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The situation

Last night I went to a bar after work to meet a friend to have a beer and catch up. There was a man "James" sitting next to us at the bar who had clearly taken an interest in our conversation, and after a few minutes, he jumped into it. I've met some very interesting people through random bar conversations (including the friend I was meeting last night), so I don't usually mind if people join conversations.

At first, the conversation with James was fairly normal. We finished the topic that he had jumped in on, made introduction, and then continued talking about a variety of topics. My friend and I started to get uncomfortable around the time we ordered a second beer. James insisted on paying and then interacted somewhat rudely with the bartender. What really crossed the line and cemented my friend's and my desire to end the conversation was when James was insistent that we try to "pick up" a couple of women, despite the fact that we had told him that we were both happily in relationships. He went so far as to approach a few women in the bar and insinuate that my friend and I were interested in them.

What we did

While James was distracted looking at the women in the bar, my friend and I manged to communicate with each other that we wanted to disassociate ourselves with him. We ultimately ended up closing our bar tabs and leaving.

What I'm looking for

In the future, how can I disassociate from a stranger at a bar who has latched on to my conversation without having to leave entirely? Ideally, I am looking for ways to do this non-confrontationally and without causing a scene (though I know this could be tricky if the stranger is inebriated).

  • 3
    Did you say anything to him to indicate that you weren't interested in being his "wingmen" other than that you were in relationships? Sometimes just saying that you are in a relationship isn't enough, although you would think it would be obvious. – DaveG Jun 27 at 17:39
  • @DaveG To answer your question no, however, he wasn't so much looking for a wingman as he was trying to be a wingman for us. As I mentioned in the question, he approached a few women and either told them or insinuated that my friend and I were interested in them. – Rainbacon Jun 27 at 17:43
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    I'm thinking that "oh my friends over there like you" is just an excuse to approach the women, which might be why he ignored your "we're not interested". – DaveG Jun 27 at 18:23
  • If James was a bit tipsy or gets drunk in a fast way, I double there's any communication that'd any good. – Paul Karam Jun 28 at 6:43
  • Is this bar something you plan on coming back to and possibly facing this person again, or are you looking for ways to distract a person without plainly rejecting them so you may enjoy yourself for the single time you are there? – lucasgcb Jun 28 at 11:47
1

I've had this happen a few times before while out at bars or in social situations involving drinking. Normally, someone that has James' extroverted personality has a hard time really accepting a "no" answer, no matter how polite you are. A lot of people have trouble "taking the hint", especially if they've been drinking. From personal experience, I've found that subtlety tends to be ineffective. Here are some tips that I find are effective:

Option 1: I'd suggest excusing yourselves one by one (bathroom, make a phone call, cigarette, etc.) and then meet up at a different part of the bar out of James' view. People like James that are comfortable jumping in on strangers' conversations will likely find another to join.

Option 2: Often times, bars aren't big enough for Option 1 to be viable. Unfortunately, if James hasn't joined another conversation and sees you return, he'll most likely continue trying to talk to you. You may have to cut your losses and leave the bar.

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