Situation #24 – What’d you say?

22 07 2008

The situation: picture yourself with a few friends in a bar. Not any bar, but a loud bar. To the left of you, a crowd is having an unruly discussion about the state of modern pop music. To the right, a group is debating the pros and cons of bar soap versus liquid body wash. There is a band playing some tragic indie rock. The result of all this is you can’t hear a damn thing. Your friend, farthest away from you, is telling you what seems to be a very entertaining story. His arms are flailing in enthusiasm, your other friends are engrossed in this story. He finishes his rant/story/spiel and looks at you, waiting for a response. Was your friend talking about his trek through Nepal, admitting his ongoing crush on Bea Arthur, or was he sadly recounting the details of his dogs death? You don’t know, but you do know you need to respond.

The solution: there are a few important tidbits that you should be aware of:

First, you can only ask someone to repeat something twice. After this, you look like a fool. When someone is telling a detailed story, asking someone to repeat a line of the story, twice, every thirty seconds can proove to be as annoying as PeeWee Herman’s laugh. Its best  to just admit to yourself you won’t catch the story and use this as an opportunity to work on your soothing sounds of understanding.

Second, be wary of responding with the standard “yeah, great” or “oh.” If someone just told you about loosing all their money in a pyramid scheme and you respond “great” or “oh”, you may be confused with a grade A douche. Perhaps even an A+ douche.

We see only one possible solution to this situation. After your friend looks at you for a response, nod with an inquisitive and thoughtful look on your face and then say “You know, this story really reminds me of my friend Paul. I think he would really appreciate what you just said, you would really like him.”

Potential future awkward, you friend asks you to meet this Paul character. Say he is working overseas with an NGO and won’t be back for years. Bonus points here because you have compared your friend to Paul, the generous creature who devotes his life to those less fortunate.



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