Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Guide To Common Introduction Questions

If you go to BYU, you will inevitably go thru the same 9 or 10 questions every time you meet someone new. It’s a little ritual we all do. I have been in many of these interactions, and I have noticed that many people struggle with the exercise. That's why I'm here, to break it down nice and simple and guide you through it step by step.

What's your name?

It is commonly known that after a girl meets a guy, she will immediately start imagining herself with his name. They can't help it, especially when they meet a stud like me. So if you are a guy with a freaking weird last name, keep that info to yourself as long as possible. No girl wants to be a Mrs. Wiener or Mrs. Butts (especially if her first name is Seymour). Also overly ethic names like Neiderhofer or Tomescheski can also be kept on the down low; girls like to be able to pronounce their future surnames, not sound like they are sneezing. No need to jump the gun with your Polish pride.

Also if you have a super common name like John and there is 7 Johns in your ward, you have 2 options. 1) be so much better than all the other Johns that you can be known as THE John or 2) start going by a different name, college is for new beginnings right? Why don't you start being called Sven? That's a great name. Sounds like a gentle viking. Good ole Sven.

What's your major?

Now this is a delicate one, the person wants to know how smart/ambitious/rich you are or will be. A lot depends on your gender. I already went over my thoughts on girl's majors in a earlier post. Some majors are just horrible, like if you are a guy majoring in Dance, and people will judge you (and rightfully so). You might want to stick with the whole "I'm not really sure yet, I'm kind of undecided". No one will be satisfied with that answer, but it should buy you some time. One strategy, skillfully employed by many boys at BYU, is to say that you are Pre-something. "Oh I'm pre-dental, or Pre-Med, or Pre-Law, or Pre-President of the United States. None of those actually exist, but they still check all the smart/ambitious/rich boxes, without actually doing anything.

Another strategy is to tell the asker your major, and then immediately launch into an explanation of what your real plans are. This leads us to our next (related) question.

What are you planning on doing with that?

How smart/ambitious/rich are you? Part 2. Most commonly asked if it’s a very broad sounding major like English and Math, or if it’s a seemingly useless one like Art History. You rarely hear this question if you are majoring in Nursing or Accounting. (Unless you are a girl and the guy is trying to determine how much you want to have a career, but that's a whole other game).

Let's be honest, a lot of us have no clue what we will be doing when we graduate. But because this is a forward looking hypothetical question, it is very easy to answer with things that sound good. "Oh I am looking into graduate programs for this, or careers in this, or might do this" You don't need to know what you will do, you just need to know stuff to say that sounds good for when you get asked the question.

What do you like to do?

Other variations of this question include, "what do you like to do for fun?", or "what are your hobbies?" or the most direct "are you a boring person?" No one answers this question honestly so you shouldn't either. If everyone was honest, most answers include: stalking people on Facebook, Pinterest, video games, watching Netflix, or stuffing my face with ice cream. But instead everyone says the cool/acceptable things they have done at least once, but may not spend a lot of time currently doing. Usually you want to throw in at least one active one so you don't seem like a fat lard (running, basketball, biking, yoga, hiking, rock climbing). Throw in one intellect one (reading literature, writing hilarious blogs, discovering the cure for cancer). Finally maybe a charitable/spiritual one for good measure (going to the temple, volunteering at the homeless shelter, mentoring kids, etc). So many great hobbies to choose from, this should be a cake walk.

Where are you from?

If you are from somewhere lame, just pick the coolest city nearby and claim that (it’s what everyone does anyway). "I'm Las Vegas, well actually Henderson, but it’s the same thing"

If you are from Texas, I have note for you:

No one cares about Texas.



How many brothers and sisters do you have?

If you are an only child, just lie, just say 5 or something. No one trusts a Mormon only child. If you are averse to lying, just say (with the biggest, goofiest smile you can muster) "everyone is my brother and sister haha" (maybe spread your arms out wide to drive home your point (and maybe while you already feeling brotherly and already have your arms spread, give a stranger a hug and greet them as brother/sister)).

Also if you have like 16 brothers and sisters, just know that can scare people away as well. If you think that might be an issue, just go with the old shout the first half, whisper the second half trick. "How many siblings do I have? SIX......teenHOW MANY DO YOU HAVE? (Note: only really works for 14-19, and I guess technically it could work for 40-49 ......and all numbers greater than 60.....anyways)

Where do you live?

This is a super loaded question. There are obviously certain stigmas attached to certain apartments. If in doubt, use vague directions. "Oh just south of campus" "West of campus" "Under campus" etc.

Where did you serve your mission?

This is easy, if you went stateside make sure you emphasize it was Spanish-speaking or Swahili-speaking or something-speaking. Even if you never got to use your Spanish, or even if you were not actually technically called for "Spanish-speaking", you still said "Hola" to that "Hermano" that one time, so it still counts. Serving in Boise Spanish-speaking sounds ten times better than just serving in Boise.

If you never went on a mission, this can be a pretty awkward question to answer depending on the situation. The best response I've seen is as follows: Say (with the biggest, goofiest smile you can muster) "I'm a missionary right now! Every member missionary right? haha" (maybe spread your arms out wide to drive home your point (and maybe while you already feeling in the missionary mood and already have your arms spread, give a stranger a hug and greet them as elder/sister))

Do you know so and so?

This WILL come up at some point. Many of the previous questions can spark this one. Mormons have an uncontrollable urge to make a connection, any connection, between themselves and the person they just met. It’s always useless when a connection is successfully made, and yet always vaguely disappointing when you fail to make a connection. (No joke though, from this particular question I once figured out the girl I was talking to was my second cousin, luckily she wasn't cute so there was no conflict of interest, but it’s kind of scary to think about no? Good motivation to do that family history work aye?)

Anyways, pro tip for this question: Always just say you know the person. It will make you seem like you know a lot of people, and people like people that know a lot of people. "Do I know Sven? Of course I know Sven! Great guy. You would expect nothing less with a name like Sven. Although I do remember him being a raging alcoholic. Haha I guess no one is perfect" Bam. Now she thinks I know a lot of people (and that her cousin is a raging alcoholic). Mission accomplished.

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