‘How we Met': A Guide to Giving Good Story


“So, how did you guys meet?” an acquaintance asks when he runs into you and your very obvious new accessory, a striking gentleman on your arm. And at the point when most people usually answer the ‘how we met’ question with ease (and enthusiasm), you and your boy both pause to the point of strenuous, awkward silence. It is in that exact moment that you wish you two had your story straight by now (or met in a more orthodox way), because something…anything would be better than sharing the real story of how you met.

So as the awkward silence drags on, and as one of you forcefully attempts to break it with some stunted laughter, you stumble over your words with an attempt to give good story and undo the undoable awkwardness. Avoid the awkward and get your story straight. The how we met answer is consistently called upon at the beginning of a new relationship when you two are making your rounds debuting one another at functions and with families, so be prepared. If the actual story of how you met is one you’d rather not share (usually due to a fear of presumed judgment) then feel free to adapt your story, but get it straight and don’t add in excessive and unnecessary details. It’s ok instead of disclosing the real reason to instead brush it off as meeting through mutual friends, and from knowing of each other before you got to know each other. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be honest and to say things exactly how they happen when people ask us even when we aren’t so comfortable with sharing. Allow yourself to be reserved.

I think of the story of how my bubbie (grandmother) met my zaidy (grandfather) and it turns out that she was in a serious relationship with my zaidy’s brother, but started to have the hots for my zaidy and ended things with her then boyfriend to be with my zaidy. Of course, in her eightysomethings that story can be told without the added guilt and judgment from others and – if anything – we perceive it as a great, entertaining and endearing story about how bad she wanted my zaidy, but at the time it was inappropriate and likely offensive and they had to avoid disclosing the real way they met.

“How do I know whether I should just be honest with the how we met story?” you ask yourself as you read my blog. Here’s when you should come up with a new one:

- if you met on an online dating site and are embarrassed to admit it
- if you met while either one (or both of) you were in another relationship
- if he used to date your best friend and you don’t want to own up to that story each and every time
- if you met bonding over a mutual hate or dislike of someone else

What ‘how we met’ story would keep you from sharing the real details?

- Jenny Jen

Photo Credit: Source.

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3 thoughts on “‘How we Met': A Guide to Giving Good Story

  1. Jenny Jen, you know I love your posts and thoughts, but I'm not sure I completely agree on this one. I can see shrugging off embarassment with a simple "It's a long story" but fabricating a story seems dangerous. People close to you will always know how you met, and it's bound to get around that you've created this embelllishment or possibly even a lie.I've got the "we met online" story. Granted we always laugh while we tell people, because I don't think either of us expected things to happen that way for us, but it did. I'd rather be upfront about it. Not to mention I know a few people who have given online dating a shot and had success because they saw it work for me first.I understand someone not wanting to tell their grandmother that they got wasted at some bar and he was the one servcing the drinks. But for those situations a simple "I ate at his restaurant" would work and it's not a lie, or even an embellishment.

  2. Thanks as always for your input. I agree – the point of this piece isn't to insinuate that people who are embarrassed should fabricate a whole new story, but instead should at least of a discussion with their partner to prepare for when people ask how they met, so they can avoid the awkward silence. However, I do think that people shouldn't feel obligated to admit detail for detail how they met. In this instance to say 'It's complicated' or 'Long story, but boy am I ever lucky', would be good options to avoid getting into unnecessary baggage or detail.

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