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Third Beer Conversations For A Non-Drinker

July 22, 2016

Let’s make this a third beer conversation.

I don’t drink. I haven’t had a drink of alcohol in four decades; not since I was eleven. (It was a different kind of childhood.) Yesterday I had a third beer conversation. I didn’t start with one beer. I went straight from “no beers” to “three beers.” 

I’m in Shreveport, Louisiana. Members of our team have come from all over the country for the launch of a new line of business here in Shreveport. These are men and women that I’ve worked with for years. We speak often on the phone and communicate often through email. But, being in the same location is rare. 

An on-site visit is typically long days. At dinner yesterday, I sat down with Daryl. We work on a lot of common projects. We work with a lot of the same people. We are actually in vastly different organizations within our company. Dinner was at a local restaurant that features some of the South’s unique food. 

Daryl’s been with the company a lot longer than I have. I’ve worked on a single account my entire two and a half years here. Daryl has had success with multiple accounts, although we currently work on the same one. I asked Daryl about people and politics. We discussed successes and failures. And then the discussion turned to challenges that we’ve both had with personalities and certain management practices.

And that’s when we got to the third beer territory. 

My friends who drink tell me that one beer doesn’t affect your judgement much. The second beer might start to loosen your tongue. By the time you drink that third beer, you’re willing to say things that might get you in trouble otherwise. You share things that could get you in trouble with coworkers or managers. 

Third beer territory is both evidence of content and trust. You can’t have a third beer conversation without trusting the person you’re talking to. And you gain trust by trusting others. Third beer conversations are an opportunity to let down the walls that we all create to protect ourselves in the workplace. 

Sorry, I’m not going to talk about the actual content of our third beer conversation, because that’s the one rule of a third beer conversation. It’s like Fight Club in that sense. You typically don’t even mention that you had third beer conversations, let alone share the contents. 

I don’t drink, but it’s great to work with people that I feel comfortable holding third beer conversations with. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2016 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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