Totally Innocent of Accusation

I go to a Starbucks. I’m one of the regulars there.

I posted a story somewhere about another of the regulars who I used to share a table with. He has cerebral palsy and talks with a speech impediment. Out of the blue, this guy decided he didn’t want to sit with me anymore. At the time, he said my voice was too loud.

Well, huh, says I. So I don’t sit with him. But I keep going to this Starbucks as it’s arcross the street from my house. He keeps coming to it too.

Well today, I was about to go, and I had a newspaper I didn’t want anymore. I offered it to him as I was walking out. And he blows up at me.

He says that I was making fun of his speech impediment. What? I don’t remember any such thing, and I certainly wouldn’t do any such thing. I say so, and that this must be a big misunderstanding. He says, all sarcastic, “Oh yeah, BIG misunderstanding!” After that, I left.

Now WTF? I can’t, for the life of me, think of anything I could’ve done to offend this guy. We were good…well, aquaintances for awhile. I even helped him with his school papers.

I don’t want to stop going to this Starbucks, and I won’t. I like too many people there, and I would feel like a coward if I stopped going and I’ve done nothing wrong that I know of. But this is going to be a really awkward situation now.

I’m not sure if I should try to clear things up or just stay away from this guy.

I’m just wondering if while we used to talk, I might’ve said something like, “I made a mistake, I’m so dumb.” in a funny voice or something, and he took it the wrong way. That’s all I can think of, unless someone’s lying about me behind my back at Starbucks. And that’s even more disturbing.

I’m just not sure what to do. If anything.:frowning:

Thats so sad.

I’d write a nice letter, basically say what you have said here. Letters are better because you get to say what you need to without forgetting critical points and details. Its also removes that confrontational dynamic that often exists in these situations. Maybe some wise folks here could help you come up with such a letter. I am willing to put my not too wise two cents into such an effort.

I would normally agree with a letter, but I wonder if it’s too formal for this situation as the relationship is casual. I think I would tend to have another go at clearing things up. Deliberately sit next to him and say that you were surprised and honestly don’t know what you’ve done as you consider him a friend and would certainly not want to hurt him. Hopefully he’ll open up a bit more about it, and at least you’ll know you tried.

Screw that touchy-feely-talky stuff.

You’re a dude, right? Buy him his regular drink, sit at his table, punch him in the arm. Grunting is optional.

I am more on Oakminster’s side. I would sit down and say “Dude. I did not make fun of you. If you thought I did, you were wrong. If it seemed as though I did, I apologize. If somebody else said I did, he was lying. I am cool with you, and you should be cool with me. If you want to sit with me the next time I come in, then do, because we can be friends.” And get your coffee and leave.

IMO a simple letter saying just that might even be enough. It doesnt have to a romance novel type/length letter. Keep in mind though, the offended guy IS already hostile. Starting off any conversation with one party hostile is not a good way to mend fences. Also, keep in mind this guy has a speach impediment, which puts him at a disadvantage in verbal communitions. Heck, he might even have mild cognitive issues, which also dont help with on the fly verbal communications and maybe even result in above normal anger management issues. And he probably has gotten enough grief from “normal” people in his life that he is inherently on the defensive to start with.

Though I generally loathe the treat the special people special approach, in this case I am a bit hesitant. If this was just some normal random dude, I’d probably let it go. But lets face it, this guy has more crap to deal with on a daily basis than most people can imagine. If anybody needs another friend or even casual friendly aquantance (sp?), this guy is it. No use making life any more unfair and brutal than it really needs to be.

Actually, no, I 'm a girl. And as junior high as this whole situation sounds, I’m 46 and I think he’s about the same age.

I guess I will have to make some sort of attempt at reconciliation as you guys have said. I want at least to be on tolerable terms. The weird part of this is I wouldn’t really be pressing the issue except I want to be comfortable at this particular Starbucks.

The problem is that I’m not really sure if I’m dealing with his cognitive issues as Billfish678 says. That’s why I’m not angry at this. But he didn’t show any signs of delusion before. I’m not really sure what’s going on.:confused:

It doesnt take much. Hell, if you’ve ever watched Judge Judy, all it takes is using the wrong verb/pronoun/tense/whatever once and all of sudden you are on death row :slight_smile:

Then I think that he was, as Billfish says, probably dealing with a mountain of crap that day and either he misinterpreted something you said or somebody was badmouthing you to him. Either way, he’s had time to calm down and may be receptive to a “water under the bridge” overture. I stand by my suggestion; give him a straightforward note. Leave it with the barista if you want to.

