Open Letter to the Group of Restaurant Patrons Who Loudly Shared Inappropriate Conversations at Dinner
Before you call me a "Karen" or a "Kyle" or whatever the male version of a Karen is, hear me out. This is outside of my wheelhouse, but it has to be addressed.
I'm no saint and I'll admit that, but the conversations I overheard last night crossed the line. There's a time and place for "saucy" chatter and a family restaurant around dinnertime is uncalled for. I guess this is a sign of maturity on my end, but it wasn't what they were saying that bothered me, it was more the level of volume.
Let's just say this- I was out to eat with my fiancé and if you were also out to eat/grab drinks with friends last night in New Bedford and decided to openly discuss your past encounters with your Tinder dates for half the restaurant to hear, then I'm talking to you.
I was today years old when I found out about something called "Second-Hand Embarrassment" or "Vicarious Embarrassment".
Also known as "Third-Party Embarrassment", Wikipedia defines this as:
The feeling of embarrassment from observing the embarrassing actions of another person. Unlike general embarrassment, vicarious embarrassment is not caused by participating in an embarrassing event, but instead, by witnessing (verbally and/or visually) another person experience an embarrassing event. These emotions can be perceived as pro-social, and some say they can be seen as motives for following socially and culturally acceptable behavior.
My level of anxiety was heightened when in reality, I didn't even care what they had to say. An older couple was sitting couple sitting directly behind me that 100% heard the conversation as well that made me feel uncomfortable. What a strange chain of emotions.
I suppose the same scenario would be if there were kids present (thankfully there weren't) and someone was speaking inappropriately close by. It's the principle of respecting your surroundings. It feels strange to have to gripe about something so silly, but the level of discomfort was enough to subtlety ruin my dinner.
For all I know, perhaps the couple sitting behind me didn't hear the conversation at hand and this is all for nothing. I guess the moral of the story is to be courteous to the people near you when sharing a story that's not exactly family-friendly. You never know who's listening.