After the age of twenty-five people tend to spend less time cringing with embarrassment at the memory of their social gaffes. As time marches on, adults become less self-conscious and, ideally, less egocentric and more considerate of others. So the gaffes don't seem to happen so often. However, there is an area of the social minefield where the hazards only get worse as one goes along. This is the business of introducing people at parties.
Things are relatively easy if the party is a small one—the host and hostess have time to brief people telephonically about what the "point" of the other guests is. And it is their duty to brief everyone. Doing so avoids any embarrassing spelling out of status while names are being exchanged—or code words to the effect of "He may not look very interesting, but he is our Attorney General." A thorough briefing also affords the hosts the chance to add to the sum of human happiness by enabling chatter opportunities. "Oh, if only I had known that your mother used to be Jo Gordon Cumming before she married!" I heard a woman exclaim with dismay five minutes after said mother had left a party. "I used to know her brother William so well in Scotland."
An inadequate supply of information can actually be risky, as a friend of mine learned at a house party on Barbados. Two other guests were also staying in the house, and as the three of them went up to change for dinner, one asked my friend, "Is anyone joining us tonight?" "Just the dullards who are staying at Sandy Lane, I think," my friend casually replied. She knew that a couple currently on vacation at a nearby hotel were coming over, but because her hostess had failed to be specific, she assumed the worst. Imagine her discomfort when, descending the staircase an hour later, she witnessed the following scene. Couple One, the other houseguests, standing in the hallway, hands outstretched to greet Couple Two coming in the door: "Hello. You must be the Dullards!"