I have a fairly staunch rule I set into place years ago.
I don’t let random men buy me drinks in bars. I know, many just gasped in horror, but its my rule and its served me well for many years and avoided many misunderstandings.
The other night, I was at a bar in downtown Nashville, visiting with friends and watching my husband play, when a guy decided to buy me and another friend of mine a drink. Under the impression (based on the conversation, etc.) that he knew my friend, I broke my rule and went along with it in the spirit of socializing with my friends.
I felt the need to walk away, though, when he would not take me seriously when I stated that my dream in life is to be a writer and that that is indeed what I have chosen as my career. Writing apparently was not a good enough for him and he kept pestering me for a different answer, and it was on that note that I walked away. I simply walked away and visited elsewhere until he left.
It was after this that I learned that he had been making a pill of himself with ALL the ladies in the bar and he was not, in fact, an acquaintance of my friend as I had believed. If he felt himself a “player,” he’d failed miserably.
Strike one: being a pill to all. Strike two: misrepresentation. Strike three: not taking me seriously.
It is cases like this that interactions both socially and professionally can be quite the minefield. You never know when someone is going to be legitimate. And it is within this uncertainty that I made my own three strikes in my discussion with this person.
1 – They make the first move, but reveal nothing about themselves.
In my interaction with this guy, I realized he told me nothing about himself, and I told him random facts about me. I was cagey, yes, but he learned I am married, work part-time at the bar, went to Texas A&M and that my passion is writing. None of this is exactly a secret, but its still more than I learned about him. I never asked, I admit. I didn’t want to know, and I hoped my disinterest in him would make it clear he needed to leave me alone. When it didn’t, I chose to walk away. But it is within this that I realized that I knew nothing about this guy. Nothing except that I didn’t trust him…
2 – Making an assumption.
No one told me this guy was an acquaintance of my friend. I drew that conclusion based on the fact that he was talking with my friend in close proximity, bought her a drink as well, and that they knew where one another was originally from. With those facts in hand, I made an assumption.
As my Dad reminds me regularly. Never assume. It makes an ass out of you and me. Call this a lesson proven true.
3 – Breaking my own rules.
When you have those personal rules, you stick with them. Go with your gut. Even if its not the most “cool” thing to do. Your instincts are there for a reason. Listen to them. I didn’t and I broke my rule of “no strange guy buying me a drink.” My very own strike three.
This whole thing is in the past and thus not worth my time to think about… however, its also a lesson to myself that I learned and will heed in the future.