Miss Manners: I don’t want to cross this blurred line with him

Judith Martin

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’m a bartender at a small neighborhood bar. I have a great rapport with many customers, who have told me they come in specifically on

Judith Martin

my shifts for the good conversations. I am grateful for such comments, and also for my patrons’ generosity.

Most of my customers, while friendly, do understand that there’s a line between us, and don’t try to extend our good relationships outside of the bar. But lately, I’ve been struggling with a patron who very much wants a friendship outside the bar.

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I do not, under any circumstances, want to be friends with this man. He’s never said or done anything terrible; I just simply don’t find his company very interesting and I don’t want to feel like I’m at work during my free time.

I’ve tried a number of polite responses in an attempt to defray the conversation. He does not take the hint. I’m at a loss as to how to communicate that I don’t want to hang out with him while also maintaining his patronage. Honestly, it wouldn’t bother me so much if he stopped coming on my shifts, but I don’t want the bar to lose a valued customer because I’ve offended him.

GENTLE READER: Some professions, by their nature, risk blurring the distinction between the professional and the personal.

It is natural to think that your doctor’s interest in your health is greater than what a scientist feels for a lab rat. And the teacher who spends extra time to make sure you understand the subject can be forgiven for developing a more than professional pride in your accomplishments.

But everyone needs time off, for which reason those professions cultivate distancing mechanisms, from the doctor’s lab coat to the now-disappearing habit of

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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