Dealing with difficult people

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Bram
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Dealing with difficult people

Post by Bram »

On Friday, at my local coffee shop, I noticed the owner, a woman in her mid-30’s, quietly arguing with a homeless guy in his mid-50’s.

I walked over and gently asked her what was going on. She said, “He has to go.” I told him, “Sorry, she’s the owner, you have to leave.” He replied, “FUCK YOU! I’m the owner!”

This is my question…what was the next best move by me?

I chose to continue calmly telling him, “You gotta go.” But he wasn’t moving. And so my friend grabbed him from behind and the homeless guy went bananas. Waving his hands like he was gonna hit him, spitting, screaming “Motherfucker!”

I put my hand on the homeless guy’s shoulder, gently applying pressure and keeping him at distance. If he attacked my friend or went for a knife, it would make it more difficult. And I calmly repeated, “Hey, you can have a good day.”

Eventually we got him outside and he took off running.

Again, in that moment where he wasn’t responding, what do you think would have been the best move?
"You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain." —Miyamato Musashi, A Book of Five Rings

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Ronald RayGun
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Dealing with difficult people

Post by Ronald RayGun »

I keep my powder dry until the second I have to sleep a fucker. You can't reason with crazy. Fortunately for me, I look like a manacle Viking, so @ 6' 225lbs, I can defuse a ton of shenanigans before they truly pop the fuck off.
"Sorry I didn't save the world, my friend. I was too busy building mine again" - Kendrick Lamar

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Bram
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Dealing with difficult people

Post by Bram »

This guy needed to be more uncomfortable than I was making him to get moving, but he also didn’t require an ass-kicking.

But my mind kept toggling between the options of staying calm or escalating majorly.

Tough situation. The next time a thing like this happens, it might require calmness or violence. But it might also take this gray area that I don’t seem to have access to.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Maybe a mighty roar manacle-viking style next time, eh?
"You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain." —Miyamato Musashi, A Book of Five Rings


motherjuggs&speed
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Dealing with difficult people

Post by motherjuggs&speed »

How was it your business in the first place? Did anyone ask you to get involved? Was the situation so volatile that you just had to put yourself in it? You said yourself she was quietly arguing.

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Bram
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Dealing with difficult people

Post by Bram »

I started going to her café at the beginning of the year and am there most mornings, reading and chatting with a few customers I’ve become friendly with.

In that time, her and I have had a lot of conversations. She’s also always saying nice things about me when I’m not around. I think it’s a good policy to look out for people who look out for you.

And I’ve never seen her argue with a single customer. Let alone an unknown homeless person.

To your point, I wasn’t trying to escalate it, just trying to be supportive of someone I consider a friend.
"You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain." —Miyamato Musashi, A Book of Five Rings


motherjuggs&speed
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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

If there were other people in the place you weren't needed at all. You risked a major escalation by involving yourself. Most guys like that I've encountered, and 100% of them in the Northeast, would have been 10X more mad at you than at her, whatever the initial argument was about. As the owner, she's dealt with with situations before. She didn't need you to chime in. Maybe saying "Hi" to her and getting your coffee would have been enough to keep him from getting ideas, not that you have to be all Braveheart and stuff, just casually saying hi without intruding at all, if even that was appropriate. Being there was enough.

Oh and you assaulted him. You did. If you had done more you could be facing criminal charges. Everyone wants to be the big hero, but if there's no violence or imminent threat of violence, your vigilante scenario described above could put you in serious legal trouble. That's true anywhere, plus you live in California in 2023, not Dodge City in 1880. He could go after you and your friend both, with a possible civil suit as well if he got hurt when you were the ones who started the physicality.

Being ready to move quickly if needed without doing the whole looming menace thing would have been enough. Maybe looking over there, but probably not. I don't claim to be an expert but in my experience guys like that aren't usually violent unless something sets them off, and you could have been that something.

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Bram
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Dealing with difficult people

Post by Bram »

Yeah, the assault laws here are rough. A friend chased down some kids who kept doorbell ditching him. He caught one and demanded to talk to their parents. The parents threatened to sue him.

