A Bartender's Guide to Measuring Up in your Relationships

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No Holidays Off

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Ask anyone in the service industry and they’ll tell you, “We don’t get holidays off.” If anything, we go harder because everyone else is off and trying to let loose. It’s an unconventional lifestyle, not for the faint of heart or selfish types. Bartender’s, servers, cashiers, and such are responsible for making sure you feel thankful and rewarded for choosing to spend your free time with us among your infinite other choices.
In that regard, the service industry is not unlike a committed relationship. With a commitment, there are no holidays. You can decide you’re “not feeling it today.” In fact, when things get hectic is the exact time when you have to put in more effort than usual because it’s when you’re needed, wanted, desired the most. Those are the times when you’re challenged to do your best, and show you’re worthy of the honor of being your honey’s top choice. You may not get holidays off, but the results from putting in the overtime is the reward.

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Straight with No Chaser

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     Some cocktails are easier to make than others. While there are those drinks that are difficult to mess up and will taste good regardless, with minimal fuss–like a long island iced tea–there are others more delicate. Too much of one thing or not enough of another and the whole drink is ruined–dry martinis are that way. Some drinks require precision measurements, preparation, layering, and the right mix of spirits. These cocktails are crafted, given much attention, and tasted often for accuracy. Even still, people come with specifications a bartender can’t anticipate. So the bartender could have done everything appropriately and still disappoint.
     Relationships come with the same variations. Different people need different things. While some may only need minimal fuss, and can be happy with seeing their significant other a few days a week, others need constant attention, a delicate touch, and much more patience. 
     Problems arise when a “straight with no chaser” gets involved with a “Bloody Mary,” or a “Perfect Manhattan” with a “Mojito.” In either case they’re both too high-maintenance to be able to focus on what the other one needs. That isn’t to say opposites don’t attract and can’t work. But you have to find a balance between an opposite that can compliment what you lack, or recognize if they’re someone who’s too different to understand your point of view.

What’s Your Barometer?

My experience as a bartender lets me study relationships first hand. I’ve noticed an interesting parallel between my relationship to customers and romantic relationships. A good relationship is like having a favorite bartender: You feel comfortable, and taken care of, they know your preferences and how to make you smile.

I have a theory: The barmaid steps into the role of whatever a customer is lacking in his/her own relationship–or fulfills the role in the absence of one. I’m the mistress of the customer whose date just went to the bathroom; the consummate therapist whose job it is to listen while a person works through their relationship woes; a bitch to the smart-ass looking for a rise; an audience for the jokes and stories the one at home has heard one too many times; or referee or matchmaker, serving as the go-between for a budding romance–or rocky one. On any given night, aside from serving drinks, it is my job to build, juggle and maintain relationships; often several at one time.

To give a person the best experience I must be courteous, confident, and have a positive attitude– even when I’m not in the best mood. It’s important that I pay attention to details, anticipate their needs, and have great listening skills. It’s vital to my position to show appreciation to the customers, and also to be humble and willing to admit when I’m wrong. My tips depend on these qualities. I learned pretty quickly what behaviors get the best results, and conversely, which ones do not. In a romantic relationship, the “tip,” the reward for a job well done or great services rendered, is more time, affection, and love.

There’s a happy medium between what we desire, and what we will put up with to get it. What’s interesting to me is how people demand total satisfaction from something as insignificant as a drink. Why not put the same importance on what you want from a relationship, and what you’re willing to do to get it? Granted, it is much easier to get a drink recipe right than a relationship. That being said, what is your barometer? At what point will you draw the line: Is it because you paid for the drink that you think you deserve to be fulfilled?

Well, you’re contributing to your relationship as well; therefore, you should get happiness in return. I don’t know about you but I don’t waste my time or energy on giving my best to someone who doesn’t see fit to reward me for my effort. Just as I have in my profession, you can learn the behaviors that reap the best results in your relationships. And, when all else fails, you can consult the Barometer, i.e. your friendly bartender/psychologist. I’m here to serve!
The Barometer: A Bartender’s Guide to Measuring Up In Your Relationships

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