There are some situations where awkward conversation is necessary. You’re not feeling Blind Date Bob, but can’t really say ‘Check Please’ before you even cut your Chicken. You’re walking to class and cross paths with random acquaintance Annie, who has very little to say, yet, unfortunately, the same place to go as you. You’re getting your haircut, and Hairstylist Helen is dying for conversation. So you partake, because, well, she does have some power (aka, the potential for severe damage via scissors).
Fortunately, we’re able to generally pick-and-choose who to chat with. Unfortunately, sometimes the choice is not mutual. And, believe me, non-consentual conversation is killer.
Case in point: A few friends and I went out for drinks for Mardi Gras this past Tuesday. We were carelessly chatting when, lo and behold, a non-consentual conversationalist decided to join the party. This is common at bars, but awkwardness is generally escapable via two routes A.) I’ll be back, I have to use the bathroom (and then plan your escape). or 2.) Casually inserting ‘my boyfriend’ into conversation (regardless of whether you actually have one—fiancee works even better).
So Chatty Charlie sits down. Opens with a doozy of a pick-up line: “I came over because I saw you guys checking out my friend.” [His friend was at least 15 years older than us and not even arguably unattractive. We were not.]
We acknowledge him, but barely. The five of us continue our own conversations, not making it a point to include him in the mix.
Chatty Charlie decides to pull up a chair. He inserts himself directly into conversation. And sits. For at least a half hour.
None of us would have minded this if he was actually a relatively nice guy. The friend we apparently oogled decided to stop by mid-nonconsentual chat, and then Chatty Charlie decided to give his impression of each of us. Loudly and non-sensored.
Chatty Charlie eventually left. He may have had an MBA, but he man, did he miss the lessson on lingering.