Who Are You?

The question I would like to propose is this. Who are you when you are introducing yourself to someone new? How do you sum yourself up in a few phrases?

I spoke to a wonderful woman/client of 80 this week, who described herself as an “80 year old stroke survivor”.However, after speaking to her I realised she was so much more than this; she was a teacher, a passionate business woman, a grandmother, a free spirit etc.

Another new customer I spoke to introduced herself by stating the country and neighbourhood she was from.

I know it makes a difference to who you are talking too and the context etc (or does it??)

I know when I worked in my former profession as a Criminal Psychologist I rarely mentioned my occupation when introduced to someone for the first time outside a business context. My profession became a real conversation killer. It made people really nervous of talking to me in case I was analysing their every word, their body language etc. Usually I wasn’t. But sometimes when someone was really elaborating their life my husband has said a “wry smile” would come over my face subconsciously. So maybe I was always “on the job”. So I rarely said what I did/was. If pushed I would say I worked in research.

But what does that say? It says I’m making judgements or assumptions about who I’m talking to, and therefore short-changing them, but more importantly short-changing myself!

Now I would sum myself up as: “I am a corporate refugee, a lover of life and all things sparkly,a creator of my own world etc etc” (which I have used before, and to some very strange looks!)But I'm still not sure that sums up who I really am.

What about you? How do you describe yourself if introducing yourself outside your professional/work context.

I would love to hear all your comments.


  1. I let people know I am a wife, a Mom of three awesome individuals, a writer, a Child of God. I have always tried to follow the French and not make my job who I am. Once people get to know me, they eventually learn where I work and what I do...but it is not who I am.

    Sadly, I am afraid our society in the States puts to much emphasis on what we do rather than who we are. We need to move away from such thinking.

    Thank you for such a thought-provoking post -as always!

  2. Thank you so much Beth for your comments. Unfortunately the States is not the only one. Spain, I think is even worse. When I came to Spain 10 years ago, not only would people ask your profession, but the second question was the profession of your parents! It was their way of deducing your class very quickly! I found it so offensive that I usually shocked them with an answer they weren't anticipating (and got a great thrill from doing so!)

  3. I love your posts...they always make me think, I love to think! lol Downside is it also makes me realise how little I value myself too! haha...I will be back to post again on how I would sum myself up in a few phrases when I have 'thought' a little more!

  4. Oh I am terrible at this, I always undermine myself at put myself down, I've always had low self esteem and can't even fake it. I need to learn a stock answer and practice it. Great post.

  5. I worked in a bar every weekend and was (and am!) trying to set up a business. People there always asked me what do you besides working in the bar, you going to school etc. And I always said no I'm a business owner. People were always suprised because they didn't see that answer coming.
    But although my business is tiny tiny tiny and doesn't bring much income I believe in myself and my business!

    But I can relate to this topic,because there was a time I was so ashamed for who I was and what I did. (Just having a normal job in a shop) But I am who I am and that should be enough!

    Thnx for posting this Vanessa its very interesting to let yourself think about your own life.

  6. Dawn, Tabitha and Mieke thank you so much for posting.
    @Dawn-so pleased you enjoy the posts. I wish I could say I am a natural writer ;-)
    @Tabitha-Impossible to think you have low self-esteem!But then thinking back to a couple of posts you wrote recently, I "get it" :-)
    @Mieke-Great example of giving people the answer the don't expect-Love it!!

  7. Hi Vanessa, sweet. I can't tell you how much I love your posts. I feel like I've left a therapist's office after each visit ... looking at myself from a different angle each week! Who am I and how would I describe myself? Well, I guess the first thing that came to my mind was that WHAT I do IS who I am. I've always been an artist since a child. And feeling that my job perfectly describes me is a good thing, I think. If what I did didn't fit, I'd probably not be so anxious to mention it. But since it's a big part of the puzzle of who I am, I do. The second most common response from me would be to state that I'm married, where I live "oh, I KNOW that house" they usually say. The house gives clues to who I am. Always lit up at night so that it feels happy, always a pretty floral wreath on the iron gate. This is a woman who cares about her surroundings, it says. I rarely ever say very important in-depth clues as to who I REALLY am such as "and did you know that I'm also an adventurer, easily bored, am attracted to beauty and city lights and exciting places and at the same time love walking down a quiet country path? Did you know that I am a horsewoman? That I have a big imagination? Did you know that I love to entertain, decorate, and write? Did you know that I love chocolate, raspberries and HAVE to read for 15 minutes at least before sleeping at night?" ... but I never really say those things upon meeting someone ... its personal information reserved for my close friends. And now you know ... because you are one. ;)

  8. Oooh Sandy! Your response is wonderful. You too always give such lovely, thoughtful comments; I love that you really think about the post and the questions I pose, and I thank you so much for that (as I know how busy you and all my followers are). I love chocolate and raspberries also! I really loved your last sentence-what a sweetie you are :-)

  9. I'm not bothered by first introducing myself by way of my occupation. I state that I am a finance professional, a volunteer financial counselor, and the author of my blog. I will occasionally get a "Oh, I really need to work on my finances!" response, but I attribute it to people feeling nervous. My offering my blog as a piece of who I am usually generates conversation, and some people find it interesting that a finance-oriented person makes room in her life for fashion, style, literature, etc.


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