Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Steve Kamb.
We all know “That Guy,” and we all have at least one in our group of friends.
He’s the one scalawag who is generally pleasant to hang out with except for one glaringly painful characteristic. Although there are different species of That Guy, some far more deplorable than others, they all have one thing in common: they often piss their friends off without knowing it.
Today, you’ll learn about the various forms of That Guy, how to react should you find one in your midst, and how to evolve in case you are That Guy.
The Poor Sport (Crybabial Sporticus)
Characteristics: The Poor Sport is dreadful to play against in any sporting event or competition. He complains incessantly about bad foul calls in pick-up basketball, a weekend golf match among friends causes a temporary loss of arithmetic skills, and he will never accept blame for a loss, no matter the occasion. The cards are unlucky in a bad poker loss, the controller is faulty in a video game defeat, and the racquet is the reason for a poor tennis performance. In his own mind, he can do no wrong.
How to deal with That Guy: To start, don’t let him get away with cheating. If you know he counted incorrectly in golf, kindly remind him about the six shots it took him to get out of the bunker. If you defeat him in any competition, brace yourself for a torrent of expletives and excuses, but don’t fan the flames. Although you might want to defend your stellar performance or yell at him for being a crybaby, everybody around you already knows the truth: your friend is a sore loser.
How to evolve if you are That Guy: Go ask a few people about their worst “bad beat” in poker. Exhausted of the complaining yet? This is what you sound like to your friends ALL THE TIME. First of all, stop cheating in golf — your life won’t change if you post a 79 or a 119, and your friends ARE keeping track of your score whether they admit it or not. Show a little sportsmanship and integrity. If you lose to your friends at Halo, pick-up basketball, tennis, scrabble, bocce, cards, whatever — take it like a man, and accept defeat. Everybody loses at some point and nobody wants to hear excuses. Get over it.
The Mooch (Dudicus Moochalum)
Characteristics: The Mooch never has any money, brings any food, or provides any shelter; he instead leeches off of those around him. Think Cosmo Kramer in real life. The cause is most likely an allergic reaction to ambition. The last beer in the case, the final ice cream bar in the freezer, and any leftovers in the fridge tend to disappear whenever he’s around. A Mooch’s wallet gets “accidentally” left at home quite frequently, and he is always a pain to track down for repayment of money borrowed.
How to deal with That Guy: The Mooch usually understands his unfortunate situation, but he’s often too lazy to do anything about it. If you’re feeling magnanimous, help him find a job; just be careful who you recommend him to because it’s your reputation that’s at stake. Now, until he finds employment, do what you can to keep him in line: keep track of how much money you’ve loaned him and consider charging 10% interest each week until the debt is repaid. Don’t be afraid to call him out when he eats the last Oreo either, because that’s just not cool.
How to evolve if you are That Guy: Stop being lazy and get a job (and if you have a good job, quit mooching; the only thing worse than a poor mooch is a well-off cheapskate). Secondly, NEVER take the last one of something that isn’t yours unless you plan on replacing it. Try chipping in every once and awhile too — show up unexpectedly with a case of beer or volunteer to buy the first round of drinks. I don’t care if you have to rob somebody first, always repay your financial debts to friends within 24 hours, no exceptions. Now, if you already have a job and you’re still poor, find another way to contribute: are you a good cook? Do you have connections at a restaurant or movie theater? Do what you can to make up for your lack of funding — your friends will appreciate it.
Mr. Unreliable (Amigus Bail’Outicum)
Characteristics: It’s never known if Mr. Unreliable is actually going to show up, no matter how many promises have been made. He often signs up for an engagement before backing out at the last minute. “On time” to him usually means at least an hour late. Getting Mr. Unreliable to commit to something that requires an upfront financial deposit is like pulling teeth. Rather than saying no to an obligation, he’ll give a noncommittal answer that allows him to bail out at the last minute with a lame excuse via text message, thus avoiding confrontation.
How to deal with That Guy: Always expect Mr. Unreliable to not show up, and then be pleasantly surprised if he does! If you’re planning a trip with him, make sure to get some sort of financial commitment before putting up your own money — when he tries to back out this time, allow him to only do so if he can find a replacement. At that point, it’s no longer your responsibility. Not surprisingly, you should rely upon Mr. Unreliable as little as possible.
