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Oh goodness. There is SO MUCH going on in the world!  It’s easy to get our knickers in a knot, worry ourselves to death, and become purveyors of negativity on a daily basis. But truth be told, if you’re a history enthusiast as I am, you know there has ALWAYS been a lot of craziness and chaos going on in the world. And this means negativity and complaining have been marring otherwise good conversations for centuries.

Given this ongoing reality, allow me to offer two humble metaphors that might give you some vivid inspiration when you want to: 1) keep yourself and your interactions as positive and optimistic as possible and 2) preserve your inner peace and sanity when conversations head in a not-so-pleasant direction.

First (sorry, this might be gross), a turd. That’s right. As in, being a “turd in the punchbowl.” I promise I did not make this phrase up. But I sure enjoyed a good belly laugh when I first heard it. Being the proverbial turd in the punchbowl refers to the person who besmirches an otherwise pleasant conversation or situation by tossing in a whiny, negative, or highly opinionated / offensive comment. This act basically ruins something what was otherwise pleasant, delicious, and refreshing. Other variations of this phrase include “fly in the ointment,” and “skunk at the garden party.”  Bottom line:  Don’t be this person.

Second (less gross), a gray rock. I first heard “be a gray rock” from @peaceful_barb on Instagram. In other words, when someone in your vicinity makes a “turd in the punchbowl” or otherwise outrageous or offensive remark (possibly to get you riled up), simply become a gray rock. Stay immovable and silent. Don’t react or respond. Just be… a gray rock. Wow, the lights came on and the angels sang for me on this one. Even better, know you are free to walk away from this so-called conversation. Perhaps even re-evaluate your relationship with this person.

Try bringing these two metaphors into your day and interactions today…and on into your life.  Notice how things change and improve.  After all, we can’t change what’s going on in this world, but we can change ourselves.

Let me know how these work for you!  And if you…

Want to learn more on how to deal with the people who regularly drain your battery and bring you down: I’ve devoted the last section of my book More Than Just Talk: The Essential Guide for Anyone Who Wants to Enjoy Better Conversations to teaching you how to identify and deal with people who I call Drainers & Downers. I also reveal why it’s imperative to your health, well-being, and productivity that you do so. I absolutely loved researching and writing this section and have even developed a presentation on this topic. Books are available on Amazon and other online book retailers or at BookPeople in Austin, Texas. Send along an email or message if you’re interested in learning more about my Drainers & Downers presentation.

Until next time!