“Truth builds trust.”
Years ago, I had a business deal that I worked on for nearly two years. It looked like we were going to get it, but it was still a bit in question. My partner, on the case, and I met for lunch with our client, Carl, and his partner, Robert, at a nice restaurant.
The restaurant was beautiful and the food was terrific. We were seated at a square table covered with a white tablecloth, with a lovely flower arrangement in the center. My partner sat across from me, and Carl sat to my left, his partner directly across from him.
Things were going well, and I felt good about the meeting, that is, until I noticed that I had been drinking Carl’s water. In my defense, I am left-handed and naturally inclined to reach for a glass with my left hand. Of course, the trouble in doing that is that I repeatedly reached for Carl’s glass.
So, I sat there thinking what to do. I could pretend that I didn’t notice what I was doing and hope that he hadn’t either. The obvious part two to that plan would be to stop drinking his water, or perhaps continue to drink it but move the glass to the right. Or I could tell him and apologize, but, if he hadn’t noticed, then I would be bringing it to his attention needlessly.
I sat there thinking and decided to tell him and apologize, and when I did, I couldn’t tell whether he had noticed or not. But, he forgave me anyway. I did mention my left-handed theory briefly, but kept it short so as not to make it worse by over-explanation.
There are many such challenges being a lefty in a right-handed world. I have told this story to a few friends and learned two methods from my lefty cousin Hawley to avoid this in the future.
Put both of your hands in your lap in the OK gesture and if you look closely, and use your imagination, your left-hand sort of looks like a lower-case b, and your right hand looks like a lower-case d. I must admit that when I have done this, it has sometimes taken me a bit to figure out what I am looking at. This bewilderment can be exacerbated by having a cocktail or two before sitting down at the table. The left-hand b symbolizes the word bread, and the right-hand d symbolizes drink.
Your tablemates may think you have dozed off, as you stare at your lap for no apparent reason. Perhaps easier is to remember the acronym BMW, which of course stands not for Bavarian Motor Works but rather for Bread, Meal, Wine.
I hope this helps you in your own dining experiences; and, if you dine with me, perhaps will help you to overlook my occasionally staring at my lap.
By the way, we got the deal. So honesty clearly is the best policy, regardless of the faux-pas of the moment.