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Conversation I had today concerning a friend that had a wierd confrontation. Walking on the sidewalk and a car drives by (traveling same direction), really slow, then as passing swerves slightly toward the sidewalk. Walker stops and takes a step back, not sure what driver is doing. Walker makes no statement, but may have made a face. Driver gets out of car and asks, with a tone, "You have a problem?"

My friend is a polite person, but in his world, "You have a problem?" is a statement leading toward esculation. Replies, "No problem I can't handel."

Driver, tone now defensive, states something like, "Fine." Then drives car three houses up, pulls into garage, closes garage door.

Any thoughts are welcome, but my question is the phrase, "You have a problem?" My friend asked if he took the statement wrong, or is it a statement rarely made unless someone is being confrontational.

I stated in past, maybe, and I would almost always take it to mean that, but also people have lost communication skills, and don't always consider their tone or how their words might be communicated / interpretated (I'm guilty of this myself sometimes in e-mails).

Thoughts.
 

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Thanis,

I can't say for SURE since I wasn't there, but it sounds confrontational to me, coupled with the action of swerving the car, stopping and getting out.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I should add, the confusion is that the words themselves could just be an offer of assistance.

In addition, what confused my friend, was that the guy drove straight to his home. My friend stated if he were to have had such a confrontation, even just words, he would not have let the person know where he lived, thus uncertainty about the interaction.

I know it is not as intense as other situations that have been posted. But it was just odd.

Just thinking, maybe the guy had been drinking or on drugs.
 

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I actually think his response is the best I've ever heard to that "question".
 

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Driving real slow, swerves toward the sidewalk, friend steps back and stops and the guy gets out......
did the driver have a ccw sash on thinking your friend didn't belong in his neighborhood?
 

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Sure sounds like a call out to me. If there was no problem, the driver should have just kept going.
 

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I actually think his response is the best I've ever heard to that "question".
I agree and will try to remember it if I am ever asked that question.

I wasn't there so I can't say for sure one way or another, but can only give you examples of the 2 worlds I have lived in. Where I grew up in South East Dallas that question would have been very intentional for a confrontation. Where I live now, McKinney, that question would most likely have been one of concern and offering help. Although I doubt anyone in my city now would have done the swerve towards the curb trick.
 

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I think your buddy did just fine. I think with the incidents leading up to the question it would make my spidy senses tingle.

Driving by real slow and then suddenly pulling up to the curb. I would have been pretty alert by then, not knowing what this guy is doing or what his intentions were. Just very odd order of events leading up to the question. I would have reacted the same and wanted to know what this guy wanted and then if he pulled in a few houses down I think I would be taking an alternate route around that house. Just goes without saying...always be prepared.
 

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Driver gets out of car and asks, with a tone, "You have a problem?"

Any thoughts are welcome, but my question is the phrase, "You have a problem?" My friend asked if he took the statement wrong, or is it a statement rarely made unless someone is being confrontational.
If no contribution to the situation was offered up by the pedestrian, this surely sounds like an unprovoked challenge and the prelude to confrontation.

It's how things like this are done, by someone not skilled in attacking. This person's on the edge of being bummed with his life, seemingly, and doesn't know how to be tough and to be seen as tough, since he has lost control in his life. Else, why the rude rendition of James Cagney?

Seems confrontational to me, yes.

But then, I wasn't there, don't know what was said, or what the look was (if any). The two might have known each other and had prior history. Don't know.

Ditto, on the boosted awareness (S.A.) at the point when the car begins driving slowly alongside and then swerves to the curb. I've had that sort of thing done before. At that point, I'm gaining distance and monitoring everything. At that point, you never know how it's going to go.
 

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Maybe he thought that he was walking because his car broke down. When my Grandfather was alive anything he said, even "Happy Birthday" sounded like he wanted to start a fight :argue:, even when he was in a good mood.
 

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Unless your friend appeared to be in some kind of distress, I would say it was confrontational.
 

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When my Grandfather was alive anything he said, even "Happy Birthday" sounded like he wanted to start a fight :argue:, even when he was in a good mood.
My buddies on the 7th green used to say things like "Nice shot, Alice!," even when they were obviously just playfully poking me in the ribs over draining the 30-ft putt.

Yeah. You never know, unless you know the details.

Of course, knowing all the details as we did, we knew full well they were simply trying to forget their snap hooks into the weeds from the last hole, by being surly. :tongue:
 

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The statement in and of itself is not confrontational. Take that statement and put it in the context of someone parked on the side of the road in their car with the flashers on. If you come up to them and say "you have a problem" that certainly isn't confrontational.

Now coupled with the slow driving, and cars motion towards the pedestrian, and driver exiting vehicle, then you better believe that "you have a problem" is definately confrontational. The comment by your friend was dead on, and the driver knew it, which is why he got back into his car and went on his way.

Your buddy did just fine.
 

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Unless your friend appeared to be in some kind of distress, I would say it was confrontational.
+1..If there was no distress exhibited by your friend while walking down the sidewalk, i.e. staggering, stumbling, weaving, etc, nor any attempt to garner the attention of the driver, then I would say it was confrontational. No one in their right mind drives slowly next to a pedestrian walking down the sidewalk, and gets out of their car saying "do you have a problem"....JMHO
 

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"You have a problem?" That's classic. I used to think that was an everyday greeting from folks with problems. They ask me that, and my usual reply is....I didn't have a problem until now.
 

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"You have a problem?"

"Yes! I have lots of problems. I really need someone to talk to and a shoulder to cry on. Thanks you for offering to help."


That question is right there with "What are you lookin' at?"
 
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