How to evolve if you are That Guy: Your friends don’t think you’ll show up to anything anymore, and eventually they’ll just stop calling. Change that perception by actually showing up to stuff consistently! What a novel idea, I know. Now, if you get invited to an event you don’t want to attend, be up front with your friends and tell them not to expect you. Lastly, start showing up on time. Arriving late consistently tells your friends that your time is more valuable than theirs. Show up at the right place at the right time.
The One-Upper (Betterum Than’Youicus)
Characteristics: Reeking of superiority and elitism, the One-Upper is a constant name-dropper of famous people and locations. During story time, the One-Upper must always ensure that he appears the strongest, best, had the toughest life growing up, drank the most beers, and/or met the coolest people. This is mostly due to a strong sense of insecurity, causing a need for constant affection and attention.
How to deal with That Guy: As tempting as it is to get into a pissing match with the One-Upper, the best course of action is to give him his small moment of glory, because he clearly needs it. As explained in Ben Franklin’s Virtuous Life Series, “People may talk about that guy’s exciting story the next day, but they’ll remember how much of a gentleman you are years later.” Be thankful you don’t base your self-worth on how much attention you can get. Go about your business, do great work, and the results will speak for themselves.
How to evolve if you’re That Guy: Nobody really cares how many famous people you know, how much you can bench, or how much better you are at something than everybody else. Start by letting other people have the spotlight every once and a while; continually one-upping your friends is a surefire way to piss everybody off. Instead, pick your battles and share stories when appropriate — not to brag, not to show off, but just to share a great story.
The Fibber (Fullofum Crapolakis)
Characteristics: The Fibber can stretch the truth like a penny-pincher can stretch a dollar. Known to tell dull stories that suddenly become way more exciting (and ultimately completely unbelievable), The Fibber is also known for creating inane excuses when trying to weasel out of any scenario. The Fibber is closely related to Mr. Unreliable and the Poor Sport for similar “lack of truth” qualities.
How to deal with That Guy: Take everything The Fibber says with a grain of salt and don’t bother wasting your time trying to trap him in a lie — he’ll simply get defensive and start weaving another web of lies. Just be thankful that you’re not a liar and take solace in the fact that people can rely on your word. Now, if the lies start to become disruptive to the group, pull the person aside and have a serious conversation about the lies in private rather than calling him out in public.
How to evolve if you’re That Guy: You know you’re lying, your friends know you’re lying, and that hole you’re digging for yourself is only getting deeper. Instead of creating new tall tales and more complex lies to cover for the old ones, just freaking tell the truth and wait until you actually have a good story to tell! Your conscience will thank you and so will your buddies.
Other Lesser Known Species of That Guy
Other than the five prominent species of That Guy listed above, there are actually quite a few others who might be lesser known but are no less abysmal:
The Flip Flopper (Fencium Sitterus) — Having no opinion of his own, the Flip Flopper will alter his beliefs depending on who he’s talking to and who he’s trying to impress. He is generally classified as an invertebrate for lacking a backbone.
The Loud Mouth (Pieholus Gigantum) — This chump cannot keep his mouth shut, whether it’s keeping a secret, talking during a movie, or putting down another friend when he’s not around. The Loud Mouth generally should not be trusted with any important information unless it needs to be shouted from the rooftops.
The “Takes It Too Far” Guy (Over The’Lineicus) — This poor soul lives life to the extreme a little too often. He’s generally the one that always gets WAY too drunk at parties, takes jokes too far after they’ve become unfunny, and gets offended over things that nobody else would ever take personally. Tact is pretty much non-existent.
“The Garbage Man” (In’lovum with Jesses’girlikus) — The Garbage Man has no problem attempting to date his friend’s ex-girlfriend, because he lacks the skills to move outside of the social circle and meet new people. The most despicable variation of this species will attempt to date his friend’s current girlfriend, which generally results in an ass-kicking.
How did you deal with That Guy in your group? Are you a reformed That Guy and want to tell your success story? Share your experiences in the comments below!
When he’s not trying to be a better man, Steve Kamb devotes his time to helping average Joes level up their lives at NerdFitness.com. You can sign up for the free Nerd Fitness Rebel Army Newsletter or receive updates via RSS.