How to Deal with Boring Dinner Guests
Even been on one of those dinners from hell, a gathering you’re absolutely obligated to attend, that would otherwise be perfect in every way — except that there’s one prickly guest at your table who blathers on forever and basically ruins the meal for everyone?
Today, I’ll be sharing one of my best-kept trade secrets. The advice I’m about to give should be packaged and sold, in which case I’d probably make a fortune. But you’re lucky because it’s free. Sometimes I can be so generous.
For the first time ever, I shall introduce the most effective method by which to counter the unwelcome company of our most dreaded dinner companions — including obnoxious in-laws, jerk-off co-workers, your former ex, boring strangers, and about half the world’s poker players. The topic of discussion will be how to effectively use blockers and buffers to enhance one’s restaurant experience.
If you haven’t heard of “blockers” or “buffers” before, don’t worry, neither have I. Hell, I’m making this stuff up as I go along.
When deployed for maximum effect, blockers and buffers are powerful tools that can rescue a night out and ensure a pleasurable meal for everyone, even in the cramped company of bores and braggarts. Put into action, blockers and buffers effectively neutralize the pungency of irritating dinner guests in the same way amino acids attack bad cholesterol once that greasy cheeseburger enters the body.
Before listing my recommendations, first, let’s examine this widespread problem more closely. Take the following test:
— Ever been to dinner and gotten seated next to the ass joker who won’t shut up?
— Ever dined out with the blowhard who talks only about himself and his accomplishments during the entire evening?
— Ever attended one of those dreaded dinners which included a never-ending conversation about trivial subjects which you had no interest in whatsoever?
— Ever been seated next to a hijacker, who constantly interrupts others and commandeers the table discussion?
If you’re normal, the correct answers are — yes, yes, yes, and yes.
What follows are the most effective countermeasures to stop these creeps:
Solution #1: Buffers
Definition — Buffers deflect the aim and/or muffle the impact of annoying table guests
Use — Invite one (or more) buffers to the dinner in order to abrogate the target. The worse the bore and braggart, the more buffers you will probably need. In lighter cases, one buffer should suffice. In more extreme cases, invite 2 or 3 buffers to your dinner table. Not only will much of the annoying chatter of the target be deflected and/or muffled, your buffer (invitees) with being misled into thinking more highly of you since you invited them to dinner and they have no idea why you reached out to them for the first time. Make sure you deploy talkative buffers. Shy buffers will not work. Also, be sure your buffers are not more irritating than the target, in which case you are royally fucked and might have to flip-flop the target to neutralize the out-of-control buffers. Yes, it’s tricky, folks.
Instructions — When dinner plans are initially being made, ask the annoying table guest in advance if (insert name of buffer/buffers) might be invited. Almost always, the target will agree to your terms. Then, make certain to pick a time and place that’s suitable to the buffers as there’s nothing worse than a “buffer no-show,” which leaves you hanging alone for the full dinner. When dinner commences, be sure the target is sufficiently introduced to the buffer and as much common ground between the two is established. This way, the buffer can maximize his or her airbag role on the impact of table discussion. After dinner is completed and provided the tactic was effective, make certain to bait both of the guests into “going out again sometime.” This way, you can repeat, if necessary. Think of a fire extinguisher.
Solution #2: Blockers
Definition — Blockers effectively screen out and ultimately hindermost, if not all contact with the target
Use — Seating arrangements are absolutely critical to the effect of using blockers. While the buffer’s primary role was to muffle much/most of the aggravating table chatter, the blocker goes one step further by blocking out the intended target as much as humanly possible. To this end, round tables should always be avoided. Square tables also prove to be ineffective with advanced blocking techniques. Blockers work best in larger groups and on rectangular tables of 6 or more. The blocker is designed to use all means necessary — including their body, mannerisms, talk, gestures (and if necessary — odor) — to screen out the target, thereby making direct one-on-one contact and table conversation next to impossible.
Instructions — When being seated, make sure there is a blocker positioned between you and the target. If the target is particularly annoying, then 2 or 3 blockers side-by-side might be necessary. The more distance you can place between yourself and the target using blockers, the less chance you will be forced to interact with the chump. Danger: Be very careful with blockers and do not waste them. For instance, if you block out the target, he or she might be inclined to go to the other side of the table and sit directly across from you, in which case you’re fucked so bad, you might as well fake an illness and head home. So, when using blockers make certain not to waste human capital and allow the target to checkmate your ass by moving across from you. Again, this is tricky art.
Solution #3: Bunker Busters
Definition — Bunker Busters are your own bores and braggarts intended to counterbalance and ultimately defeat the most irritating of company. This is “the nuclear option” of dinner conversation and should only be used in case of emergencies.
Use — Sometimes, buffers and blockers don’t work. These lighter measures just aren’t strong enough lacking the necessary caliber to immobilize the target. In the most extreme cases, the target dinner companion is intolerably irritating and offensive, the full-metal dinner jacket must be brought out and put into service. Bunker busters are your hand-picked allies who go a step beyond anything the target is capable of in terms of being irritating, becoming even more horrible to dine with in public. The advantage is, they’re yours which means you exercise some measure of control. Bunker Busters squash even the worst offenders and come with an added bonus — your target might refuse to come next time if the Bunker Buster shows up.
Instructions — Be careful, as Bunker Busters are like poison gas. They’re sometimes impossible to coral and can devastate an entire section of a restaurant, doing what’s called collateral damage. When your target is way beyond your capacity for endurance, one Bunker Buster should suffice. Invite the Bunker Buster to dinner and make sure he or she is seated as close to the target as possible. However, if the Bunker Buster is loud and obnoxious enough, seating location may not matter since your weapon can simply yell and shout over the other guests and drown out the bore or braggart. Make sure the Bunker Buster is trained properly in technique. Whatever story the bore or braggart tells, make certain the Bunker Buster has a much longer, louder, and more offensive story to tell, which tests the human endurance of the target. As for myself, I’m partial to Bunker Busters who talk very loud and use lots of profanity. Come to think of it, I’ve probably be invited to a few dinners as the Bunker Buster. If the target excuses himself/herself during the meal and then leaves — mission accomplished.
In closing, if I do ask you out to dinner sometime, there’s a decent chance that I am using you in some manner, especially if you’re not footing the bill. So pay close attention to the seating arrangements and follow my prompt. If you’re put into service to be my buffer, blocker, or bunker buster, I will expect a command performance. Should you fulfill your role to my satisfaction, the next round of drinks is on me, provided the target doesn’t show up and run us both off.
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