Bar Talk: Talking to Strangers without Being a Dick

Bar Talk: Talking to Strangers without Being a Dick

If there’s one thing I love about social media, it’s the conversations and topics that come from it. Every day at work I overhear a table next to me full of men talking about random stuff. Sometimes it’s local high school football, sometimes it’s politics, and others they delve into craft beer. I hear them and I want to be a part of it. I want to go over and say, “I couldn’t help but overhear you guys talking about beer! What have you tried lately that you love?” and just geek out for awhile. I never do. I tweeted about my desire to join up with them and chat craft beer for awhile but my fear of doing so and many asked why? Why would I be scared to talk to these randos about something I’m passionate about? I’m so outgoing and outspoken and friendly, what in the world is keeping me from getting in there with the guys?

You know what it is? I don’t want to sound like a dick. I don’t want to come off as that person who thinks they know more than you. I don’t want sound braggy, and I don’t want be one-uppity. When I’m out in public, I usually have a beer in hand and can check myself lest I wreck myself. I can gauge the level of interest others have in what I’m saying. I can see the opportunity to make a recommendation and know when to keep myself out. I can quickly assess how deep into the rabbit hole I want to go with my obsession love for craft beer. But in the workplace, with no beer in hand to break the ice, I’m terrified. I’m shy. I’m apprehensive.

If there’s one thing that I absolutely hate about the craft beer community, it’s the snobbish one-uppity dicks that you can’t even carry a normal conversation with. Is there anything worse than ‘that guy’ that can’t just let you enjoy your beer without the “yeah but Heady is still better” sneer? It makes me cringe, gives me douche chills, and I know I’m not alone. And, we’re not the only ones who do this. I’ve also seen some of the weirdest wine snobs out in public who can’t help but scoff at your basic wine choice and can’t stop their stories of rare wines and “how this one tastes so much more like slate than granite” from pouring out of their mouths like toxic sludge. Knowing and learning how to talk about something without sounding like a dick takes time, practice, and the desire to even want to do so in the first place.

Bar Talk: Talking to Strangers without Being a Dick

I’ve touched on this before in my post about being a ‘Recovering Beer Snob’ and I still think that understanding the way that you present yourself matters. First impressions are key. I’m energetic and 97% of the time I’m a ray of damn sunshine, and that’s not an accident. If you want to be an ambassador for something you’re passionate about, you have to take the time to care about what you say and do. I’m not saying I’m 100% perfect, I still have moments where I drink a little more than I should and dance like an idiot around the bar. I still get snobby sometimes, too. But, I don’t want to be ‘that person,’ and you shouldn’t be either. Here’s some advice:

  • Listen. Get out of your own head and take a second to process what the other person is saying. It’s not always about you.
  • Take a hint. Not every complete stranger is looking to chat with someone else. If they don’t want to talk about what their drinking our their travels just take a hint. Seriously.
  • Educate. If your stranger decides they do want to engage in conversation with you, try to be informative not braggy, unless the conversation takes that route. Open a discussion about what you like and don’t like about each beer, offer similar beers, and provide insight.

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