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social etiquette question

ReznikReznik Registered User regular
Alright, so, I'm dumb when it comes to dealing with people beyond the most completely superficial interaction.

I have a friend of mine from high school/college that I haven't seen or kept in touch with for like the past 4 years. When I say friend I mean like... casual video game/D&D pal who I always hung out with in a group. So not very close. Randomly got a message from him via a site we had worked on like 5 years ago sending him updates when I was randomly tweaking it. Since I'm in back in town for Christmas break I figure, why not catch up.

Now, his younger brother was killed in September this year in a freak accident. I heard about it from my mom shortly after it happened, but I'm not on facebook, don't have a phone number/e-mail for him, so I couldn't offer my condolences then. The appropriate thing to do would be to offer my condolences when we meet up again, right? I just don't know if I should bring it up right away, or like... wait for him to mention something or what. And since we're not close it seems weird to go from like "Man, I'm really sorry about your brother" to "How bout dem video games?"

I don't know. I'm dumb at people and haven't really had to deal with this. I'm probably overthinking it but it's a sensitive subject and I don't want to fuck it up. Especially since it's the holidays and it's probably gonna be fuckin' rough...

So. What do?

Do... Re.... Mi... Ti... La...
Do... Re... Mi... So... Fa.... Do... Re.... Do...
Forget it...


  • knitdanknitdan Registered User regular
    Don't make it the first thing you bring up.

    Maybe once the ice has broken a bit you could ask how he's been doing, without bringing up his brother. Mir he wants to, he'll talk about it.

    “I was quick when I came in here, I’m twice as quick now”
    -Indiana Solo, runner of blades
  • bsjezzbsjezz Registered User regular
    two ways to do it:

    1. do it almost, but not quite, right away. ie: "hey man, how are ya? great to see you! look, i heard about your brother, i'm really sorry, how are you going?"

    2. leave it until it seems relevant, and if it never does, not at all. ie: "have you played XXXX awesome game? wow! i'm right into it!" "i was playing it with my brother until... uh..." "hey i heard about what happened. i'm really sorry. yeah, i understand that you'd want to move on from that." etc

    basically you want to be honest: whether you honestly don't want to upset him by dwelling on it or honestly want to express your sympathy is your decision to make

  • Conroy BumpasConroy Bumpas Registered User regular
    i would only talk about it if he brings it up. i wouldnt in any way steer the conversation towards it. because you dont know how hes feeling. he may no want to talk about it. he may just want to meet up with an old friend hes not seen in ages to get away from people asking how hes doing all the time. if he brings it up be there for him. but personaly i wouldnt myself steer the conversation in that direction. in my experence, if he wants to talk about it he will mention it

    Please note I cannot be held responsible for any mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, karma, dharma, metaphysical, religious, philosophical, Logical , Ethical, Aesthetical, or financial damage caused by this post
  • MorranMorran Registered User regular
    See it this way. The guy lost one of his closest relatives. There is very, very, little that you can do or say to make that fact better or worse for him.

    Apart from that, the advice from @bsjezz seems sensible.

  • KyouguKyougu Registered User regular
    As someone that has been in the other end of this conversation, I can say that unless you're incredibly insensitive, it's hard to screw up.

    Like other's have mentioned, it's fine to broach it either at first with the whole "Hey, it's been a while! I heard about your brother, I'm sorry/my condolences" or wait till later.

    Trust me, you're not going to be the first person to talk to him about it, or the last. It's just something you end up learning to deal with.

  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    "Hi, good to see you man! Want to just chill and play some games? That indie game Brothers looked good. You can play first."

    As someone who also stresses about these things, I personally would do it right off. My condolences/prayers on the loss of [Brother]." Something quick and simple.

    Jokerman wrote: »
    If sigs were still a thing this would be mine.
  • ForceVoidForceVoid Registered User regular
    bsjezz wrote: »
    1. do it almost, but not quite, right away. ie: "hey man, how are ya? great to see you! look, i heard about your brother, i'm really sorry, how are you going?"

    This would be my advice. He's gonna say "thanks, it's been tough, but I'm ok now" or some derivative of that, then he'll move the conversation along.

  • naporeonnaporeon Registered User regular
    Yeah, as someone who is really terrible with emotional expression, I would suggest bringing it up right away...basically in the exact way @bsjezz‌ describes.

    Much better to make a brief, respectful allusion to it than to accidentally back into it later in the evening.

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