I like networking and socializing and I tend to meet a lot of people. At a networking event a couple of days ago, I met a guy from Ukraine. The first thing that popped into my head when I heard that word was Crimea. However, I stopped myself from bringing up that topic. Not out of some sort of PC sensitivity, but simply because my bet is that this guy had been discussing that topic 15 times that day already. It’s not original.
My personal experience with this is the silly one that when people hear my last name (Dupont), they say “oh like Dupont and Dupond”? If you don’t know, those are characters in the Tin Tin comic books, in English known as Thomson and Thompson. Now, this doesn’t bother me, I have no childhood trauma with this name or anything, but it does strike me as ironic that people typically look at me rather pleased with themselves when they bring it up. They feel clever and informed because their mind made the connection in an instant. Well guess what: it doesn’t make you look that clever.
I witnessed an american introducing himself to a guy that I don’t know where was from (I am in Spain at the moment but he didn’t have the local accent). When he said that he was from The States, the other guy blurted out “Oh, McDonalds! Haha”, almost like a tourette’s-reaction. The forgiving smile on the americans face was priceless, but even if this was a bit of an extreme example, I think it emphasizes how you might look if you just blurt out the first thing that pops into your head.