A thing of beauty

A Boss Move

How you deal with annoyance certainly tells the world a lot about you. 

Given how the night ended, the incredible level of restraint and leadership that my dinner host showed me a whole new level of what one might call a “boss move.”

We went to a semi-trendy place in Toronto because they had great pepper ribs as an appetizer, plus the serving staff were all aspiring actresses or comics or musicians, so there was a level of entertainment value to that. My friend (I’ll call him “Smichard” to protect his identity) and I sat at this big row bench seating area, with people behind us and kind of all around us.

Shortly after getting our first set of drinks and while discussing the real likelihood of a business victory, a young man at the next set of benches tossed his coat over our bench and brushed Smichard with it. I saw a flash of annoyance in Smichard’s eyes. I would’ve felt the same. My blood kind of twitched up a notch watching it happen.


Smichard ordered a round of drinks for the entire group seated at the next table. When they arrived, the very same gentleman who’d thrown his coat over asked what these were for. Smichard said, “I admit that I was annoyed when you threw your jacket onto me and my side of the table, so instead of feeling that way, I wanted to extend you a warm welcome.”

The young man said something, thanked Smichard, and then went on celebrating the return of one of their colleagues from the UK (or some such - the guy had been away to have a baby, and blah blah, something celebration something). Smichard and I went back to our conversation.

Not that much later, the young man did something else a bit jarring to our side of the table, a physical jostle of sorts (no doubt unitentional, but also quite insensitive to having neighbors in such proximity). What did Smichard do? You know what he did. Another round.


I call Smichard a “boss” in the street slang sense of “being great.” He’s an owner for sure. Cofounder of a few successful ventures and running a few more as we speak. What makes Smichard who he is goes beyond the call to order drinks when someone annoys him. He’s a man of action. He’s also someone who thinks before he responds to an event.

Sometimes, I act in haste. I get mad. I close off any other possible outcomes by nature of an early frustration. By observing Smichard, I found a really good question to try and throw between stimulus and response: “What would I like to see happen next and what will it do for me and others?”

During those odd moments of jostling or people not exactly being considerate, Smichard faced a stimulus (annoying person) and chose his path (response) with a strong level of thoughtfulness as to what he wanted to portray and how that would impact the remainder of the evening.

The rest of the evening isn’t something I can print here, but let’s just say that the words “like a Klingon” and “from my rugby days” were used as explanations by one of us for how the rest of the evening unfolded.

Chris Brogan is a publisher and educator. He blogs at chrisbrogan.com