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It's National Do a Favor for a Grouch Day: Or, How to Have Compassion for Curmudgeons

My friend Susan, having just relocated from New York, joined the school dance committee in order to meet new parents at her daughter's school. Eager to help, she made a suggestion about decorations at a meeting. What she got back from the parent sitting across from her was a roll of the eyes and a surly: "Um, aren't you new here?"

"It felt like junior high all over again," Susan told me later. "I felt humiliated and angry, and yet it was over nothing. Part of me wanted to say: 'Are you kidding me?' Another part was thinking: 'Well, you've got bad hair!' "

Susan's story of the committee grouch sprang to mind when I noticed that Thursday is National Do a Grouch a Favor Day. We all encounter grouches in life; it's not our fault that they are miserable, and they may not even intend to be cruel. But the last thing we usually want to do is a favor for someone who hurts us.

It's time to upend our thinking on how to handle prickly, snarky, or even downright mean people.

Not only will keeping our cool help the culprit, but there's something in it for us too.

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