We all know there is a threshold where people are too dumb to realize they’re dumb. In bars I always end up eavesdropping on people and a character I love to hear and hate to be noticed by we’ll call The badger.
The guy who just watched a video on something and thinks he’s opening a conversation with strangers by asking extremely specific questions from his latest knowledge base.
They lean forward as you lean away, they answer their own questions as you shake them off, they inevitably dip into politics which always gets The Badger quickly into sexism, racism, or any of the social phobias and will keep talking if although they don’t find an eager audience.
What I don’t get about these guys is why they can’t interpret stimuli.
On the topic of taboo subjects we all suss each other out with language. In a radio documentary I heard a gay man talk about how he gets a little gayer around new people and especially people he thinks might also be gay. His point was ‘gaydar’ isn’t about receiving information in a vacuum, it’s a mutual send and receive.
I started to notice the same thing with guitar players. Throwing out little terminology here and there, gauging a new persons level before asking any direct questions.
And most importantly, letting it go if none of those terms elicited a response.
Which is where our unaware rude barfly The Badger comes in. They want to talk about their guitar, or whatever conspiracy theory, or which minority or generation is ruining the world, and they don’t care that you don’t care.
Or they seem to not care. Because they’ve surely run into people who agree with them and should be able to tell that this interaction isn’t going that way.
It’s that they think what they’re saying is more important, and the fact that they’re talking is inherently important. They figure you’ll get on board when they just make enough points strong enough.
I’ve been dealing with this type of person forever. You don’t just find it in bars, you find it in high school guys who are destined to become barflys. And I’ve yet to come up with a consistently good strategy. I’ve been extremely rude by ignoring them, I’ve been extremely rude by engaging and demolishing any idea they present, I’ve been super nice in an attempt to creep them out, I’ve been authentically nice out out of a feeling that I never give people a chance, and it always winds up feeling like a theft of my time.
I know it shouldn’t be our job to work around the unworked faults of others but pragmatically we have to acknowledge some people will not perceive their flaws on a timeline that suits us and we, with the curse of awareness, do have to do what we can to try to make the world a less awful place for as many as possible, objectively including ourselves.