Day 24 – Part Deux – I’m not your buddy, guy.

9 Oct

So I’m out last night and I meet up with a friend from Bonn (second best capital city in all of Germany). After going to a CD release party we head over to Belushi’s to catch the first few innings of the ALCS game one (go Tigers!). It’s about 00:30 and there’s an empty table with a good view of the game but it has no chairs. So Nicole and I hunt around the bar and find two seats that are not being used. We move them over and set up camp to catch up and watch the game. I then head to the bar to order a beer for me and a radler for Nicole. For those of you who are unaware, a radler is a beer with Sprite (or lemonade with beer, I can never remember – it should be obvious why). Anyway it’s taking forever and while I’m waiting, I notice Nicole is no longer sitting by herself as some dude has sat down at our table.

I return and am introduced to Thomas and while he does not give his country of origin it’s obvious he’s from Australia (hint – just listen for the word “heaps”). I immediately wonder how long he’s going to stay, I’m not annoyed – more curious to see how this is going to play out. I will say that my shields were up, he seems pretty drunk and he’s not really saying anything of interest, that is until… after about ten minutes of awkward conversation he announces that Nicole and I are pretty arrogant people. He seems to be interpreting our reluctance to engage in meaningful conversation with a complete stranger (who quite frankly was being rude) as arrogance.

In retrospect had he (after I showed up with two drinks) given me back my chair I would have been a bit more relaxed with him, but he didn’t so I wasn’t. So I said, “look buddy you’re not the first guy to ever start talking to a woman who was sitting by herself in a bar, but when a guy shows up with two drinks you’re supposed to stick around for a minute or two, say something funny, and move on”. He apologized and a couple minutes later he was gone, upstairs playing pool. I had a similar experience to this about 8 years ago. I was in a bar, having a drink with a girl I had just met a few hours earlier, and this guy just totally joins in and starts hitting on her.

It seems that I never have the clever thing to say when it’s needed. In situations like this, my preference is to say something that *indirectly* indicates what I want – this is to give the other guy an escape route. The idea is *not* to be rude but to be assertive. You want to avoid the inevitable escalation “hey buddy, chill out” that will make him look relaxed and you look not relaxed.

So last night after all this happened the best I could come up with was, “you mind if we switch places so I can sit and watch the game?” I’d like to think he would have gotten the hint.

Guy

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