This guy doesn’t want to be friends with you. It’s the old, “pick a fight over a lame reason,” that way I don’t have to talk to him and he’ll be guessing forever" bit.

It’s used for break ups for not wanting to buy a Christmas present, just pick a fight.

This guy has made it clear he doesn’t want to be your friend. So what? Just ignore him and sit at another table.

If you offended him he made it clear he isn’t goint to accept your apology. Just let it drop. But don’t let him or anyone else, dictate your happiness. If you like coffee go in, get your coffee and act toward him as you’d act toward any other stranger.

It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine says she’d say “Hello” to a guy in her building. Then the “Hello” went to “Hi,” then to polite “head nodding,” and then she said “And now the nods stopped.” Then Elaine says “Now it’s like we have this huge animosity and hositlity built up for no reason.”

If you were at fault, OK just learn from it and be nicer to other people. He doesn’t want to be your friend or even acknowledge you. So what?

The only other possible thing is you have a mutual friend or aquaintence who is saying untrue things about him to you.

Perhaps he has a crush on you? As Junior High as that sounds…

He’s crazy. Why would you want to be friends with someone that unstable anyway?

So she can go to her neighborhood Starbuck’s in peace.

Of course it could be the old take a bad misunderstanding and BOTH SIDES build and build on it then 20 years later find out the whole thing was about nothing :rolleyes:

Yeah, this guy could be crazy jerk that wants nothing to do with the OP. A letter or simple chat trying to diffuse the situation is unlikely to make it worse.

If nothing else, the OP can at least have the satisfaction of taking the high road.

Yeah. I mean, after attempting to clear up any misunderstanding, if this guy is still all weird about it, then forget him, then. Really, he is tripping for nothing.

ETA: Now that I see Attack’s post, I guess going to starbuck’s in peace is a good reason to put a bit of extra effort in calming down the crazy. But, really, how far does Two Cats have to go?

She doesn’t have to be all buddy-buddy with him to go to the Starbucks. Can just ignore him - that’s what people here in L.A. do all the time.

He probably has a specific problem that he has focused on for years. Live with a problem and over the years this happens. Something that he is super conscious about can be picked up in other peoples speech and mannerisms that nobody else will notice. Your speech likely contains the parts of speech that he has learned to hate. This could be such a raw nerve response that he won’t be able to hang out with you. This is neither person’s fault, it just is.

I would still try to get an explanation of exactly what it is that you do that bothers him. A less public place than a busy coffee house maybe better for a frank discussion. I wouldn’t ask more than one more time or it’s going to seem like harassment.

In this thread
I told how I was totally blindsided by another Starbuck’s regular’s accusation that I was making fun of his speech impediment.

Okay, I thank those who said I should write a note to the guy, but somehow that just seemed…I don’t know…7th grade-ish. So today I talked to the guy again.

He was calmer, and he explained to me what had happened.

It turns out that once while we were talking together someone came up and asked him for the time. He answered the guy but the person didn’t understand him and looked at me. I gave the person the correct time, and then said something like, “Sometimes you need an interpreter.”

I remember the incident now, and I didn’t think much of it at the time. Actually, I was trying to make light of the situation so he wouldn’t feel embarrassed. I guess now seeing it written down it does seem a tad insensitive of a remark, but that’s just the way I talk. Anyhow it seems he never forgot it, and it built up and up until he exploded at me.

Anyway, he accepted my apology, but we’re not going to be friends, it’s obvious.
But anyhow, I got my Starbucks back. That was important to me since I spend a lot of time writing there.

So, all of you Dopers who pride yourselves on your wit, think carefully before you speak. It might blow up in your face someday.

Great to hear you got it worked out at least some.

But I still dont see why you cant be at least remotely coffee shop friends.

As long as he realizes your the type that might say snarky things but actually MEAN well, it seems salvagable.

If not, then yeah it might not work.

But at least you are both past the stink eye of death social interaction phase, which is never fun for anyone.

This would have been better at the end of the other thread. That way the thread has closure.