Bar fights are a lot like episodes of Three’s Company. They happen all the time. They tend to center around a misunderstanding. And Larry Dallas always tries to leave with your girl. It is the misunderstanding part that leads to most bar fights. Misunderstandings between drunks happen because of something called “intentionality bias.” The better you understand intentionality bias, the more likely you are to avoid a situation that will ruin your night.
So, a typical bar fight starts like this. One guy passes another guy and bumps him. The bumpee thinks the bumper has disrespected him. Some variation of the following conversation ensues:
Guy 1: You want to go?
Guy 2: Let’s go right now.
Guy 1: I’m ready, bro.
Guy 2: I don’t see you doing anything about it, BRO.
Guy 1: I’m right here.
Guy 2: You want to go?
Guy 1: Let’s go right now.
Guy 2: I’m ready, bro.
Guy 1: I don’t see you doing anything about it, BRO.
And so on and so forth until both parties tire of this repartee and punch each other in the face. The perceived disrespect happens because of intentionality bias. Intentionality bias occurs when a person assumes that another person’s actions were intentional. Alcohol increases the likelihood of intentionality bias, according to a study conducted by French researcher Laurent Bègue.
Bègue’s team believes that it takes cognitive effort and control to overcome intentionality bias. Those are skills you lack when you’ve been boozing. Alcohol also is known to decrease reasoning skills and the ability to pick up on social cues. A drunken ass clown lacks the cognitive ability to correctly interpret an unintended slight, the reasoning ability to allow both parties save face and misses the social cues exhibited by everyone around him. Add testosterone, and faces across America are punched every Saturday night.
Yours need not be one of them. If you try and are unable to reason with some hammered nitwit, and a fight is unavoidable, then you would do well to follow these rules for fighting a bad guy.