What’s the Smoothest Way You’ve Diffused an Awkward Situation?

Here are some answers:

1) Growlybeard wrote this:

“Ooh! I’ve got one.

“I’m having a beer at my local pub, and my friend Sara is running the bar that night by herself. It’s a little late, most [people] have gone home, and it’s Sara, myself, and this guy at the far end of the bar near the door, who is obviously on some kind of drugs.

“He keeps making these creepy/awkward comments to Sara, telling her she’s beautiful, and how he’d love to date her, etc.

“Finally, Sara has had enough and she asks him to leave. He refuses and starts to get loud, and she starts yelling at him to leave. She then threatens to call the police, and he gets up and starts walking down the bar, further into the pub, toward where the entrance to the area behind the bar is, and towards me.

“Sara is scared at this point.

“Without thinking, and not really knowing what I’m going to do, I get up and walk straight towards this guy. He’s about fifty pounds heavier and maybe a bit taller, and he’s belligerent and probably on some drugs. I’ve never fought anyone. So I did the one thing I’m good at. I made a friend.

“I walked straight up to him, put out my hand, put on a big smile, and asked him his name and if he smokes. He got this look of surprise, stuttered out a yes and his name. I suggested we go out and have a cigarette, and he agreed.

“We go outside, he gives me a cigarette. We smoke, and I just asked him a ton of questions. While we were talking I figured out which part of town he lived in, and started ambling in that direction. He sort of started following my movements, and eventually we started walking that way together.

“At some point I made up an excuse to leave and went back to check on Sara. The guy just kept walking on.

“She was super thankful and wouldn’t stop talking about it for weeks.”

2) Bert33 wrote this:

“When I was in my mid-twenties, I did consulting work in Manhattan with a bunch of guys of similar ages. Every Thursday we would go out drinking with our bosses (who were probably early thirties) on the company tab. One time about twenty of us were in a crowded bar and these two guys next to us kept bumping into my boss hard. He ignored the first couple times and bummed a cigarette from me. They slammed into him again and he yelled at them; they started jawing back and forth, etc. I wasn’t really paying attention but saw my boss with the unlit cigarette in his mouth kind of staring down the guy. Without really thinking I leaned in to light the cigarette and it finally dawned on the strangers that there were twenty of us and two of them. Suddenly they became very apologetic.”

3) Mumbaibabi wrote this:

“Not me, but I watched someone else do this. I was a new nurse in a very busy ER [Emergency Room] in a very poor neighborhood. A squad car brings in a mother with a very sick child in her arms. She was drunk or high, can’t remember which, and would not hand over the child. He was limp, breathing but not responding and she was absolutely hysterical, ramping up each passing second. The cops, the nurses, and the doctors were pleading and yelling for her to let them take care of the child. A whole lotta screaming going on. It was getting so bad I thought they’d have to shoot her. The head nurse, who was in her office, heard the commotion, came out, and swiftly figured out what was going on. Went right over to the mom and very quietly gently said, ‘Let us take care of your baby, we know you’re a good mom, just think of the baby, he needs your help and ours.’ She just kept talking softly and respectfully to this mom, who let her scoop him out of her arms and bring him back for treatment. I never saw anything like it. Learned a whole lot in those few minutes.”

4) funkyG wrote this:

“I went to support my now husband during a bitter custody battle with his ex-wife a few years ago. Afterwards we leave the courtroom to go the lobby downstairs. Just as the elevator door is about to close someone says, ‘Hold the door!’ and his ex jumps in. Just the three of us, we were all shocked, and then the door closed.

“‘Girl from Ipanema’ was playing and I started spouting facts about the song that I knew. They were both quiet but trying to match my eye contact, and I just kept chatting with myself. I told her to take care when she left and I saw her shoulders slump as she tried to walk away.

“Now she asks that I be present for their discussions as I ease tension. My dorkiness has saved us thousands in legal fees.”

5) Darren Edwards wrote this:

“I briefly met the smoothest man on the f[**]king planet.

“I was at a club. At a club there is always a couple practically f[**]king on the dance floor. These two […] became an obstacle for everyone else and occasionally someone knocked into them. I was the guy who accidentally knocked into the girl. Guy became enraged and wants to act alpha. The guy wanted to make it look like he wants a fight. I squared off waiting for him to start. He doesn’t start; I stand my ground. The dance floor has somehow found room for us to engage and everything went silent. I wasn’t going to back down or escalate, I know how most drunken club fights go.

“From out of nowhere a guy leapt between us. He did a complete back flip and the situation was completely diffused. I lost track of the other guy immediately and the music started up again. Within seconds the back flip guy got the party going again.”

Source: Dblethal, “What’s the smoothest way you’ve diffused an awkward situation?” Reddit. 31 January 2016


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