy rather than being genuine.
  • Rather than say “bye” Americans may also use terms such as “call me some time,” “let’s do lunch” or “see you around” as politer ways of departing.
  • If introducing someone, use their full name and a bit of information about them, for example, “This is Larry Whyte; he works at the local school as a science teacher.”

Disclaimers: It is important to bear in mind that these guides act as basic and general introductions only. They are not in any way definitive.

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Note that a very common scenario where this happens is when people who should be introducing you as a matter of basic courtesy, sometimes don't because they don't remember the other person's name in the first place, or they find the whole 'introductions' thing awkward themselves (e.g. "what do I introduce them as?", etc).

Typically they are embarrassed to admit this, and are also secretly hoping you'd go ahead and introduce yourself independently first, so that they can remember the other person's name too / avoid the awkwardness, etc (at which point they can also go, "oh yes, sorry, I forgot to introduce you two, hahah, silly me!").

So don't assume that if you're not properly introduced to other members of the group that it is because there was no need to. Just go over and say "hello, my name is X" and remove the awkwardness for everyone involved. If you don't particularly feel the need to go through small talk after that, or can't think of a topic to talk about, there's no need for that either. Just say "nice to meet you" and then go back to doing whatever it was you were doing with your friends, and that's totally fine*. That way, even if something comes up later you can talk to them about, you can now do so without being embarrassed that you haven't met them.


* obviously, having said that, if you're not planning to hold small talk with someone, obviously it's best to get the "nice to meet you" bit as soon as you're introduced to that group setting, otherwise it becomes awkward if you walk up to someone about an hour in, and then walk straight off again.

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In Western culture, it is not uncommon to introduce yourself in social events, particularly in an informal setting like the one you describe. A way you can do it that looks and sounds natural is the following:

(Extending your hand for them to shake).

Hi! I don't think we have met. I'm Anna. Nice to meet you!

A longer version, in which you may prompt the other person to start some conversation so you get to know each other a little more, is

Hi! I don't think we have met. I'm Anna, and I sing in Bob's choir/play in Bob's soccer team/went to grad school with Bob/etc. Nice to meet you!

Likely, the other person will reply something like

Nice to meet you, too! I am Charles, Bob's family friend/I go to reading club with Bob/etc.

And from here you can hopefully start some conversation to break the ice on the hobbie/work/whatever they mentioned, and make it less awkward to be in a social setting with someone you don't know.

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    We expect answers to be more substantial than just saying "do this." Can you edit this to provide some supporting arguments explaining why you think that this will address the OP's needs. – sphennings May 31 '18 at 13:11

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