I recently attended a party thrown by friends. A few times throughout the evening I would be introduced to another guest, who would say, “Oh, I’ve heard so much about you!” They would then go on to mention something positive that my friend had said about my work, or our friendship, but I have to admit—my first initial reaction upon hearing “I’ve heard about you” was suspicion.
It’s natural to feel a little vulnerable or insecure when you hear that you are the subject of other people’s conversations. You wonder if people have been gossiping about you, or if someone has been sharing stories that you’d rather keep between friends? It’s a harmless statement, but sometimes we can’t help but feel a little paranoid and unsettled.
Yesterday I was delighted to discover that the New York Times’ Social Q’s column tackled this very subject, and I love the advice. If you are meeting someone new, instead of saying “I’ve heard so much about you” or “Bob’s told me a lot about you,” keep it positive by saying, “I’ve heard so many nice things about you.” This removes any doubt about the nature of these conversations and makes the person feel great.
Funny how a slight rewording can help eliminate any awkwardness!