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ANTS ON A LOG

Conversation interruptus:

I was at a bar with a friend who I get to see maybe once a month.  We like to hang out for a couple of hours after work, catch up, talk about our day, ideas, etc., and have a few whiskeys.  In the middle of the conversation, this other guy came up, interrupted us and started chiming in on what we were talking about.  He wasn’t obnoxious about it, but kind of pushy.  Like he stood there staring at us until there was a break in conversation so he could add his two cents.  This went on for 10 or 15 minutes, and then he asked “Do you guys mind if I join you?”  I said, frankly, yes I did, and he went away.  I was annoyed and didn’t want to be rude, but I didn’t want to talk to this guy, and neither did my friend.  How would you have handled the situation?

LISTEN:

Without a verbatim report, I have to say it’s difficult to know whether or not you were rude, as this guy most certainly was.  If he asked, “Do you mind if I join you?” and you snapped at him and said “Yes” in a harsh tone while staring him down – that’s kind of dickish.

Sure he was annoying and interrupting you, but that’s no excuse to be awful yourself.

If, however, you said something more along the lines of, “Well, actually – look, it’s great to meet you, but my friend and I don’t really get a chance to see each other much so this is kind of our only time to hang out.  Have a great night, though…” then I would say you handled it perfectly.

Drunker people may need some sterner encouragement, but it doesn’t seem like anyone was particularly inebriated.

I’ll leave that for a later time.

The trick here is to not show any signs of anger or frustration, but to be friendly and kind and firm.  Some lonely soul looking for friends doesn’t need your unpleasantness, despite being out of bounds.  A better trick is to feel compassion for these types of people, while maintaining the boundaries you deserve for the cultivation of your own friendship.

A bar is a public place, and the roof, in this instance, does not constitute an introduction – so he was clearly in the wrong.  You are well within your rights and all rights of propriety to say thank you, but we’re going to get on with our conversation – just don’t compound that with being a douche bag.

L’addition, s’il vous plaît… Merci!

 

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