So the other day, my cousin's girlfriend's dog's sister's boyfriend's uncle…

146. Explaining who someone is through degrees of separation

Image from explosm.net
Image from explosm.net

Have you ever been telling a story, but seem to find no other way to describe someone other than saying how they are associated to you? Here’s a real life example of someone explaining to me who this one guy “Jake” was:

Jake, you know that guy, I think you’ve seen him around. He is my sister’s dog’s friend’s–

Wait what? Your “dog’s” friend?

My SISTER’S dog’s friend’s–

Wait. Your “sister’s dog’s” friend?

Are you going to let me tell you? Yes! My sister’s dog, Diggy, has a doggy friend.. I forget his name. I think he brought him over so that he could do it with her. Yay puppies. Anyway, my sister’s dog’s friend’s owner’s wife’s son from her first marriage. Remember him?

Uh. After trying to follow for a little bit, I nodded and said no. Eventually I wrote it down and later found the receipt in my pocket so I figured I’d share it.

It can be pretty challenging to explain who someone is without telling one of those tales. You’re probably halfway through your explanation before you realize that you’ve probably confused the other person. The other person is probably carefully listening to you and trying to memorize what you just said in order to repeat it back to himself or herself in order to make sure he or she got the right message.

There has got to be a better way to do this.

Any ideas?

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