It’s very, very hard to say what the right thing to do is. In one situation, it could be helpful to gently ask “Is everything okay?” In another that might get you beaten into a coma. Or, like you said, it could have escalated the situation with this guy. And that’s without the legal mess of things.

When I look back at my life, my biggest regrets come from not standing up for others. That’s not an argument for intervening 100% of the time. But it’s definitely an argument against intervening 0% of the time.
"You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain." —Miyamato Musashi, A Book of Five Rings

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Grandpa's Spells
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Dealing with difficult people

Post by Grandpa's Spells »

Bram wrote: Sun Aug 27, 2023 4:48 pm I walked over and gently asked her what was going on. She said, “He has to go.” I told him, “Sorry, she’s the owner, you have to leave.” He replied, “FUCK YOU! I’m the owner!”

This is my question…what was the next best move by me?
"OK, but next step is the cops." If he stays walk away from him and call them.

The fact that she didn't dismiss you when you asked what was going on suggested she didn't mind your showing up.

Putting your hands on a homeless dude is just not a good idea. Nutjob may bite, have a weapon, or if you hit him the risk of blood borne pathogens is no joke.

Once the owner asks someone to leave, and they won't, it's criminal trespassing. Let the cops do it.

I used to involve myself way too much, and now I stay way out of it. If she looked frightened, I may have walked up same as you, but my personal inclination if she was handling it would have been to do nothing and tell her after, "It looked like you had it under control."
One of the downsides of the Internet is that it allows like-minded people to form communities, and sometimes those communities are stupid.

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Bram
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Dealing with difficult people

Post by Bram »

I think you’re 100% right. That was the next step.

The reason I didn’t is that San Diego has gotten pretty shitty about cops and homeless people. I’m lucky enough to live in a nice area, with a very low homeless population relative to the other parts of town, and here I heard it’s around 30 minutes (at best) for a police response with this stuff.

But regardless of them showing up or not, that was the next move I should have made. “Do you want us to call the cops? You can wait outside and we don’t have to.” It would have given him another choice and some autonomy.

The stories I’ve heard of dealings with the homeless here are much more intense: one guy completely naked rubbing his dick on the doors to a gym during operating hours; one guy sprinting into a vet clinic, locking himself in their bathroom, and rubbing shit all over the floors/walls/ceilings…
"You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain." —Miyamato Musashi, A Book of Five Rings


motherjuggs&speed
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Dealing with difficult people

Post by motherjuggs&speed »

Thanks for those descriptions. Just what I needed.

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Bram
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Dealing with difficult people

Post by Bram »

I had a third story that I felt was even grosser, but I could be encouraged to share……
"You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain." —Miyamato Musashi, A Book of Five Rings


Gene
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Dealing with difficult people

Post by Gene »

Grandpa's Spells wrote: Tue Aug 29, 2023 9:47 pmPutting your hands on a homeless dude is just not a good idea. Nutjob may bite, have a weapon, or if you hit him the risk of blood borne pathogens is no joke.

Once the owner asks someone to leave, and they won't, it's criminal trespassing. Let the cops do it.
I would give the same advice. Homelessness is a shitty life. A homeless person has to defend themselves from mentally ill, criminals and turds who like to abuse homeless people.

Kid watches his "dad" set a homeless man on fire.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgPKL9u0SWw

Chicago kid set a homeless man on fire.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IhyaYlQ2Jo

Such a person could be quick to run to the extremes. You lay hands on them, they try to murder you.


If Police handle it? The homeless guy gets into the Electronic system. He can be legally arrested for trespassing next time.

If you all have to seriously hurt him next time? He's been a "chronic problem".
Don't like yourself too much.

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Bram
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Dealing with difficult people

Post by Bram »

I have no desire to see people burned alive. That’s just evil.

But your point is about how threatened homeless people can feel, and how unpredictably they’ll react.

I think, for this situation, I mostly did well. I kept myself and my tone calm, supported my friend in asking him to politely leave, kept the guy at a slight distance when he reacted to my other friend grabbing him, and the whole thing was resolved without violence.

But I realize that this strategy might not be appropriate the next time around. I tried my best to continually read the situation and adapt. And I definitely had a mental block of how to adjust when he refused to leave.
"You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain." —Miyamato Musashi, A Book of Five Rings

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