Dealing With Difficult People

(image source: emdot)

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships, as in when is it OK to end a relationship that is no longer fulfilling.

And, does that change when it’s family?

The other night, my father-in-law told me my butt is flat.

Squirrel told me not to take it personally which struck me as funny because it hadn’t even occurred to me to take it personally. I was too busy trying to figure out how someone drops “your butt is flat” into casual conversation.

He said it so matter-of-factly – as though he was commenting on the weather or the football score.

I tried to remember a time when I gave his butt any thought, but nothing came to me.

I wondered whether there was a deeper message here. Was he reflecting back to me a part of myself I hadn’t completely accepted?

Then, I remembered a quote I once read – the only quote on dealing with difficult people that ever made sense to me:

I am thankful for the difficult people in my life.  They have shown me exactly who I don’t want to be.


So, I’ve taken his comment as a sign of sorts, to let go of judgement and vanity and focus on creating a fuller, rounder, more pert inner life.

He probably won’t notice that at the next family gathering, but at least I’ll have something to be thankful for.

How do you deal with difficult relationships?

How To Tame A Squirrel with Your Own Two Hands

Those of you who have been reading recently know that my Squirrel has been in a funk lately what with the end of the ski season and all.

Those of you who have been reading for a while know that my Squirrel has been known to make comments like these:

“Find a new obsession…and chuck a couple of pillows from the bed over here.”


“Get rid of the pile of donations in (my) garage or I’m going to start putting them all back.”

And, those of you who have been reading since the beginning know that my Squirrel does things like this.

Loveable behaviour only if you’re a furry little fella.

So when my Squirrel reached his negativity quota by 9am this morning, I wondered if it might be beneficial to both of us if I came up with a sign to remind him that his comments had strayed so far into the negative I feared he might never come back.

Nothing too confrontational. Something lighthearted, if not entirely subtle.

I considered raising my hand.

No, too submissive. I didn’t want to give him the wrong idea.

Maybe a word, like sunshine or walnut. That would be uplifting.

Nah. He’d acclimatize to that too quickly and repeating the word walnut would just annoy me.

Then it hit me. The sign I was looking for was hanging right there at the ends of my arms.

Jazz Hands!

Aint no rodent too negative for these dancing digits.

“Blah, blah, blah, grump, blah, blah, blah, grump.”

One, two, three! Silent with energy…Jazz Hands!

“Blah, blah, blah, grump, blah, blah, blah, grump.”

One more time. This time with pizazzz…Jazz Hands!

Silence. Sweet, cheerful, silence.

That was just too easy.

So, this is for you Squirrel and anyone else who might be finding it hard to keep their spirits in the pink this Spring.

Happy Day! From me + some random people on flickr.

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photo source: Flickr Creative Commons search: Jazz Hands

(Pictures were selected based on energy, finger extension, proximity to the face, and expression. Extra points were allotted for group effort. Have you got a better photo? E-mail me at I’m cheerfully accepting photos for my arsenal.)